Tanya Garnish

– What to do when all events are put on hold

Before the pandemic, my work life was crazy. I am the Events & Logistics Manager/Executive Assistant to the CEO for Blue Moon Digital, Inc. I am “the behind the scenes person,” the Assistant to our effervescent CEO, Cindy Brown, the “go-to person,” the “drop everything and make it happen person.” Every day was different. It was all about events: organizing company meetings, throwing baby & wedding showers, coordinating company happy hours, planning client meetings in different cities across the country, and creating our company’s biggest event of the year, our Annual Brand Summit.

Before we go much further, let me tell you about what would have been this year’s 4th Annual Blue Moon Digital Brand Summit. The location was set to be in Beaver Creek, Colorado, nestled in the Colorado Rockies Mountains. We were going to take over the entire world-renowned Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa. We had amazing events, speakers, and a huge 20’s themed party at the top of the mountain. We were going to do goat yoga for crying out loud! Our team had poured our hearts and souls into this project with planning starting in August of last year. We were all so excited. It was going to be extraordinary!

And then in a moment, everything changed.

Of course, everyone was aware of Coronavirus, we all listened to the news. We were warned. It seemed so far away, wasn’t it just another media hype? Honestly, we didn’t think it could affect us. Not like this.

Well, it did.

It was Thursday, March 11th. Our company decided everyone needed to work from home, MANDATORY until April 1st. Shock took over the room. Everyone packed up their stuff and said their goodbyes. It was surreal.

Here’s some quick background, I have been with Blue Moon Digital for nearly eight years. We have grown quickly. I was lucky number 13, and we are now at about 100 employees. I have seen a lot of changes, great changes, and I am very proud of this company.

Along with all the daily things happening in my work world, we were planning a local “Women in Digital” event, as well as a Cannabis Marketing event. All very compelling. Now, much like the rest of the world, everything is postponed until further notice.

Literally, everything came to a screeching halt. At least it did for me.

For the first time in a very long time, my world was silent. No one asking for anything, no fires to put out, no last-minute meetings or flights that needed my attention.

My action-packed office life has now come down to me looking out my window from my “dining room table desk” hoping to see any sort of movement. A dog walking by, a kid on a skateboard, a mom talking on her phone. By the way, our mail is delivered every day at 3pm and this has become my daily excitement.

Image credit: imgflip.com

Reality has set in. This is it. This is the new normal. And guess what folks, we all need to embrace it, especially me.

Working from home requires more than people think. It’s a job in and of itself. And I am not a person that enjoys it.

It’s easier for some. Me, I need people. I need the social interaction. We are on Day 10 and it’s been a learning curve for me.

In the article “The Personality it takes to Work from home

They give 3 big tips:

1. You must be a self-starter

2. You must embrace technology

3. You must learn how to Virtually Over-communicate

These three things I have taken to heart. I have set a schedule for myself. I get up at my usual time, do my morning routine, and get dressed. Well, let’s be honest, I have been living in sweats for the past week. (I may change that up.)

We have a company “Stand-Up” every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on Zoom at 8:45 am followed by our team’s daily morning check-ins on “Teams.” So that technology piece is coming along. It does help to see peoples’ faces and talk to them. To see what other peoples’ desks and homes look like is also a plus.

By the way, everyone should be using this amazing video technology from this point on. Especially talking to friends and family outside of work. I don’t know how many times I have said this past week, why did it take us so long to do this? What a difference, I feel so much more connected to people I haven’t seen in a long time. I had a Zoom call with friends from California, Las Vegas, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Norway all while sipping wine. It was a blast. You can sign up for a free Zoom account. Do it, you won’t regret it.

I also feel very lucky that our company is in one of the few industries that can keep operating, for the most part, as business as usual. Now the biggest challenge I face is how to keep the staff VIRTUALLY motivated?

Our company is fun, and we celebrate often. We celebrate triumphs and milestones using any opportunity to make someone else feel special. Now, we are doing Virtual Happy Hours internally and externally with clients and prospective clients to bring some normalcy back into everyone’s lives.

Each year, for the holiday season, I create a “Holiday Calendar” with my Holiday committee. The month of December is a crazy time at Blue Moon Digital. It is the most demanding time of the year for us and our clients. So, we try to do fun activities to offset the madness. We do bake-offs, make ornaments, have coffee Mondays, chair massages, and have breakfast burritos delivered…just to name a few activities. While contemplating ways to keep employees happy in our “new normal” I decided we need that holiday calendar now! Why not, right? Anything is possible. We need to add that little piece of bliss back in our lives.

So, for the month of April, I created a “Work from Home” calendar. It has virtual fitness challenges & happy hours, remote tarot readings, life hacks for your health & sanity, and people teaching Arts & Crafts on Zoom. Our first class is needle pointing “Wash your Hands,” a very important message these days. Although, I am not sure why it takes a pandemic to remind people of this very important daily routine.

It seems every day, something new happens. Last week. Denver issued a shelter in place order and the state Governor followed suit and put the state of Colorado under the same mandate. I haven’t left the house in 10 days…but we have each other on Zoom and social platforms. And we really do have so much to be thankful for!

Some positive highlights are all the amazing Instagram videos, new ways to keep people motivated. Plus, I have been laughing non-stop at TikTok. People are innovative and are out there finding new ways to make others and themselves happy, leaving a positive impact in an often-grim reality. And can we talk about all the animal content!?

Plus, pet adoptions and fostering that has spiked as a result of this pandemic as people are forced to spend nearly all of their time at home. You know, it may be time to convince my husband to get me that puppy I have been begging for. Come on, Mike. Please?

In these times, these crazy, unforeseen and yes, very scary times, remaining positive seems to be the only thing we are completely sure of. We will get through it. But we need to stick together. Stick together by remaining apart. Meaning everyone staying home.

I believe we are all going to come out of this with a little more compassion, live a little greener, and not take simple things for granted. But for now, I am going to do my part, stay inside, stay positive, keep thinking outside the box, and keep motivating our staff. I am going to do everything in my power to make this new normal, our new work life, a reality that we can all enjoy. Because, guess what, that’s my job.