Albuquerque Plumbing Heating & Cooling shares how they are managing during the pandemic
Our entire world was thrown into a tailspin this year with the COVID-19 pandemic, and even to this day, we’re still trying to navigate this new terrain that we find ourselves in. Not just from how often and how well we wash our hands and our surroundings, but to how to work from home with the many distractions that we face, such as a dirty house, kids and other tasks.
Families have been impacted by this illness in ways we’ve never been able to anticipate. Until earlier this year, we’d never been forced to consider working from home full-time, plus caring for our children and aiding in their education at the same time. The virus didn’t just affect families, but it also affected business owners too.
No business was able to avoid the impact of this new illness, and Albuquerque Plumbing Heating & Cooling was no different. They were able to come up with ways to keep their team members and customers safe – and quickly! Co-owner and chief administrative officer, Vanessa Gonzales knew early on that the virus was serious. She and fellow co-owners Matthew Gonzales and Anthony Giannini went into action and implemented ways to promote health and safety across the board.
It started with allowing team members in the office to telecommute to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This allowed them to not only work from home and stay healthy, but they could also keep their jobs. The customer service representatives have been fortunate to have flexible schedules as well, where they can still work 40 hours but not be in the office every day of the week. The dispatchers are also able to split their time between the office and home.
Some team members with Albuquerque Plumbing Heating & Cooling are especially high risk, and those team members can solely work from home, while staying safe for themselves and their family members. The technicians were asked to only come to the office if necessary, and they can go directly to their first job of the day. It became mandatory for them to wear gloves, masks and booties into the homes of all customers to keep everyone healthy, safe and in CDC compliance. When masks became a scarcity, one technician’s wife stepped up and made over 200 masks for the team members and their family members, including children’s sizes.
It quickly progressed to donating labor hours for projects to ensure hours for their team members during quarantine and donating masks to local businesses when those became necessary for every New Mexican.
When asked what it was like at the height of the pandemic and running a business, Vanessa says, “It was hard to find our rhythm. We felt like we kept tripping over our shoelaces. Or that once we had our footing we were still tripping over our feet.”
However, Vanessa notes that working from home has benefited the school performance of her children, and that they’ve prospered. She credits that with being able to spend quality time with her children while they tend to their schoolwork.
For this blogger, the pandemic caused me to find a new direction in my life. As a single parent, I suddenly had to figure out not only working from home, but I also had to learn how to do it with a toddler under foot, and how to try and limit distractions as much as possible.
One of the challenges in my home with the toddler was keeping him entertained during the day so I could accomplish getting work done. Am I guilty of putting on YouTube and letting him spend too much time with it? Absolutely. However, at one point during the early days of the pandemic, I realized that my son’s speech wasn’t developing as it should’ve. The solution I came up with was to eliminate YouTube completely from my home. I decided that if he was going to be in front of a screen at the same time I was, then he was going to either watch PBSKids or a movie. Within a few weeks, I noticed a dramatic improvement in my son’s speech development. Am I saying that this approach is for everyone? No way. But it worked for my home.
Many families saw not only the stress of being with each other all day every day, but they also saw the enormous perks of being together all the time. Parents were able to slow down, spend more time with their children and not miss out on as many milestones as they might have if they’d been hurrying to and from the office.
It probably sounds strange to be thankful for the pandemic, but we’re fortunate to have more personal connections with our children, spouses and family members. We’re able to remember what truly matters, which is family.
Vanessa shared some tips on how she was able to manage her stress during the pandemic and 2020. A large part of that can be credited to self-care and the adage of, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” She was able to remember that she needed to pour into herself in order to take care of not only her family at home, but her work family with Albuquerque Plumbing Heating & Cooling.
We all know the saying, “Kids crave structure.” While kids may not “crave” structure, they definitely need it. Vanessa offered tips on what you can do to help yourself and your family during this tough time in our country. She suggests setting a schedule for your kids and your family. This includes the kids getting up at a certain time every day, getting dressed and ready for the day, eating their meals at the same time, etc. This will not only help to get the family on a set schedule every day, but it will also provide some sense of control and stability.
How could this structure also help your kids? They will learn and have a better understanding of time management. They’ll be able to see how much time they spend doing schoolwork, and they will understand about taking responsibility for their own schoolwork. Parents may not realize it, but today’s children are being compared to college freshmen. When you think about it, the pandemic has forced our children to grow up faster and learn how to take accountability for themselves, like young adults. They’re having to do their homework and stay on top of their other responsibilities while their parents work from home and continue to bring home the bacon.
One final bit of advice that Vanessa wants to share with the Albuquerque community is simply, “Think positive. We can do this.” And she’s absolutely right! After the year we’ve had with 2020, if we can make it through this year, we can make it through anything.