While Writers Theatre’s Theatre Center and Administrative Offices may be closed, WT staff is still working from home! Employees have adjusted to their new work spaces, which range from offices to kitchen tables (and sometimes living room couches). In mid-March 2020, Writers Theatre was able to transition from office to home in one weekend due to the tireless efforts of multiple departments, with Database Administrator and Technology Manager Arik Beatty leading the team. In one weekend, the team was able to:
- Make sure all members of staff had functioning technology and program licensing to complete their regular tasks.
- Deliver and set up phones for each Box Office Associate to continue running the Writers Theatre Box Office remotely.
- Set up and teach staff how to access office phone lines and voicemail using the ReachUC app.
- Equip staff with access to WT’s Tessitura database of ticket buyers and donors with a download to a server host and single use tokens that could be accessed via a smart phone app.
- Set up a schedule for those looking to visit the office to avoid contact between employees.
- Transition everyone to using Microsoft Teams.
We asked staff how they were working from home and here’s what they said:
Michelle Jacobson —Box Office Manager
I was living in LA until the middle of March, so my interview process was conducted virtually. Illinois started the lockdown the day after I moved. I have been working at Writers Theatre for three months, but I have never worked AT Writers Theatre! It’s very strange to be working with colleagues I’ve never met and running a Box Office I’ve never seen.
Stanton Long—Design & Communications Manager
Before, I would listen to podcasts on the way to work, but now I watch old reruns of Rugrats and That’s So Raven to get my mind right.
Arik Beatty—Database Administrator & Technology Manager
The room was full of boxes at the start of pandemic (from us moving in in December) and now is down to three boxes!
Hayley Barron—Marketing & Social Media Manager
I live in a four-bedroom home in Chicago with all of my friends. When we started working remotely, it was like I never left my office. Between the four of us, the four significant others who sometimes work from our home, and the two dogs, it’s a house full of energy and productivity!
Hannah Stibbe—Box Office Associate
I started out by using my dining room table as an office but quickly realized that my new coworker wanted me to be in a place she could comfortably be next to me the whole time. That coworker is our rescue two-year-old mini golden doodle, Belle. Before quarantine she would be home alone for about six hours a day, but she loves her hoomans, so having one of them work from home is a dream come true for her. While I miss human interaction and the thrill of live theatre, I am happy we are all staying safe!
Sam Aguilar—Audience Services Manager
Here’s a photo of my office [top left]—note the 16-year-old Dinah in her usual spot on my grandpa’s old recliner (and the massive collateral damage she’s caused on its arm). She’s been my officemate every day, without fail, since we started working from home!