Columnist

Kristin Emery is a meteorologist at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, an O-R columnist, and writer for Total Health magazine and other publications. Kristin is a Washington native and a graduate of Washington High School and West Virginia University.

How are you doing by now?

It’s month eight of the COVID-19 pandemic and hearing the nauseatingly overused phrases such as “these uncertain times” and “the new normal” is, well, normal by now.

Are you working?

Are you kids in school at home or in person?

I’m now seeing people refer to work from home as “WFH” and I did it for my television job for several months. Rather than coming into the newsroom, 90% of our staff has been “WFH” or out of our news vehicles. I always have done my writing projects, like this column, from home. So transitioning to working from home was nothing out of the ordinary.

I have tried to get technology bugs worked out for dialing into our weather graphics remotely. I had to use my smart phone – then later a real TV camera – for live weather segments. Figuring out I could even use a WiFi phone number from my tablet to call into our IFB system – that’s what lets us hear our producers and directors in our earpieces while we’re on the air – was also critical.

When COVID-19 numbers dropped, we got the green light to do weather in the studio again. That lasted only a few days before Pennsylvania cases spiked again and we were once again relegated to our home “studios.” In August, the numbers were down enough that corporate cleared us to be live in the studio once again doing our weather.

So far, so good.

To say that working from home was a breeze is not entirely true. It had pros and cons and probably more pros overall including no commuting, paying for parking or wearing shoes or pantyhose. But working at home was not without stress.

Our engineering staff was wonderful in resolving technical issues. Still, there were a lot of moving parts and things could and did go wrong.

Camera shots and computers when everyone else on my block also working from home gobbled up bandwidth.

I did “WFH” for four months and it was relaxing but also caused some anxiety. The thought of going back in person was worrisome. However, two months in and I am happy to say it was much easier to get back in the swing of things than I imagined – mostly because there are so few people downtown. These past two weeks I have noticed that’s starting to change. I got stuck in a 20 minute back up on Green Tree Hill last weekend – on a weekend! The bridges and tunnels were jammed leaving town a few evenings this week.

Traffic jams? What are those?

I underestimated how little of a hassle it would be to return to work in person and also how much I missed human interaction with friends and coworkers. Even though we’re across a room or on separate sides of the studio now, it’s still enjoyable to work together.

Kristin Emery can be reached at kristinemery1@yahoo.com.

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