Working From Home During COVID-19

The world has shifted. A health crisis is on our doorstep and unknown territory lies ahead. We’re told not to panic. Instead, it’s suggested we arm ourselves with factual, relevant information, shut down the news after a bit, and try to focus on things we can do to practice distancing, self-care and to enjoy productive, happy days.

If you’re one of the millions of workers finding yourself in a tizzy to create a make-shift office from your dining room table with files in a tote bag and a messy kitchen nearby, you are not alone. For those still blessed with sustained employment amid COVID, at-home or remote working might be new, but it doesn’t have to be magazine-style perfect. Let’s take a peek at how to create a successful remote working environment – whether your dining room table, a spare bedroom, unfinished basement, or patio corner. Check out these tips:

  • Designate a space. Claim it, set it up, and prepare your work space so you’re ready to go. Hang your nameplate if you need to, but let your at-home peeps know this is your kingdom. For greater comfort, put out some fresh flowers, light a candle, and throw on your favorite playlist or podcast. Make your area “you.”
  • Make sure you’re connected. You’ll need important tools to connect with your company’s network: Zoom or other conferencing platforms; calendars; data files; cloud storage; etc. – waiting until you need it could be disappointing if things don’t work or connect correctly.
  • Maintain a routine. Go ahead and “get ready for work.” If you hit the gym at 6 a.m., modify your workout at home or take it outside, but keep the same schedule. Changing from nighttime pajamas to daytime pajamas 20 minutes before it’s ‘go time’ might not yield the most effective workday.
  • Take breaks. Just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve lunch, a mid-day walk, or a break. Stepping away from your computer for a little fresh air is necessary and can help with perspective and focus.
  • Close the kitchen. This is my personal challenge. You don’t snack all day at work, you certainly don’t need to at home. Designate lunch and snack breaks and then step away from the refrigerator.
  • Connect with people. Cats are cute and dogs are loyal coworkers, but you need to connect with other humans – besides your family. Schedule a weekly virtual meeting or happy hour with your team. Conduct a department staff meeting so everyone can connect. Speaking of connections…peep the virtual beauties we created for you below – don’t let yourself be a potato!

With the increase in virtual meetings on Zoom, we created a host of backgrounds for those who love Merriam to download and use when conducting online meetings. We hope you enjoy these beautiful images of Merriam and we encourage you to invite others to come visit when the time is right.

For the complete collection of Merriam Zoom virtual backgrounds, click here.

Quick instructions for downloading and using images in Zoom (must be done on desktop, not mobile):

  1. Click link to Google Drive; select image you prefer and click the three stacked dots (right upper corner); choose download. Image should save to your downloads folder.
  2. Open Zoom on desktop and sign-in. Click on settings (gear beneath your profile pic).
  3. Select virtual background and then click the + sign next to choose virtual background to add images (select the folder where you saved images from Google). Select the image of your choice and click open. Once the image appears in the box, click the X in the upper right corner. The image you selected should now be your virtual background on Zoom.

    Tip: if there is text on your image, deselect “mirror my image” so the text does not appear in reverse.

Happy zooming–be safe out there!

Pet-friendly Merriam!

In celebration of National Pet Day on April 11th (yes, it’s a thing–the National Calendar at a Glance says so), we thought it fitting to celebrate and share the fur babies in our lives, and educate travelers about Merriam’s pet-friendly places.
Ladi Dadi
Meet Ladi Dadi—she’s a toy poodle who is the sweetest, most loving and smart girl around. Fiercely protective of her travel bag (her mohawk hairstyle all the more intimidating), Ladi loves to tag along with her humans on various trips and excursions, happily obeying all the puppy laws when livin’ it up at a pooch-friendly spot.

This is Pip! Pip is a temperamental rabbit who lives in a custom-made triplex rabbit condo and is too spoiled for her own good. She enjoys lounging near her hay rack by day and wreaking havoc by night, keeping her human (and human’s parents) awake until the wee hours like it’s her own personal bunny nightclub. Pip is portable and has traveled on occasion—thankfully never being snubbed since she’s not a typical traveling pet.

Pip the Rabbit

If you’re a pet parent, you know the struggle is real when trying to decide to travel or not to travel with the critters in tow. In fact, according to, “pet owners aren’t fully enjoying the benefits of what should be a relaxing travel experience because they are worrying about their pets.” This nifty infographic shows that 73% of people feel guilty about leaving their pet in a kennel when they travel and 21% of them have trouble finding pet-friendly accommodations. Fortunately, since there are so many of us pro-pet travelers out there, lodging, attractions and other visitor-friendly locations are starting to pay attention and make special packages and allowances so people and pets can travel more freely together.

Sure, there are times when the grandpet parents are a more suitable option or the sitter just makes more sense, but for times when you really want to get away with your fur-baby, it’s good to know the pet-friendly odds are shifting in your favor.

Here in Merriam for example, pets are heartily welcomed in our community. From overnight lodging to a doggie day-care if you prefer a parents’ day out activity, the plethora of pet amenities are certainly a good reason to consider Merriam when traveling to the Kansas City region. Take a peek at our pet-friendly spots across town and be sure to swing by the CVB office (M-F 8:00a.m.-4:30 p.m.) for a pooch treat if you’re in the neighborhood.

  • Lodging: Drury Inn, Super 8, Extended Stay America and Quality Inn Merriam all have pet-friendly policies. Please inquire with each property for specific details–click here for easy access to the hotels online.
  • Daycare/Boarding: Woof’s Play & Stay offers boarding options when you must leave them behind and day-play if you need a PDO. Grooming services are also available, and who knows, your pooch could win Top Dog Award.
  • Grooming: Jenny’s Pet Care & Dog Grooming on Merriam Drive is a great spot for a spiffy new do! Mention her website coupon and receive $3 off your first dog groom.
  • Supplies: PetSmart at Merriam Town Center and Merriam Lawn & Feed at Johnson & Merriam Drive both have pet food and supplies if you forget an essential supply when visiting.
  • Parks, parks, and more parks: All of Merriam’s parks and trails are pet-friendly and nary a moment goes by without seeing a leashed fur baby leading the way of park goers and trail walkers. Bonus: all Merriam parks have pet waste stations, so there’s no worries when duty calls. Click here for a list of parks in Merriam!
  • Day for the Dogs: No community would be complete without an event entirely focused on the four-legged furries.  Merriam’s Pooch Paddle is a fun, tail-wagging, all-dog swimming party held on Monday, September 4, 2017 at the Merriam Aquatic Center.
  • No Pets? You may be reading this blog thinking, “I don’t even have a pet.” We’ve got that covered too. Merriam is home to Great Plains SPCA, a local shelter housing dogs and cats (and sometimes other animals) in need of caring, loving homes and humans. Give them a shout if you’re looking to adopt, or feel free to make a little donation to keep this worthy organization stocked with supplies.

Now that you’ve got the perfect pet-friendly place to visit, come see us in Merriam! We’re pawsitively certain you’ll love our pawspitality–fur real!