How have you stayed strong while working from home?

I've stayed strong by having a sense of gratitude: Even though the intensity of work can sometimes be overwhelming, I remain grateful that I STILL HAVE work. Even though I, as well as many others have suffered loss during this pandemic, I remain grateful that I STILL HAVE life.
I've also stayed strong by having a sense of perspective: At this time when many are under so much stress, my daily mantra now is satisfice not optimize.. there is a human cost of going for 100%. I have learnt to live with having many unread emails in my inbox at the end of the day
Most importantly, I've stayed strong by having a sense of humour. I remind myself that we're not cracking the atom here so don't take your self to seriously. Often at the end of the day, I sit back , kick my feet up and have a good ole laugh at myself.

2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. Due to the COVID-19, we had to move everything online in March (about four weeks before the academic term ended). It was quite difficult for us (both faculty and students). Fortunately, Schulich has offered strong support and guidance to all students and instructors and we were able to successfully complete the term with smooth transition from in-person to online teaching. I am grateful for Schulich leadership in leading and guiding us through the changes and challenges. I am also thankful to my students for quickly adapting to the online teaching format and cooperating with me to complete the course successfully. I am so proud to be a member of Schulich. It has been a pleasure working at Schulich.

We are once again training a Schulich team for the MBA Games this year. This always includes academics, athletics and spirit challenges. Since no team sports can be played this year, the host school developed a "movement challenge". The winning team is determined by the highest average kilometres per person either in daily running or walking. It ended December 4, and Schulich finished in first place for that event. Although as a coach, my kilometres didn't count, I did my best to keep up the daily running/walking. I found the regular exercise changed everything - I felt better physically, mentally and emotionally, and much stronger to keep going in spite of the challenges of the day.

It was after a long day of back to back Zoom calls in summer. Chris Carder had invited me to start up night. I needed a break so went on my front porch and Zommed in from my Phone. It was my first time Zooming on my iPhone. I assumed , it would have the same settings as my laptop, i.e automatic Video Camera off. As there were the usual hundreds of participants and I did not know better, I only saw the speaker. It was an engaging though long event. As the night wore on, I left the porch, went into my bedroom, had a shower and did the usual prepare for bed stuff, all the time having the phone with me. As the event ended on line, I remember being in bed, Night clothes on with the phone at my side. Scrolling though my emails later that night was an email from Chris "It was nice to see you last night".....I said to myself "SEE?". So I did a zoom call to myslef from my phone...and there I was seeing my self sitting on my bed... My video settign on the phone were Camera On. I did not eat for 3 days

Working from home has not been without benefit, take the health of our family pet for instance. Our little dog is in peak physical shape due to the many walks she receives from family members taking breaks in between Zoom meetings. The dog walk for us has become the new coffee break or talk around the office water cooler!

I've been learning many new things. For example, being in lockdown -- ie., 24/7 and no escape route -- with a teenage daughter who believes that breaking out into song at any time, anywhere in the house and at maximum volume is the definition of a good time has taught me the importance of the mute button. A very pleasant surprise was how the world of zoom made it in fact easier to see friends and family from all over the world, which definitley made things much more bearable. Finally, I learned about the power of the sweatpants. As a German, wearing sweatpants represents a bit of a leap of faith. I now own several pairs and I feel fine about it.

I want to put a different spin on the COVID pandemic. As a child, having lived through WWII in Europe, including the siege of Budapest, the contrast in human suffering is really quite striking. We should be grateful for all the support – both medical and economic - we are getting to make life tolerable. The pandemic also brings into focus the importance of leadership. And, most important, COVID is not a man-made disaster. During this Festive Season we should feel positive about all we have.

I stayed strong through contact with family, friends and neighbors, often via zoom as well as long walks and sessions with my trainer.  I also very much enjoyed participating in the undergraduate Certificate in International Management (CIM) capstone course.  It was gratifying to hear from one of the students, “I have thoroughly enjoyed the required courses, mostly because I find the content to be very applicable in the real world.  Overall, I believe this Certificate has allowed me to obtain a more global perspective on issues, whilst also teaching me methods of addressing the issues.

