100 Years and Growing: 100 Years and Innovating | 100 Years and Giving | 100 Years and Evolving

October Submissions

One of the themes of the company’s 100th anniversary Giving Program is “100 years and innovating.”

Over the past several months, the pandemic has caused us to become more innovative in how we work and play. With that in mind we’d love to hear how you’ve adapted and your thoughts on the following questions:

When it comes to work, how are you working differently than you did before? What do you like about the new way of working —  and what do you miss about the way your work environment used to be?

When it comes to how we play, how are you staying fit and having fun — while protecting your health and the health of others?

Jeanne Forbis

Jeanne Forbis, United States (Corporate)

For me, working from home has been the biggest adjustment in my work life. At first it seemed strange not to go into an office every day. But as the months passed, working from home feels “normal.” I still have meetings, talk (on Teams) with colleagues, work on projects, and do everything I would have done in the office. The difference is not having the informal interaction – the impromptu chats in the hallway – that often are very productive to the work we do. I can’t say I miss the daily commute, but I do miss the daily interaction. As for play, I try to walk outside most days to get some fresh air and sunshine. Like many others, I'm cooking at home more than ever, and I’ve been trying to get more creative with meals.

Gina Colfer

Gina Colfer, United States (Agribusiness)

My work routine has changed from traveling to various branches and meeting with salespeople to phone and online meetings. I no longer travel to meetings, but attend meetings via Zoom, Teams and GoToMeeting. This has made my work more efficient where sometimes I can attend meetings while out in the field completing new tasks that I may not have had time for if I was traveling. I also am spending more time at home working from my home office instead of at the Branch office. I miss the people at the office, but make it a point to say hello, properly socially distanced and masked up, when I have a reason to go by the office. We can still conduct our business, we just need to use common sense everyday, mask up and give people their space when meeting with them. When it comes to staying in shape, my husband and I spend our free time running on the beach, surfing, yoga at home and hiking in the mountains. We make it a point to have fun with everything we do and keep smiling.

Fayley Meade

Fayley Meade, United States (Nutrition)

When it comes to play I am staying active by heading outdoors instead of taking an indoor exercise class. I am exploring new hikes in the PNW and revisiting some old favorites. This photo was taken last weekend at Falls Creek Falls in WA. I am helping to keep myself and others safe by wearing my mask when crossing peoples paths on the trails. With the seasons changing it is usually dark when I finish my work day so exploring on the weekend and making a day of it helps give me a mental break to re-center.

Adrielle Yeow

Adrielle Yeow, Malaysia (Connell)

The photo speaks the loudest. The biggest difference is physical communication and interaction. Who in the world has ever thought that we will be working the way we are now? During the first lockdown and now Conditional Movement Control Order in Malaysia, Connell MY has been abiding with government's order to WFH. Connell MY has equipped everyone (except warehouse staff who must be present physically for work) with laptops to be able to WFH. Thank you, Connell! During the relatively brief Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), we do get to work alternate week at office. Still, we have been sitting distantly. The blessings in disguise is that this pandemic has pushed us to learn and utilize Microsoft Teams the way it should be. I do like meeting in Microsoft Teams because we don't need to be away from our workstation. Nevertheless, I miss meeting colleagues, having lunch in big groups and going for team building events. I try to stay fit by following dance exercises on Youtube and skipping rope at home. As for having fun, haha truly it is very hard to have fun just being at home. Probably trying out a new recipe and clearing some kept away.

Mallory Lucas

Mallory Lucas, United States (Agribusiness)

Like many others in the company, the biggest change in how I work is that I now office from home. I’m fortunate enough to have a customer-facing role that requires me to be out at the farms for audit season, so I haven’t been going stir-crazy. The nice thing about officing from home is having control over the environment; if I need to hop on a conference call, I don’t have to worry about colleagues coming in on their own phone call - my dogs almost never take calls! What’s lacking is the interaction with my team members. My officemates are brilliant for brainstorming upcoming events, identifying potential clients, and working through any difficulties posed at a farm. My play looks the same as it always has – it has 4 hooves and efficiently processes cash into nutrient-rich manure. I purchased my own horse this spring to pursue my hunter derby dreams, and now my dreams also include wishing I spent less on feed and supplements. Since horseback riding is done outdoors and always 6 feet apart from others (if you’re that close to another horse, you likely have more immediate concerns than the risk of contracting COVID-19), we’ve been able to keep riding through the pandemic. It has truly been a blessing to have such a big part of my life remain relatively untouched by this crisis.

