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Photo of employee using production printer

Elsbeth Hussey, Production Print Coordinator

Memoires of an Essential Worker – A Look into the Production Print World 

Since the pandemic, there have been many new acronyms and jokes that have hit the nation, such as WAH (Work at Home), WFH (Work from Home), and Zoom-Bombing.  In addition, the phrase “new normal” and working in sweatpants has become…normal. These have all become common sayings that have graced our presence in the past year since COVID-19 entered our lives. 

For me, I’m not able to reference these terms in my daily work life. This is because our company, thankfully, is coded as an Essential business. That makes me an essential worker in some respects. When you hear the term, “Essential Worker,” you immediately think of the brave doctors, nurses, medical staff, paramedics, public service officers, grocery store employees, and others that risk their lives every day in the general public keeping the world running. Because our industry is necessary to keep other essential businesses running smoothly, my position is coded as an essential position. I am not a healthcare worker or a grocery store employee. However, I cannot do my job from home. Production machines cannot operate remotely.

So, what has this pandemic reality been like for those of us that have to still come into the office every day? Honestly, a lot of our operations are the same, but also vastly different. In some respect, our day-to-day in the Production room is very similar to pre-pandemic times. However, since many of our clients have pivoted due to their specific needs as a result of these challenging times, we have had to be very flexible in our production activities to accommodate quick turnaround times.

Remember back in March when Michigan went into full lock down? My team was still here. We were the only team at our state-of-the-art, three-story Grand Rapids headquarters. It was eerily quiet. With many of our clients temporarily shutting down and moving to a remote work setting, we were worried about the potential drop in our workload. In the Print Production room, many of the materials we print for our customers promote local events in the community, but as Covid-19 progressed, we began helping businesses in the community aid in PPE production for other frontline workers.

We were here for our customers. We never shut our doors. We were always ready to answer questions and alleviate concerns. There was no project too large or small for us.  

But now here we are, closely approaching one year since this pandemic started, and the jobs that we were printing before have been pouring back in. The events are being re-instated, but with Covid-19 restrictions. Our clients are running their machines and needing our help once again. It’s different, but still the same in a lot of ways. 

So, whether you’re still working from home, or your office is re-integrating employees back into the office, we’ll be here for you. The truth is, we never left.