My first instinct was to follow authority and try an injection of disinfectant to kill the virus. Then I tried to substitute long meetings on Zoom for travel, wearing a shirt, jacket and shorts. You know how that turned out. Having finished watching everything on Netflix, I am now on my third time through every episode of Friends. Nine months in and the dog glares at me. “See, this is why I chew shoes.” I tell my wife how nice it is to have someone around that I loved being quarantined with. She replies, “Must be nice.” So I stress eat, but the good part is I have a nice tan from the light in the refrigerator. At least I don’t have to dress up. Every few days I try on my jeans to see if they fit. They don’t, so back to pajamas and Fritos. At least I don’t have to agonize about giving Christmas presents for another few weeks, given that Santa must quarantine for 14 days after entering the country.

Over the past nine months I have learned to say, "We cannot hear you" / "Your microphone is not working" in four different languages.

Typically and traditionally Minerva organizes for Bill Graham and me a first meeting session with all of the freshman IMBA students entering school in September each year. This year – year one of classroom attendance by way of Zoom, Minerva invited the first of our freshman groups into the Zoom meeting room and introduced them to Bill and me. The first session proceeded quite well I thought untll the group had departed the meeting room and we awaited group two. Bill said to me – well that went quite well – but no one saw you! You more than likely left your video conferencing in the off” mode. I had of course quite unintentionally – simply replied to Bill and Minerva – “ Oh well – must have been having a ‘senior moment ‘😊” We carried on! Warmest regards

In May 2020, I was teaching a business law course from my home office to MAcc students located around the world. Suddenly, I lost internet connectivity and my heart skipped a few beats as I scrambled to reconnect with my class. Luckily, I had the cell-phone number of a student located in Toronto. I called her to let her know what had happened and she immediately conveyed my message to the other students. Within minutes, my internet connectivity was restored and, much to my surprise and relief, all of my students were still logged-in to our Zoom class! My students understood the situation completely and we continued our discussions, as if the interruption had never occurred.

I had the great pleasure of teaching two BBA courses online this Fall and we had a few more internet interruptions along the way; but things were far less stressful, as I knew that my students would understand the situation and that I could reconnect with them within minutes.

It is always a little sad when an enjoyable course comes to an end, but I am so thankful to be teaching in this pandemic as it has reminded me how resilient, thoughtful and engaging our students really are, and that we can still connect with them remotely in meaningful and authentic ways. I look forward to more of that, as our journey continues in the New Year!

I never thought I'd say that I enjoy attending meetings, but our weekly team meetings have helped bring a sense of normalcy during these times.

Everyone tells me how though their semester has been, working flat out on days, nights and weekends. Through all of this, I have gained a new appreciation for how important the support is that others provide in such times. During this time, my family made sure to take me out for walks to keep me healthy, or made some tea and fed me black chocolate to keep me going. I also experienced very strong support from my colleagues at work - the OMIS area and, particularly, my area coordinator - being patient with me and filling in the gaps I left behind. Through all of this, my appreciation of and thankfulness for my family and friends both at home and at work has deepened once more.

When you check your email while on break except you forgot you were screensharing your browser.......

"Um, excuse me, we can see that...."

Please also take a look at this link to a 35 second video made by some 4th year students It is very cute, it shows the other side of the coin and would set a lighthearted tone, if you want I can email you the movie file. I also am being sent a video from a different student tomorrow that apparently is rather touching. Please email me if you would like to see it.

I did not shut the door tightly to the room where I teach and the dog, Scooch, wandered in one day put his paws up on the desk and looked into the camera. The students thought it was great and demanded a "Scooch" break in the next class. I obliged and Scooch repaid me by licking himself while on full display to the class. Scooch gets an "F"

When taping some lectures at the beginning of the online era, I involved my family, with my wife behind the camera and my older son doing the video editing, for which I "paid" him in extra video game time. Naturally, my younger son also wanted to help, so I asked him to scroll down the text of the lecture on the iPad for me to read (in the absence of a teleprompter). He always forgot to move it along so I needed to make gestures or stop the recording and start again. In the end, I had to give him him extra video game to stop doing his work. Not sure that was a good life lesson...

