How We Work: Ryan Mangum
My wife Hailey and I are going to have quite the story to tell our children and grandchildren about the timing of our wedding and honeymoon.
It was right before all of this happened.
On March 6, we had a destination wedding in Miami for about 100 people. We might have been the final wedding at that venue for the foreseeable future. Then we flew to Puerto Rico and left on a cruise two days later. We were the last ship to leave port. We made all of our stops. But the morning that we were supposed to disembark back in Puerto Rico, I looked out the window and told Hailey: “We’re still moving.”
Role: Leads a team of sales reps who make the first contact with potential customers to introduce them to Dynamic Signal and provide information they might find valuable
Home: Plainfield, Ill.
Family: Wife, Hailey
They diverted us to Florida. So, we spent a couple of extra days on the ship. Then it was a challenge getting back to Chicago because we had to change our flight to leave from Orlando, and then that got canceled. When we did get home, our luggage was missing for two days. It was quite the experience.
Of course, now the adventure continues.
We’ve had a lot of people ask what these last few weeks have been like for us. First, we get married. Then we’re together in a small room on a cruise ship for 10 days. Now, we’re essentially working side-by-side. I could see where people might think: “That has got to be a lot of stress.” But honestly, it’s been great. What helps is that she’s my best friend.
We also don’t see each other that much during the day when we’re working. We’re totally focused on our jobs. We do eat lunch together. But it doesn’t feel like we’re crowding each other’s space.
Hailey is a subject matter expert at Discovery Education. She develops science curriculum for K-12 students and teachers. She has always worked remotely and has a great office setup. So, nothing has changed for her job.
Well, except for suddenly having me around all the time.
She works in her office, and I’ve created a workspace on our kitchen island. It’s better than it sounds. I learned the hard way that sitting on the couch is not good for my back. We also have standing desks at our office, so I like being on my feet sometimes when I’m working.
There are times when I have an important meeting, and I’ll “request permission” to use the office. For instance, let’s say I’m having a one-on-one with our CEO. She’ll say, ‘OK, that’s fair.” And she lets me use it.
I think Hailey likes having me around, although I’m sure that I sometimes get annoying.
We consider ourselves very fortunate that everything pretty much went as planned for our wedding and honeymoon. If either one had been even a day later, it all probably would have been postponed. We have friends who were supposed to get married over the next few months, and we really feel for them.
So, yes, I guess this is a lot for a newly married couple. But the positive is that you both discover how you handle difficult situations.
And this is working for us.
Five Questions with Ryan
What social distancing technology are you using?
It’s what you would expect. Slack. Zoom. The phone. Anything I can do to have a conversation. Preferably, it’s face-to-face in a Zoom meeting. Outside of work, I’ve been relying on social media to stay more connected with people. I’ve been doing a lot of FaceTime and having a lot of “happy hours.”
What’s something that you’ve learned about working from home?
The big thing for me has been time management. It’s been interesting how having more time available has made it more challenging in some ways. When I went to our Chicago office every day, the commute averaged about an hour-and-a-half each way because I take the train. It’s a completely different routine now. When you’re going to an office, you just know that it’s time to work. At home, I have to work harder to maintain my focus on tasks and manage my time.
What’s something that keeps you sane?
I’m just trying to stay as active as I can. It’s not just physical. I’m finding myself reading everything I can, especially in our business, as I try to understand the market and what’s going on. Everything is happening so fast. But there is one thing physical that I do. I have two, 25-pound dumbbells beside my computer. If I’m feeling lethargic, I’ll just grab them. It gets the blood moving and helps me to stay alert and fresh.
What’s your new work attire?
I’ve kept wearing dress attire. Well, at least from the waist up. I admit that I’m going back through a lot of my college wardrobe, like wearing North Carolina Tar Heels sweatpants and stuff like that.
What’s the hardest thing about working remotely?
I think maintaining team camaraderie when we’re all apart. We have a strong team culture. We’re thinking every day about how we can keep that and not take a step back. We want to make sure we all continue to feel very connected at a time when that’s very difficult.