Lori Long, United States (Nutrition)

Teams has become an important tool for communicating and staying in touch with co-workers. I would have to say that's the biggest change in the way I work. Transitioning to working from home was seamless and easier than I expected it to be. I miss the social interaction of working in the office, but at the same time, have less interruptions so I'm working more efficiently. Outside of work, I'm doing more hiking and I get together with a core group of friends for Game Nights and to watch football. GO SEAHAWKS!!!

Joshua Hansen

Joshua Hansen, United States (Agribusiness)

The biggest change I've seen in my work is less travel and in-person meetings and a large increase in video-conferencing. I appreciate the opportunity to remove a daily commute from how I spend my time, though in-person collaboration on projects in the office is something I miss. For recreation, my family has been spending more time going for walks and visiting local parks where we can be socially-distant from others while still enjoy time outside. Going camping has also been fun, while still allowing us to stay safe. It was particularly rough when wildfire smoke kept everyone confined indoors for a time during the fall.

Gavin Giere

Gavin Giere, United States (Corporate)

The biggest change for me regarding work has been the lack of travel to the locations I partner with & serve. I definitely miss the in-person interaction with all the great employees; however, thankfully, the use of Teams video calls, e-mails, texts, & phone calls. Not completely the same; but does help to keep us connected. As for staying fit; while also having some fun, I recently completed a virtual Spartan Beast (30 exercise/obstacles & 1/2 marathon run) on October 10th. The best part was having my wife help our two sons put up an impromptu finish line for me to cross!

Joshua Grime, United States (Agribusiness)

My work has changed because of technology. Everything comes at you so fast these days and if you're not careful, work can consume you. I miss when things were slower paced. The good thing about technology is that information and learning is always at your fingertips. From this view I'm always learning and believe that I'm more intelligent because of it. Technology is just like anything else, you need to manage it. Too much of it leads you to being consumed by it, but not enough will leave you behind.

Gerrie Gardner

Gerrie Gardner, United States (Nutrition)

I now spend 3 days in the office and 2 working at home. While at the office, I am the only one there - it's very quiet and I miss seeing my co-workers. The days I am home have been a great help as I am having a lot of remodeling done to the house and it is nice to be here and watch what is transpiring and answering any questions. But it is a bit noisy and distracting. The biggest impact from Covid was to restrict the number of people at my wedding last month. Most of our families were unable to attend, so we got creative and had it live-streamed on YouTube for everyone to watch. My husband & I take long walks around our neighborhood and have connected with a lot of the neighbors doing the same thing. We cook most of our meals together and really eat healthy without a lot of processed food.

K V Venkatesh Murthy, India (Connell)

The question for October is very interesting and challenging for anyone to reply like me. In my 27+ years of sales experience (started my career in 1993), I have worked in an office for the first 3 years only. Later on, since Jan 1997, I have been working as a resident salesperson since 1997 almost 23+ years. I have been used to working from my home office and this time the only difference was NO CUSTOMER VISITS. This was a very challenging to me particularly as I was used to meeting at least 3 customers in a day. Also, I was starting to travel by my automobile as early as 8:30 am to avoid urban traffic jams. My food diet also changed. My breakfast was at 8am, with no confirmed lunch and dinner by 7:30 pm. With Covid-19 lockdown my food diet became absolutely normal at 9am, lunch at 1pm, tea snacks at 4:30pm and dinner by 8:30 pm. I have been spending more time with my family members. Both my sons are at home. My first son is working from home as software engineer and my second son is studying from home for his MBBS via internet classrooms (virtual classroom). I have kept a separate slot of time with my family members every morning up to 10 am and again from 5pm to late night. I am enjoying my sons' discussions, views and jokes, etc. Really these covid restrictions have given me what I missed in my last 23 years with my family. My health condition has improved more with homemade foods.

Carrie Williams

Carrie Williams, United States (Corporate)

My work has changed primary as it relates to travel. Prior to Covid-19, I would typically travel once or twice a month for meetings with co-workers. While I don’t miss the stress of travel, I do miss visiting in-person with my co-workers. Mostly, I miss sitting down for a casual lunch or dinner learning about what is happening outside of work; I miss hearing stories about family, vacations, or hobbies. One thing that I feel may have changed forever is that I used to ask; “can we hold a virtual meeting?” now I will likely ask “Is there is good reason to do this meeting in person”. Since going out and meeting friends is all but impossible, I have found that I am eager to walk my dog Daisy much more frequently and I enjoy my own neighborhood more than ever. The more walks we take the better I feel and the more fit I stay.

