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Snowpocalypse 2.0: Atlanta Workers Get Smarter, Work Smarter the Second Time Around

Atlanta learned from the first round of “Snowpocalypse,” the weather phenomenon that baffled the southeastern US in January and struck again this week. Instead of fleeing from offices, businesses and workers opted to stay home, using technology like Wifi, mobile devices, VPNs and virtual meetings to keep business going.Like so many of you, our Atlanta workers had to find new ways to get their jobs done outside of the office. Here are stories from four of our workers during Snowpocalypse: The Snowed-In Executive, the Working Mom, the Techie and the Work-at-Home Collaborator. Which type of worker are you?

The Snowed In Executive: Sean O’Brien

One of my responsibilities at PGi is helping to organize meetings with our Board of Directors. Unfortunately, this time, Mother Nature had other plans; the first wave of the ice storm was forecast to hit right when our Board would be travelling to our Atlanta headquarters. Even if they could arrive before the worst of the storm, they’d almost certainly be stuck here for several days.

Instead of postponing and losing valuable planning time before our 2013 earnings announcement next week, we used iMeet as a virtual Boardroom and held the meeting as planned, collaborating online without a hitch. Your company and its most critical meetings shouldn’t be at the mercy of the elements and with simple web conferencing software, like iMeet and GlobalMeet, they don’t have to be.

The Techie: Josh Erwin

With Atlanta currently in the grips of yet another bout of winter weather, my team and I are all working from home this week. And to be perfectly honest, except for the fact that we’re not seated next to one another, you almost wouldn’t be able to tell; emails are flying, iMeet® meetings are happening, documents are being reviewed and more, all online.

For me personally, I’m leveraging my tech to stay sane during Icepocalypse. My personal highlight? Getting heavy use out of my Chromecast. I already loved Google’s tiny $35 media streamer, and it’s been working overtime while I’ve been at home. I tend to WFH in the big comfy recliner in my living room, and I’ve been casting YouTube videos, music and more to my big screen while continuing to work on my laptop. And it’s all controllable from my phone, tablet or web browser. It’s the perfect companion for telecommuting from the living room!

The Work-at-Home Collaborator: Lorna Love

This week has been a typical busy week. I’ve attended quite a few meetings, written several blogs and I’m currently trying to wrap up a couple of projects. Of course, instead of working from my office desk, I’m currently sitting at my kitchen table while my dog plays with his bone nearby.

Although the snow and ice may have shut down the city of Atlanta, I’m still going strong. I can stay up-to-date with all of my work responsibilities so I don’t have to worry about playing catchup next week when the ice finally melts.

While some people are beginning to suffer from cabin fever, I’m doing just fine. I can still see the faces of my colleagues through iMeet and even share jokes through emails or instant messages.

I also enjoy the extra time I get to spend with my dog, Mylo. Between meetings I can take him for a walk in the snow and let him run around and use some of his puppy energy. That way, when it’s time for me to attend a meeting, he’s fast asleep on the living room floor.

Being able to stay on top of my work, still have the opportunity to collaborate with my team and play with my puppy makes for a fun, but still productive snow day.

The Working Mom: Blakely Thomas-Aguilar (aka Me)

The beauty of technology is that you can telecommute and not skip a beat, all thanks to Wifi, laptops, virtual meetings, email and instant messaging. But unlike your conference call line, you can’t mute your kids. I learned that the hard way this morning – with my 9-year-old cutie asking to download yet another app in the middle of a GlobalMeet webinar.

So, for all you parents out there, here are 5 things that are keeping the Aguilar kids happy and blessedly quiet. Hope they help you!

1. iMovie. The creativity of kids is amazing. I’ve equipped a tablet computer with iMovie, and they’ve created some hilariously awesome videos from “Aguilar Studios”: a horror movie, music video and Disney Channel-style sitcom.

2. Scheduled food time: My polite sweethearts always ask if they can have a snack, a glass of water and “is it lunch time yet?” So I’ve written the scheduled food times every 2 hours on a whiteboard so they know what to expect and when.

3. 30 “Mommy Minutes”: Every three hours, I schedule 30 minutes of 100% mommy time to ensure they’re actually enjoying their snowy break from school. During this time, we play a quick hand of go fish, pop outside for a snowball fight or make some old-school popcorn.

4. Snow kit: If you travel with your kids, you know how to pack a busy-work kit — books, stickers toys, video games and other goodies that you dole out carefully to keep them busy for a prolonged amount of time.

5. Chores: Might sound a little crazy, but boy does it keep them busy – and keeps the house somewhat tidy with the crew home all day. Give them a Magic Eraser, assign a room, put on some fun music and let the cleaning commence.

How did you manage being snowed in during Snowpocalypse? And what type of snowed-in worker are you?

About Blakely Thomas-Aguilar

Blakely is a work-life juggler with three little monsters, Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book-a-holic, Atlanta transplant and PR/social/content strategist (and presentations nerd) for PGi.

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