The new normal – Day 24

April 9, 2020


Krys Shahin

LMC President Bob Kratochvil in the College Assembly meeting that had 97 participants held April 9.

Krys Shahin, Editor-in-Chief

Editor’s note: “The new normal” is a continuing series that looks into how members of the Los Medanos College community are coping with a shelter-in-place order amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the statewide shelter-in-place order is extended, individuals in the Los Medanos College community are still adapting to what will be their normal for the next month. 

LMC President Bob Kratochvil is one of the many who are now working from home and trying to find ways to create a positive environment, despite the challenges it may bring. 

Kratochvil says he has a four-by-two desk in his bedroom, along with a “tablet, a light that is shining on my face [for a better look in Zoom calls], a laptop where I’m exchanging information with people, papers and my charger.” 

Though his wife normally works from home, Kratochvil is not used to working there with her but is finding the transition to remote work relatively positive so far.

“It’s working… I always said that I wasn’t a person that could work out of the house, but so far it’s been more than reasonably positive. It hasn’t been bad at all,” he said. 

He is finding that working from home has actually increased his productivity and ultimately increases time spent working with fewer breaks.

“I’ve been on these devices just about all day, versus when I was on campus,” he said. There, whenever he found a spare 15-minutes, he was “able to walk around and go talk to people.” 

When he is on campus now, which is now typically just one to two times a week, Kratochvil spends most of the time in his office, which overlooks the outdoor quad. And even there, he finds it hard to escape the health crisis the world is dealing with. 

“It was eerie looking out my window and not seeing a soul out there on a Monday afternoon,” he said. “It was a very surreal sight.”

Because he is being more productive and is now able to work longer without as many distractions, Kratochvil finds himself lacking in the free-time department even without his 50-minute commute to and from campus. 

That commute “would give me time to listen to the news, so I haven’t listened to the radio news, but I listen to television more,” he said. “That’s probably more traumatic to me because I’m seeing all these visuals of everything going on across the country.”

His home life has not been terribly different since the transition, but Kratochvil has found he is encroaching upon his wife’s work space a little more now. 

The two of them each have their own space to work in the house, and as a result of the shelter-in-place order, they get to see one another more often.

The couple’s mealtimes have not changed much since the pandemic started, either. 

“Almost 99.9 percent of the time, I have dinner here [at home]… so [takeout] has not been something that we miss,” said Kratochvil, adding that they run to the store and get what they can, which allows them to experiment and  “cook a lot of different things.”

As social distancing becomes more important to practice in the community, Kratochvil finds the highlights of his day are spending time with his dog in the backyard and picking up the mail, but he expects, “that’ll get boring after a while.”