Nystrom team members have found creative ways to use their time productively during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dozens of our team members and their families have put their sewing machines to good use making masks. Many employees initially donated their CDC-designed masks to healthcare facilities, who reported mask shortages. But as grocery stores, national chains and manufacturing facilities, including Nystrom, mandated mask use, the demand grew. Besides outfitting their own families, neighbors and friends, many team members expanded their mask making for the Nystrom production crew. “Sewing and doing something creative, which I knew would benefit another person, felt great after a day on the computer,” said Nystrom Chief Financial Officer Gretchen Kelly, “and it’s neat to look out on the production floor and see a mask I made benefiting a coworker.”
Aside from jokes about the pandemic pounds piled on by being at home and social media memes taunting the “Quarantine Fifteen,” many team members use their cooking prowess in meaningful ways. Human Resources Generalist Lindsey Jankowski turned to an iconic Minnesota dish to cheer up friends. “I made nine tater tot hotdishes and delivered them safely to friends during furlough,” notes Jankowski, who also shared the recipe with friends and co-workers.
Area Sales Manager Shawn Cheney modestly mentioned over a Teams video call that he’s been stirring up a lot of homemade, from scratch dishes in his kitchen including waffles with apple cinnamon caramel sauce with fresh whipped cream, red pepper risotto, fresh angel hair pasta and steak and mozzarella quiche. When his team members asked for recipes, he confided that he doesn’t usually follow recipes and finds joy in creating dishes from the ingredients he has on hand. When he’s not working with customers, Cheney indulges in TV cooking shows and admits he’s usually cooking three meals a day for his family of 4 and 3 extra long-term guests that are sharing his home.
Distant Learning Teachers
The Pandemic has forced many parents into the role of teacher. Not only is it a role most never imagined but parents are becoming experts at multiple grades and subjects.
Many Nystrom employees are juggling the demands of working from home with managing distance learning, which includes troubleshooting technology, printing worksheets, relearning Algebra and managing lesson plans for multiple children in many grades.
“I always appreciated teachers,” notes Nystrom Controller Nicole Engstrom, “but I have a new respect and admiration for them.” Nicole has juggled her financial duties of month-end reporting and managing the company’s accounting team with supervising the distance learning for her two elementary-aged sons. “My husband and I tag team the school day, but it’s a challenge. I have to admit that I look forward to recess as much as the boys!”