Our Socially Distanced Office Space

When this pandemic began, one of the first things that we did was to require that all non-warehouse staff work from home. As time went on, and as New York has loosened its restrictions, we’ve moved all of the staff back to the warehouse and us owners have resumed our regular rotating schedule. Even with our rotating schedule, our office wasn’t quite spaced out well enough to provide everyone a socially distanced 6 ft between desks. Part of the problem is that when we built… Continue reading

7/7/20

Our Warehouse Package Cutoff System Wasn’t Designed For This, But It Is Saving Us Right Now

Every once in a while you win one by accident. About a year and a half ago I wrote a post A New Tool for Managing Busy Warehouse Days where I described a system that we built for handling volume spikes in our warehouse, both planned and unplanned. From that post: On our back-end we’re able to set a package cutoff for any upcoming shipping day. We use historical data along with staffing information to aid us in picking the number. Once our shipping queue… Continue reading

5/28/20

One Surprising Thing I Didn’t Anticipate When This Pandemic Began

Over the years we’ve built strong relationships with the manufacturers of the products that we carry. We work with a lot of great companies. So I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that many of them pivoted to manufacturing PPE, or that as one of their better customers we’d be on the short list of companies to get first access to these products. The end result has been that we’ve been able to have a steady stock of gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, and… Continue reading

5/22/20

Good Remote Work Habits Start in the Office

Much of the world has been forced into unexpectedly working from home over the past month. Unsurprisingly, there’s no shortage of stories about how difficult it is. There’s also no shortage of articles about the tools and techniques that you need to use to make it work. “You just need Zoom and Slack and everything will work out great!” We’re no stranger to remote work. We set our company up as a hybrid from the start, with each of us having the ability to work… Continue reading

4/21/20

Five Books I’m Reading During This Pandemic

As soon as the magnitude of this crisis became clear, my reading interests seemed to change. There were books that I had read (or started to read in one case), that I thought could help shed some light on what we’re going through. Because as much as we think of this time as unique, crisis and pandemic have been a constant throughout history. I also think that there’s a healthy limit to how much news one can consume before it becomes detrimental. Rather than refreshing… Continue reading

4/15/20

Our Weekly Coronavirus Report

One thing was clear pretty early on during this Coronavirus crisis: our business, and every other business, was going to look different throughout the crisis and be different after it’s over. The challenge for us was to come up with a way to regularly review the data that would give us clues as to how things were changing. We wanted to be able to react as quickly as possible. Our current automated reports were good for normal times as a business that has had slow-and-steady… Continue reading

4/9/20

Surface Pro Update: My First Real Test and Improving “Lappability”

A few updates on the Surface Pro 7 that I purchased in November as a Chromebook replacement: Downtime While Traveling Earlier in March, when travel was still allowed, my family and I were out of town for a wedding. Friday morning, I woke up to a barrage of downtime alerts on my phone. I grabbed my Surface Pro out of my luggage, booted up, and starting digging in. It was perplexing because our server was up and looked fine, but Detailed Image wasn’t loading. I… Continue reading

3/30/20

Do Something Fun!

Like many families, we’re adapting to life with everyone home every day. My wife and I are both working from home while also caring for our 3 year old whose daycare is closed. It is a challenge for sure. There’s plenty of stress and plenty of questions about how we’re going to find enough time to work and how long this will go on for, and I’m trying to ensure our business and employees come out of this in a good position too. Everyone is… Continue reading

3/23/20

How We’re Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis

There’s no playbook for dealing with the challenges that the past week has brought upon everyone. I think with any crisis, the smart thing to do is to identify your biggest threats and prioritize a plan of attack based upon the most critical thing(s) in front of you. We sat down on Monday to do just that for our business (virtually on Skype, of course). That feels like a comically long time ago as I’m writing this on Friday afternoon. But for the most part… Continue reading

3/20/20

Blocking out a “Movie” Worth of Time Each Day

I recently listened to a fantastic interview on The Tim Ferriss Show with Gary Keller of the real estate firm Keller Williams (KW). One discussion about productivity stood out to me. It was about the idea of carving out one “movie” worth of time every day for your most productive work. The analogy works really well: it’s a 2-3 hour time period where you focus on one thing, turn your phone off, eat and go the bathroom ahead of time, and – in my case… Continue reading

3/3/20