The Sunstone office is quiet. Nearly everyone has been sent home to work until the pandemic passes. A skeleton crew is all that remains to maintain our ability to ship and service our world-class micro welders.
My first week away from the office was a bit of an adventure. I assumed it would be simple to connect my work laptop to my personal hardware and I’d be productive from the very first day.
But that’s not what happened.
Instead, I quickly discovered that my personal keyboard, mouse, and dual screens were old and incompatible with my work laptop. You would think a wireless keyboard and monitors would work forever, even after 10 years. The incompatibility forced a return trip to the office to retrieve my work monitors, keyboard, and mouse. By late afternoon, I was back in business.
I’m an empty nester, and with no kids in the house, the work environment was close to ideal. No noise. No disruptions. Productivity levels were optimum. In fact, during that first week, I would be so immersed in a project that my wife would send me a text: “Are we going to eat dinner??”
Week two wasn’t that much different than week one. Productivity levels remained high and morale was excellent. I had to make a trip to the office to retrieve a package shipped to the office. When I entered the office, there was a definite stillness, which saddened me. In normal days, the Sunstone office echoes with light banter, barbeque tips intermingled with energy waveform specifications best for a titanium wire mesh weld, and weekend adventure stories. Hopefully, all of us will get back to those days soon.
Week three surprised me.
Perhaps I’m beginning to feel the long fingers of isolation begin to touch the back of my head. The sensation is ever so slight, barely there, in fact. I’ve read stories of prisoners who speak of the loneliness of isolation, about going stir crazy. I am far from that point, of course, and unless I’m thrown in the locker myself, I will never totally understand that feeling.
Nonetheless, on occasion, I am able to catch the faint, musty scent of pandemic isolation.
I have suspicions the two clocks in my home office—and the clock on my computer screen and phone—are not functioning correctly. The seconds, minutes, and hours are approximately 8% longer than last week. I caught myself navigating to a website that displays the correct time using atomic particle decay calculations. The results are inconclusive, in my opinion.
Something is amiss and here are the symptoms: 1)After watching a movie last night, I suddenly had to stand up, walk outside to the porch and breath fresh air; 2)I can’t wait for a meeting to start and I’m the first to turn on my webcam; 3)I answer every phone call even though I’m ninety-nine percent sure it’s spam; 4)I’m adding comments on YouTube for crazy airplane landings at obscure UK airports.
The Sunstone team is staying connected with technology. We’re able to chat in groups, have access to a vast library of gifs to share, and visit remotely with webcams. Our phone system was also upgraded, allowing us to use our personal phones to handle inbound and outbound calls as if we were still at the office.
Sunstone is open for business. And that’s good not just for Sunstone, but for every business that is working amid a world crisis and needs a micro welder to preserve or grow their enterprise.
We all wish for a speedy recovery, for the sake of our family, friends, and neighbors—for their very lives and their livelihoods. I am hopeful that we’ll soon be able to look back at the great isolation of 2020 as a distant and somewhat sad tale. Until then, stay safe and stay home!