In recent times, as a company, we have never been more grateful for the hard-working and dedicated employees we have here at Tilebar. In our new series, #TilebarTogether, we aim to share their stories on working from home in hopes that you can connect to them, since right now, connection is key.
Aaron Yeres, Sales: “I am part of the Internal A&D sales team. I work with architects and designers across the country, helping them with their tile needs. I’ve been working remotely from my home in Cedarhurst NY with my wife and 4 kids. During this time, I find myself speaking on the phone a lot vs emailing since most of the country is working from home as well. One of the more unique things about my situation is my princess Sadie. My daughter jumps on video calls with me almost everyday and if I can’t find my grout kit, I know who to ask. The biggest thing is trying to balance work and home time. When the office was open there were clear lines of work and home. Those lines have been blurred but we do our best to make the daily routine work. Yet, there have been some great perks with working from home; Daily games of horse in our backyard and reaching out to friends who I haven’t touched base with in a while. With everything happening, I’m grateful for our brave first responders, health and having the shortest commute of my life.”
Alivia Massimillo, Marketing | “As the Social Media Coordinator/Copywriter, I’m in charge of all things content; from our website to social media to the learning center.I work from home, like most everyone at this time. I have a 1 bedroom apartment that I share with my boyfriend and 2 cats. During work hours, I take the kitchen table or couch and he takes the bedroom desk or bed. It’s been comforting to have my cats hang out with me during the day, they make even these times happier! Oh, and I have a balcony which has been a true blessing on nice days. Aside from missing my coworkers and the overall office space, working remotely has really only changed my day-to-day from having in-person meetings to having meetings conducted via video chat. In all this, my biggest challenge has been that I unfortunately came down with Covid. I was out of commission for 4 days. I was better for a week, and then relapsed for another 3 days. It wasn’t awesome, but it could have been far worse. So for me life now is just prioritizing my health, being very appreciative I got through the worst, and making sure to stay inside so no one suffers. From this all, I’m grateful that I have my health and my loved ones have theirs, too, I’m grateful to work at a company where during hard times people ban together, rather than pull apart, and I’m grateful that I am able to have modern day comforts that allow me to stay connected to everyone and do it safely. My biggest takeaway is that life is a series of ebbs and flows. This may be an ebb, but we’ll be flowing soon enough, we just need to stick together while apart for that to happen.”
Faith Monteiro, Operations | “I am the VP of Operations which in a nutshell means that my primary focus is people, processes and accountability. I work heavily alongside warehouse management to create efficiencies within our workflows. Working remotely has given me the opportunity to zone out and focus on projects with little distraction ( as long as my daughter is preoccupied). The downside to that is not being able to collaborate easily with team members I normally would reach out to. Currently working from my desk in my bed room; I have my 9 yr old daughter here and 1 cat who has a strange obsession with stepping on my keyboard while I’m mid-email. They think the cord to the phone is an obstacle course and leap over it, more often than not ripping the phone off the desk as they both accidentally catch the wire. I’ve been learning to balance the needs of work and my daughter while managing my own personal struggles with everything going on. I haven’t had any help or relief as her father isn’t able to take her due to possible exposure with his job and roommates. It’s been heartbreaking for her to want to hug him or be with him and can’t. It brings a lot to be grateful for though, some things are; my support system, my job, my health of my family and friends. I’m fortunate to work in an industry that is still able to work and be at a company that has been really awesome about checking in, keeping us connected. Mental health is really important to me and having the ability to speak freely throughout the week about everything going on has been a huge help and I’m also doing a lot of self reflection which has been awesome! I’ve been reading, got back into sketching and painting. Id have to say the amount friends and family that have been posting about how they are helping the community or giving back where they can or like how we sent meals to the staff at a hospital just reminds me how good the world can be and has motivated me to help in my own way. I even have a friend running 72milesin72hrs to help raise money so many people coming together!”
Heather Quercio, Director of Photography | “I am the Director of Photography, I oversee operations of the photo dept which include photography and retouching. It has been a challenge to not be able to work hands-on in the photo studio we have in-office, but it has pushed me to think out of the box on how photography can create new and better content. I’m currently working in my home office (aka a corner of my bedroom), while my fiance works in his office space (aka the living room). As of now, one of my major challenges is making sure photoshop isn’t crashing haha. Working remotely has been enjoyable so far, I love working with my team, and being able to still joke and laugh over zoom conferences. There’s a lot I’m grateful for, but top 3 are: 1. My family and friend’s health. 2. My fiance’s home cooking. 3. My local grocery store workers who continue to work so hard in these uncertain times. Overall, this experience has taught me to value the greater good of the community.”
