Working from Home: Week 4

Working from Home Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Team Spotlight: Kyle Kinyon, Sales Manager

“I pretty much keep to the same routines I had before the pandemic,” says Kyle Kinyon, sales manager at Sunstone Engineering, a manufacturer of micro welders. “I’m up at 5:30 am. I work out. I eat breakfast. I’m ready to go to work by 8:00 am but I’m taking the stairs to the basement rather than the car to the office.”

Kyle, like most of the Sunstone team, is working from home after the company quickly followed the directive of the state’s governor, to “Stay safe. Stay home.” Only a handful of team members remain at the office to maintain production, shipping, and customer service, activities that can’t be accomplished at home.

Kyle, who’s experiences as a volunteer fireman provides him with a perspective that is unique to most, expresses gratitude during isolation. “I’m grateful that my team and I are able to work—that’s a blessing. In the last year Sunstone has invested significantly in technology with the intent to improve efficiencies within the company,” he says. ” Then along came the pandemic, the need to isolate, and all of that technology made it very easy for the company to work remotely. Sunstone didn’t necessarily see a pandemic on the horizon, but the choices the company made in the last twelve months have been remarkably helpful. We’re selling, shipping, and servicing now just as well as we did five weeks ago. There are members of my small community who can’t work right now, which is scary. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to work.”

With schools closed and young children confined to the home, Kyle and his wife had to put their heads together to figure out how to minimize disruptions to work. “My wife put together a wonderful plan that would keep the kids’ attention on school work and other activities,” he says. “That’s been helpful, but honestly the interruptions at home have been far less than what I expected. In fact, I would have to say I’m more productive at home. At the office, it’s too easy to stop by someone’s desk and ask about their weekend or family and that discussion will eat up ten to fifteen minutes.”

Working from home has provided Kyle with the flexibility he didn’t have at the office. “There are times when the kids have lost it,” he says with a laugh. “They’re young and really don’t understand the circumstances and what’s at stake. I can take a break and run around the yard with them, or play a game, or whatever is needed to burn some pent-up energy. Later, when they’re down for the night, I can put in some additional time to catch up on messages, correspond with customers, or whatever. You can’t intermingle that time if you’re at the office.”

But it’s not all roses at the Kinyon home. “It’s a real challenge,” Kyle says with introspection. “Having kids in the home keeps things interesting at times, but at times I feel a bit stir crazy. Fortunately, we’re able to help our customers find and purchase the capital equipment they need to stay productive. But the sooner we can beat this pandemic and save lives and livelihoods—that’s the real goal.”