May 31, 2020 - Inside 23andMe

Working from Home Silver Lining Stories from 23andMe

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we here at 23andMe — researchers, engineers, scientists, and content creators — continue to work, albeit from home. Like a lot of you, we also get a little overwhelmed with the news but are trying to stay positive and support each other. It helps to have a mission that gives us purpose and a CEO who inspires.

But we also have each other. One of the things we recently did was to invite employees to share with us their “silver linings,” the bright spots of their days spent working from home and sheltering in place with their families or on their own.

Below are a few we collected to share. It’s a reminder that even in our darkest hours there’s always room for a little light.

  • “I’m much more aware of the seasonal awakening of the flowers and trees around my yard, and all the birds that fly through,” said Crystal, who works with on 23andMe’s security team.
  • For Patty, one of our engineers, her silver lining was just a simple kindness from a neighbor who noticed she was suffering from allergies: “My neighbor asked me if I wanted some allergy medicine … She went into her house and brought out a bottle of Zyrtec about three-quarters full. As I went to open the bottle to take a single pill out, she said I could keep the whole thing!”
  • Ted, another engineer, said he’s had more time to tidy up and hang with his kids: “The house is incredibly clean and in its best state of repair since I don’t have the excuse of “too busy” to fix stuff. Biking with the kids more often. Gaming with the kids: Playing Minecraft, Star Wars Battlefront (the originals from the 2000s, not the EA pay-as-you-go ones), and… Oregon Trail! Eating together as a family.
  • For Lindsay, who works in with the communications team, working from home has given her more time to connect with loved ones far away: “This week I played virtual trivia with my loved ones who are currently spread out all around the country and world!”
  • Chalise, who is on the engineering team, also talked about how this time has brought her closer to her family:  “I’ve been texting and calling with my sisters on the east coast a lot more because it’s easier to chat with them in the morning now. Plus they have been finding entertaining ways to stay connected, like a letter, my sister wrote to me (with the tea-stained paper, burnt edges.)”
  • Joanna, part of our research team, has reaped the bounty of her son’s baking. He had been working in Washington DC but decided to come back to California and work from here: “My son is baking sourdough bread (to order) on a regular basis.  I just had a slice of very whole wheat with butter and “summer blackberry and lemon” jam we got in Pacific Grove in December…  My favorite so far is whole wheat with toasted walnuts and sunflower seeds.  The process is fascinating.  He started by making the starter over a month ago and has been baking for 3 weeks now…  I love having him home and the bread is a big bonus.”
  • Katie, on the communications team, has a new ritual with her two sons and her husband each afternoon: “I’m forced to play soccer with my boys daily, so my soccer skills have definitely improved!”
  • Sarah, who works on our product science team, is making sure to get time outside: “It’s so wonderful to go for long walks/runs/bike rides just as spring is springing! I love spending more time with my SO during the day. I feel so tremendously grateful that (a) I still have a job and, (b) it’s a job I can totally do from home.”
  • For Teresa, on the research team, the time at home is a bonus for her cats. “Among many other things, getting sucked into some middle of the day quick cuddles with [my cats]. Reminds me of grad school days when we first got them.”
  • Steve, on the engineering team, only magnified what he has always felt about his family. “The totality of the COVID-19 situation is amplifying the love and pride I feel for my family back in Ohio, including my brother and sister who are both MDs powering through the challenges to deliver the necessary care to folks, and my 83-year-old mom making and delivering hundreds of masks each week. Another silver lining – Locally, SIP has inspired a daily routine to end each day of zoom meeting madness with a proper glass of wine with my wife on our front porch enjoying the incredible neighborhood spirit and the many friendly folks walking the sidewalks.”

These were some of our silver linings. What are yours?

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