Jason Herget, Sales | “I’m part of the internal sales team within our A&D Division. I usually work remotely a few days out of the week, so the change to fully remote has been somewhat of a quick adjustment in that regard. For me, the challenges of not having all the same resources you have in the office has taken some getting used to, but it really all comes down to time management. I work out of my home office in Queens, NY and for the most part it’s been just my daughter & I, though I do check-in with my parents a few days out of the week. I’m thankful to have a team I can rely on and trust to jump in and help out when things get chaotic. At home, I just try and make sure my daughter & I stay balanced by keeping to our normal routine and focusing on the positives. Keeping in mind that people are dealing with this event all across the country in their own different and unique way. I’ve found that I’ve had the chance to connect with more people on a personal level and have really gotten to know quite a few clients I work with a lot better these past few weeks. I actually enjoy working remotely and tend to feel more productive in a quieter environment, so it hasn’t been all that bad – minus being locked in your house for most of the day, of course. I’m also enjoying being able to jump right into the workday bright & early without having to deal with traffic and the headaches of a NYC commute. I’m grateful for my health, the first responders and essential workers on the front lines, and our amazing team at the warehouse who’s been tirelessly still putting in a ton of hard work these past few weeks, even amidst all this craziness.”
Erica Puccio, Trade Division | I’m the Director of Regional Business Development for TileBar. I cover NYC, my home base, as well as New England, and Southern California while trying to be a good leader through training & education for myself and others. My role allows me to cultivate my passion for growth in the design community and create new connections with our products for that same community to build great design. Working remotely is not a new platform in my current role or previous roles of my career. I am doing my best to hone in my past practices to successfully execute my work. Without being able to visit and collaborate with clients in person the whole dynamic and strategy has changed to bring them great product and service. With that said, it’s about finding the balance to help them but be creative to pivot into a role that can bring them awareness and reminders that I’m still here for them in all aspects, personally and professionally. I’m in NYC, Midtown East, living on my own, so not even a pet. But I still have a sense of community from virtual meetings/calls or chatting with my loved ones. Another being, the 7pm cheer for all the NYC first responders & waving to neighbors. The most unique aspect for me is not being able to physically help people. I love to be there for others, and in situations like this, I would love to be able to roll up my sleeves and solve the problem. But the way to help is staying inside, and staying away from others right now. So I have had to rely on being more of a sound board for those who need a safe place, and a little hope through some kind, uplifting words to remind others we will get through this. My biggest realization is that it takes every single person to pull their weight and get through something life-changing. Not one person will get you through it, it’s what every individual person does to help each other get through it. That’s what makes our world a special place; Everyone is unique and we’re all here to work together to make this a beautiful & fulfilled life.”
Pace Tropper, Marketing |”I oversee TileBar’s digital marketing efforts, which means my role requires a lot of collaboration between different departments and team members. Working remotely has changed a lot of that interaction. Now, I’m at home, with my wife and 2 kids. You can find me either at my dining room table or in our home office which I share with my wife. My wife Aliza is a psychotherapist that specializes in anxiety, so as you can imagine, it’s a busy season for her. So essentially we have to both find the time for our jobs, homeschooling, children activities and house work. It’s all hands on deck over here. The biggest challenge has been balancing it all! I’m hearing a lot of people talk about all this extra time they have. I’m actually short on time and always feeling like I need more hours in the day, but I appreciate getting to know my children in a new way during this time.
I’m most grateful for me and my family’s health (can you blame me? We both contracted Coronavirus and were spared any harsh consequences). I’ve been trying to exercise at home and occasionally take a solo run. Doing things like exercising and trying to help others are true distractions that have been helping me stay positive and sane. I think when we are forced to change, we are forced to innovate and challenge the status quo. When all the dust settles I am excited to see what has evolved in our professional and personal lives.”
