IPS employee finds balance amid pandemic challenges

IPS Payroll Specialist Ashlie Bruce spent a few minutes with us to talk about the many changes on the job since the pandemic and what has remarkably remained the same.

Let’s go back to earlier this year when COVID-19 began to spread in southeast Wisconsin.

Ashlie: “I was on vacation when Pete and John opted to have the office go remote at the end of March. I had anticipated that decision, but it’s a bit sad to reflect on the last time I saw everyone together. I didn’t know it would be for as long as it has been and will continue to be.

My husband and I have a shared office at home, and we quickly found we couldn’t both be in the same space while on the phone and video conferences, so I set up a desk in the dining room. We have this great big dining table that easily fits 10 people and we had to remove the leaves so my work station would fit. We have this inside joke, (“Can you even call that a table anymore?”) when we realize how small the table is now in comparison to its full glory.”

How did you try to minimize the effect that the pandemic could have on IPS clients?

Ashlie: “The range of impact on clients, even in the same industry, has been tremendous. We moved our focus from ancillary internal projects to keeping up on the legislative changes that were put into effect to help businesses stay open, and how our software was evolving to implement those changes. We cannot prevent our clients from having sick employees or seeing a slowdown in business, but we have been able to accommodate fewer pay periods for temporary closures, quick implementation of new earnings including items for furloughed employees, and clearer guidance on changes that impact their payroll.”

You’re still mostly working remotely, so we imagine there are some things you miss about not being in the Delafield office.

Ashlie: “I miss chatting with my co-workers. We mill around the cubicles (the watercooler isn’t as convenient) and talk about our weekends, pets, family, strange encounters at the hardware store, etc. We do this a bit over Messenger, but not nearly as much as when we are face to face. We aim for our teams to work about two weeks in the office and two weeks at home. This policy is flexible, though, as we accommodate vacations, kids going back to school, etc. My last stint at home was for three weeks. Depending on how the school year goes for my coworkers’ kids, I may be in the office longer, as needed. As much as I enjoy working from home, I am looking forward to when we can all sit down for lunch together again.”

With so many challenges, share the good things that remained the same.

Ashlie: “The basic functionality of my job has not changed at all. I may do it from a different location every few weeks, and farther away from my coworkers, but I’m still providing customer service. I’m processing payrolls, taking calls, setting up new clients, and hopefully meeting the expectations and needs of those I work with and work for.”