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Adapting to a New Normal; Starting a New Career during a Global Pandemic

Like many companies, Gemstone Logistics is currently focused on adapting operations during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. As soon as the World Health Organization upgraded the status of COVID-19 Gemstone was ready to help our most important assets, our Gems.

Gemstone is no stranger to having employees spread across multiple offices and locations and have used tools like Glip, FreshService and Ring Central to allow our teams to communicate, share screens, and host web conferences for quite some time. The biggest difference now, is every employee is working from their own home.

For our VP of Corporate Development & Finance, Ross, and Air Transportation Manager, Jillian, this was a normal work day as they are based outside of our corporate offices in Sherwood Park Alberta. For some, like Travel Manager, Michael, or Product Director, Jerry, this meant setting up shop in their home office – already equipped for them to work away.

For others, like myself and Support Desk Analyst, Rachelle, that meant setting up at the kitchen table. No matter what the setup, Gemstone set to work to ensure everyone had the tools required to get the job done. Whether this meant reimbursing staff for headset purchases, sending monitors, chairs and keyboards home, or supplementing our Gems' coffee supply, we were ready to do what it took to keep our staff comfortable in their new work environment.

While a transition like this is never easy, one thing that can help everyone is an increased level of communication. Our Leadership continues to maintain open communication with all levels of employees and have made a concerted effort to share more than usual - anything from business updates to the latest viral video or meme. Many of our team have young children that are now out of school and are facing the double challenge of working from home and taking care of their little ones. Our cohesive team has brainstormed, collaborated and come together to allow flexibility within the workloads required while continuing to sustain exceptional representation to our clients. We have found sharing articles, jokes, and pictures has helped keep our spirits up as well as we navigate this dynamic situation.

Our newest Gem, Woren, joined the organization after most staff began working remotely and more extreme social distancing measuring were in place. Read about her first week below!

Starting a new job during COVID-19…

The impact social distancing has had on every aspect of life is almost surreal. How apocalyptically prepared you are probably runs regularly through your thoughts. However, it didn’t quite hit me until I started at Gemstone Logistics Inc. on March 18th, 2020, right at the beginning of a global pandemic!

I was working for WestJet, loved my job, but craved less time away from home and more diverse work. After years and years of “Pretzels or cookies?”, problem solving and using that muscle between my ears sounded really good. I was fortunate enough to listen to my cravings with work before any COVID-19 news really hit. I was even more fortunate that I was able to be selective in avenues I wanted to pursue. And I was the most fortunate when I landed a job with Gemstone Logistics Inc.

In the time it took to give proper notice to WestJet, and then finally get into the Gemstone office for my first day……everyone was gone!

Well sort of. The Senior Director, Software, was there to greet me on my first day. I was shown around, while remaining socially distanced from Stephen, I learned as much as I could, and off I went with my new laptop to home. Remember how I started: “craved less time away from home”?!

It’s been a whirlwind! From learning about the compelling history of the company and all of its branches, to getting acquainted with multiple new programs and software, and learning all of it remotely via video chat, to trying to understand the dynamic of my new office and get acquainted with everyone that works there without ever shaking their hand  - IT’S MY NEW “NEW”. I just thank everyone at Gemstone who has taken the time to show me my new position.

But isn’t everyone experiencing their new “new”? How lucky and grateful I feel to have joined the Gemstone family before COVID was a problem! That’s a whole different avenue of “new” I don’t even want to entertain. I just hope everyone is adjusting to their new “new”, enjoying spending more time with loved ones and grateful they can reminisce about those glorious handshakes they once exchanged in the office. I’ll get there soon enough, and there will be high fives for everyone!

Kaitlin is the Manager of Software & HR, and prides herself on her keen problem solving abilities. She is dedicated to finding the most efficient and streamlined solution in all aspects of her life whether it’s finding the best way to see the most in Europe, or working through a complex implementation strategy – she is up to whatever challenge comes her way!