Shawn Wixted, Graphic Design | “I’m a Graphic Designer at TileBar, or better known as the guy who stresses about the most minute details that go unnoticed by normal people. I help to create brand visuals and content across all channels. Fortunately for creatives working remotely is not too much of a change from our normal routine just communication becomes a bit more challenging. (But, I miss seeing everyone that’s for sure!) I spend my days with my wife Joanne and my son Lucas. This works out since I find balance from seeing my wife and my son throughout the day. They keep me smiling. My son is an 8-month-old so that’s been pretty unique. He keeps me on my toes. Plus, he just learned to crawl a couple of weeks ago and now he’s like the flash, so fast! Being from Baltimore I haven’t been able to make the trip to visit everyone so it’s great that technology helps keep us all connected. The hardest thing for me, so far, is the physical restraints part. I have not been moving as much as normal and I think I have a serious snacking problem (yikes). We go on a lot of walks around the neighborhood to try to stay active. Summer is my favorite time of the year so I have been daydreaming about T-shirt weather…ahhhh, I can’t wait.”
Carla, NYC Showroom | “I am responsible for the management of our Flagship Showroom in Manhattan & the design implementation and development of new showrooms across the TileBar brand portfolio. Not having the showroom open has been a huge challenge for me. All our projects to improve the image of our products as well as new displays and vignettes have been put on hold, given the situation. When it comes to working at home, I am constantly on the move. I recently exchanged space with my husband to make the work environment less static; my three-year-old son Benjamin keeps me lively with his car races, he follows me wherever I go. Literally! My brother, Raul, who lives 5 minutes away, has kept Benjamin entertained by bringing him a new hot wheel car from day to day; I sure he will miss his visits through the window when this is over. I have found balance, trying to keep my normal routine as much as possible. Although, I must say that a good Cabernet has helped in the equation. I’m glad to be part of a generation with many communication channels, this is definitely a positive side of all this. My biggest challenge is to be the mother of a toddler with a lot of energy and creativity and at the same time be productive without neglecting myself and not being able to escape from home. Who can relate? I am grateful for my health and my loved ones, for all the tireless workers who have struggled in these difficult times, those who cannot stay at home, which I consider a privilege and for being part of a company that cares over the well-being of its employees and the community. I have learned to be appreciative of our freedom and must of all to be patient in many ways. I promise not to complain of our traditional routine that has so much value when you are able to share it with others.”
Marcel Roth, A&D Trade | “I’m a part of our A&D trade division covering California and Nevada. I’m usually out and about meeting with clients most of the week. Working from home has given me the opportunity to connect more one-on-one with my clients, spend more time checking in with them, realize what it’s like working in a crowded office, and gain a new appreciation for vodka (kidding). I’m currently working from my living room, dining room, kitchen or bedroom (depending on whether or not my daughter has PE that day, or whether my wife is taking a yoga class). I’ve been using this time to catch up on my reading, practice a daily meditation, and stay grounded while constantly refreshing my prime account to find an available shopper. I love the fact that I get to go outside with my daughter on her lunch break (thank goodness she still has online classes and is busy most of the day 😆, run around, get some exercise, and play ball with her. I miss my Krav Maga classes but I’ve been trying to practice as much as I can at home, with my daughter and very pregnant wife 🙂. I’ve also been doing some family yoga, and completed a few meditation challenges with some of my clients. If anyone is interested hit me up and I’m happy to start another one.”
Melissa, Accounts Payable | “I am in the Accounts Payable department at Tilebar. My job is to process all the company expenses. The transition to working from home was a challenge because I am used to working with all my paperwork, but this new set up helped me save a few trees now that I have been forced to work paperlessly. One of my biggest concerns at the start of this was my ability to work out of my little Bayside apartment. Thankfully, I was able to leave NY after our self-quarantine with my 7-year-old and have since taken over my parents master bedroom in their PA home. I have always had a very close knit family; my current situation has really helped me identify the core values of family and I am so happy that my son gets to experience it. I love when I reach out to my co-workers just to say hi, and they all have similar experiences that we can share. It really helps you feel like you are not alone. I am a natural early bird, even in the office, I am usually at work between 7:30 and 8 AM. Now that work is a few paces away, I find myself online early in the morning with a cup of coffee before my son wakes up to start his school day. The hard part is shutting everything down at the end of the day, but I have a little alarm clock that comes in to say ‘Mommy, work is finished!’ when I take too long to disconnect. I am grateful that I am able to work from home, provide for my parents and my son and that I have wonderful co-workers that help me get through my days. Physically, we are able to enjoy the outdoors a lot more freely in PA than in NY, and with less anxiety. Mentally, I have been catching up on my reading, I am never without a book in my hand. I miss my Saturday library trips with my son, but my parents have all of my favorite books from when I was younger stored away so I have been rediscovering them with my little one and it is very relaxing.”