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Rider's Almanac Blog

In This Together

In this Together: Chelsa Johnson, METRO Gold Line Environmental Lead

Posted by John Komarek | Friday, October 16, 2020 2:54:00 PM

Across the organization, Metro Transit employees’ work has been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. These "In This Together" Q&As illustrate how employees are adapting both on and off the clock. Read more interviews here

How has the pandemic affected your day-to-day work? 

I work with the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Group on two projects that have critical schedules to maintain. With the pandemic, certain agencies aren’t able to complete necessary reviews within normal time frames so that has added a layer of complexity to manage our schedule. Despite this issue, we have been able to maintain momentum with advancing design for both projects to
keep moving forward. Our project office is used to working closely together both virtually and in person so the transition to telework within a short amount of time was surprisingly smooth and efficient. We have some fun boards in the office for staff to share photos of recent vacations, new babies, pets, and “wall of same” for those that wear the same outfit to work. I miss seeing regular updates to those boards.

What’s it like working through a pandemic?

I think the most difficult part of working from home is establishing a routine to break up the day and make sense of being “at work” vs “at home.” Sometimes I work from my mom’s office just to have a visual break from my place. She also makes me lunch so it’s a win-win. I’ve always loved having the option to work from home when the weather is bad but I really was surprised how much I missed going into the office. Before working for Metro Transit, I had flexibility to work from home when I wanted to but I often chose to make the trip into the office to better engage with my team. The routine I miss most is my morning Caribou run in the skyway to get my favorite tea with coworkers. And I miss our really awesome potlucks.

How has your life changed outside of work?

I love being outside during the summer so activities after work did not change much. I enjoy golfing and I am on two leagues during the summer. We were lucky enough to start our season on time although the game was slightly modified to increase social distancing. I have a pretty big garden as well that seems to keep growing bigger as the years pass. I planted over 20 tomato plants this year because I enjoy canning salsa. My pepper plants went extra wild this year and I still have some to can although there is a shortage of canning supplies so I’ll have to freeze instead. I use peppers in my Metro Transit award winning Chili (2019 Champion) so I can’t wait to make my first batch of the season. Definitely looking forward to life returning to normal and defending my title at a future competition!

Read previous In This Together Q&As on the Riders' Almanac blog

Learn more about the METRO Gold Line