I started noticing that “Harry” was indeed a very good student at the very beginning of the session. Asking the right questions connecting the dots and reflecting on ideas. I was so proud of him and a bit worried that nobody else is commenting on his ideas.
I decided to give him extra contribution points at the end of the session.

Only to realize that “Harry” was not even my student and the other students had a feeling he wasn’t either. 😤
It was the right time to add “authentic” registration feature to my classes!

I have kept myself busy by learning a new skill - painting. It's a great way to spend some spare time to paint a art piece, and use it to decorate your home. I often share my paintings with our team members via Zoom. I look forward to bring my paintings to them and show them in person. I hope everyone could find something to keep them entertained during this difficult time. Have a great holiday reason, everyone!

I do not have much to report, except that I very much miss wearing my heels and fancy outfits. 😊 And I have been buying (safely online) even more footwear since it has become my only entertainment… I will not say how many pairs because it is embarrassing. ☹

There is one instance that stands out to me during this pandemic, although there have been even more instances I have left my mic on mute while talking in a meeting. Luckily for me this story is not a zoom call, and not suffering the same fate. When the world turned upside down, I was one day away from taking a vacation to California. It was tough to realize I would not get to visit the warm beaches soak in the sun and instead go on a grocery store tour across the GTA just to get package of toilet paper. Not the kind of travel I had anticipated. Knowing the trip was cancelled and the likelihood of travelling there anytime soon was out of the question, I tried to make the most of it and bring California to me by cranking the heat in my house, changing my outfit so that of vacation mode and adjusting my zoom background to one of the many spots I was set to visit. It certainly made my last class of the semester more tropical. Unfortunately I could not keep that festive approach to all future zoom meetings, not because I didn’t like my new work attire, but I could not afford to keep heating the house to those temperatures.

I was in the midst of a meeting and the chair of the meeting, only a few sentences earlier, had indicated that this was an important and serious conversation. Having unintentionally left my mute button on, everyone could hear the toilet flush, as my 1 year old, who was in the predictable phase of finding a flushing toilet particularly fascinating, came out of the bathroom. Looking up at the screen with a look of pride, having successfully flushed the toilet, there she was in plain view dressed only in her diaper holding some toilet paper. It was hard to take anything serious from that point on. Should any of us?

I was in the midst of a meeting and the chair of the meeting, only a few sentences earlier, had indicated that this was an important and serious conversation. Having unintentionally left my mute button on, everyone could hear the toilet flush, as my 1 year old, who was in the predictable phase of finding a flushing toilet particularly fascinating, came out of the bathroom. Looking up at the screen with a look of pride, having successfully flushed the toilet, there she was in plain view dressed only in her diaper holding some toilet paper. It was hard to take anything serious from that point on. Should any of us?

My wife and I have been diligently abiding by advice to avoid socializing, running only essential errands, etc. To keep busy (really, for my wife to keep busy and sane), I have been "teaching" my wife inventory management, applying best practices to stockpiling produce and dry goods. We now efficiently go grocery shopping, once a week, doing a "milk run" to four different stores (basically, T&T, Sobeys, and No Frills) to stock up on goodies. 🙂

It was Saturday, May 2, 2020 and we had two Zoom classes scheduled. The first class was scheduled to start at 8:30 am and the students were from our partner networks around the world (China, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel & USA). I accessed my email via my mobile account around 7 am and found multiple messages from students indicating they couldn't access Canvas which had the Zoom meeting links. I received an urgent email from the Professor indicating that he couldn't access Canvas or Zoom to start his class. I immediately contacted UIT but did not receive a response. The professor did the same with no response. We started troubleshooting and I tried to access Zoom from my phone and it worked. The professor accessed Zoom through his personal account and was able to conduct the class successfully. I was hoping and praying that the system would be resolved for the start of the afternoon class. Unfortunately, no luck there as the system was still down. We managed to make it through the afternoon class using an external Zoom account as the Professor was connecting from Chicago - luckily this class was also completed successfully. We finally found out late that afternoon that York encountered a Cyberattack the evening of Friday, May 1st which resulted in all systems being down. From that day on, I decided if I can get through May 2nd on Zoom, I can get through all other Zoom sessions. Zoom classes have been smooth sailing since then :)!