Kathryn Nix, United States (Nutrition)

Working exclusively from home since the pandemic began has been such a blessing. I have an extra half hour in the morning and an extra hour in the evening I got back since I am no longer commuting into the office. I now get to spend that time reading books to my 9-month old son, making and feeding him dinner, playing with him and the dog. Working from home has given me valuable family time back. But, I do miss seeing my coworkers and getting out of the house everyday. Instead of traveling and visiting friends like were pre-pandemic, our family has found joy in taking long walks to the park, going up into the costal mountain range and hiking, and taking the dogs to the river.

Kaylee Norris

Kaylee Norris, United States (Nutrition)

Like a lot of non-essential workers, I am working from home. Which means ALL my meetings and work conversations take place over Teams now. I just recently got my computer set up to be able to use video in meetings, so I am hoping to have some “face-to-face” conversations soon 😊. I now share an office with my 14-year-old, which gives us an opportunity to pause and connect throughout the day. While it is nice to still have someone to talk to, I miss all my coworkers! Things like coffee breaks, walks along the river, checking in on each other during personal struggles, just can’t be replicated in a remote work environment. Also, I feel working remotely changes the office dynamic and makes it harder to share ideas, but being able to do a quick chat on Teams helps. Usually, our free time is spent hanging out with extended family and a few close friends, but since that isn’t an option, we have been taking a lot of hikes. We have over 20 miles of forested trails right behind our house! It has been a lot of fun discovering different paths and seeing the different lakes, waterfalls and creeks hidden in the woods. During the week, I try to get up and walk around my neighborhood a couple of times a day, even if it’s only for 10 minutes, it feels good to get some fresh air!

Smita Shetty

Smita Shetty, India (Connell)

In the pandemic, first few days were very confusing- there was no clear line of separation in work & personal lifetime. Then as a family we decided to follow a regimen. a) As we are saving our travel time - we took out time and did a yoga routine -30 mins each morning & evening. b) We followed the same cooking & eating routine as our office days. c) One more idea which helped us was dressing up for office time in semi-formals or formals and then changing after work hours. That really helps to switch. d) Switching rooms after work hours also helps - for example, we set up our workstations in the living area and then after work moved to another room/area so that it helps switch thoughts.

Peggy Saling, United States (Nutrition)

One way we are doing things different is coming in just one door and wearing a mask. We are also having temperatures taken before entering the plant. We are limiting the number of people who share an office. We are social distancing as much as possible by splitting breaks and lunches, so not everyone goes at the same time. We are also having visitors or contractors wear masks. We are not letting truck drivers into the building. We meet them at the door then go out and give them the paperwork when they are loaded. We have meetings on teams instead of all being in an office. What I miss about the old way is not much just not having to wear masks and getting temps taken. The new normal just takes some getting used to. The staying healthy and fit part is just not getting in a crowd. Just do it with family.

Jeff Hershberger

Jeff Hershberger, United States (Agribusiness)

I attended the Swine competition at the 2020 Big Fresno Fair. The picture is my son showing his Duroc. This year, instead of having multiple species in the barn at the fair for a week, only a single species was present, and only for a day. This put additional stress on the animals, the kids and the organizers of the event. Further, each participant was only permitted two guests and the general public was not permitted, so there was a much smaller crowd. It was sad that the kids missed out on the week-long roster of activity in which they usually participate. However, it was encouraging to see the support of the community in moving ahead with this event to keep some normality in life. The Corona virus has accelerated the pace of technology integrating into our society. The use of TEAMS has made collaborating from home much easier. I do not miss the morning commute, but I do miss the random cross-functional interaction. Fitness became a priority in my life prior to the pandemic, so I have continued my morning routines: the extremely poor air quality in California has a greater impact on that. Personal life has become more scripted and less impulsive. Worship in my Church is happening via Zoom, so it is less personal, but there has been an incredible opportunity to hear speakers from around the world that would otherwise be impossible. We can gripe at the lemons we have been given from the pandemic, but it is better to enjoy the lemon juice that can be made.

Holly Hambruch, United States (Agribusiness)

Work has not changed much for me as I don't have the ability to work from home during our peak season. One way that it has changed is that we no longer have people coming into the office so all of my interaction is through a window which has been nice. That way I am still getting interaction with people; but at a safe distance. I do miss the days of customers just walking in and grabbing a bottle of water or a snack. Instead of visiting a gym; we are just doing more outdoor activities at home...lots of walks with the dogs so it's been very good for them.

Jason Woulfin, United States

I worked from a home office prior to all of us this, but now my options to travel and work in person is greatly reduced/eliminated. It does seem that people now have more time for conversations compared to when they would previously be running to meetings or other items, so it is possible to get more things done with phone calls. However, I really miss getting out and seeing the work being done first hand. Talking with people over a meal or simply shaking hands. Simple little things, but it was easier to just connect with people. While still possible, for new connections that is much harder via phone or computer screen.

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