In this series, we speak to Xenomorph employees and ask them to share their experience of lockdown, how it has impacted their day-to-day lives and if they have any tips or recommendations for their colleagues. Today’s conversation is with Xenomorph co-founder Mark Woodgate in New York.
Xeno: Tell us a little about yourself and your role at Xenomorph?
Mark: I am one of the original Founders of Xenomorph and, over the years, my role has transitioned into more of a pre-sales and support role – specifically for Xenomorph Software, Inc. in the US. I am originally from the UK and I grew up in Portsmouth in a Navy family. My parents reside in the South of England and my brother, an accomplished lawyer, lives in London. I am an ardent sports fan and very passionate about Rugby and Soccer with a growing love for American sports. I have run many marathons and trained competitively for running, rugby and soccer. I enjoy visiting micro-breweries when hiking.
Xeno: How has the lockdown changed your day-to-day routine?
Mark: To begin with, in March when the lockdown began, I worked from home like pretty much everyone who was deemed a non-essential worker. After a daily ‘groundhog-day’ routine for about a month, I began to come into the NYC office one or two days a week. Part of this was just to get out and part was because I can better focus in an office environment. After a month or so of this easing-in routine, I started to come in to the office every day, like normal. The subway (underground) is pretty much empty so my commute (20 minutes) makes social distancing pretty easy; the office is small with currently only one other person so the inherent health risks are minimal. As of now (September), my routine is pretty much ‘normal’.
Xeno: What aspect of the lockdown have you found hardest, either from a personal or professional perspective?
Mark: Professionally, it has not made a huge difference. Though in person interaction is preferred, we have been very fortunate to have been able to continue operating over emails and using the video conference tools available. This approach is working well as clients and partners are also working remotely. Personally, as a big sports fan I miss all the events that were cancelled over the summer and not being able to watch games in the bar with my friends – although this is possible now in New York City.
Xeno: Are there any tips that you would offer to colleagues and industry peers at this time?
Mark: Only that it may seem hard but once you get used to it, it is not as bad as some things our previous generations had to face (e.g. WW2). For people with families or children, it is a good way to spend more time with them as you are not commuting and in many cases they are at home for the same reasons you are. So other than driving each other mad, it’s prime time for some people so enjoy it while it lasts.
Xeno: What positives can you take from this experience?
Mark: I think many businesses have realized now that working from home is a real option for their staff, with savings on office space not being needed (for now). I think also many people have enjoyed the street dining experience over the summer, giving NYC a more ‘European’ feel that we have not seen before; indeed, many would like it to continue, even after Covid-19. The reduced traffic in NYC is also nice, but I suppose it was never really a problem for me as I don’t drive as part of my commute.