Ancaster's Aaron Gerrard sees lessons from working from home

News Apr 13, 2020 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

The novel coronavirus has forced enjoyable social activities and vital in-person interactions to the sidelines to be replaced with walls, windows and new technology.

Aaron Gerrard, pastor of Ancaster Village Church, is no different than thousands of others muddling through how best to connect with people in a time of consternation and fear.

“It has been different,” said Gerrard, who has been getting used to Zoom, and other video-conferencing technology during his work day. “I’m trying to figure it out, much like everybody else. Life has been hectic.”

Gerrard who has been pastor of Ancaster Village Church for over a decade, which meets at the Old Parish Hall at St. John’s Anglican Church, has also been deeply involved in the local community, chairing Heritage Days and a Village Christmas events.

He uses technology to speak to his church community, broadcasting services from the parish hall. He says up to 25 people take part.

“It is still something important, necessary and beautiful,” said Gerrard.

But he also is juggling his work and community responsibilities while at home, at the same time his wife and three children, ages 12, 10 and six years old, are at home. Since schools have been closed, and the province has introduced home schooling, the children need to have their own place and a screen to learn.

When school isn’t in session, there is a heavy dose of fun and games, including what Gerrard calls a car scavenger hunt.

“Every day is a new activity,” he says. “We are trying to make it as challenging as possible for the children.  “This is a good time to be creative.

“We are doing the best we can, as we all are,” he added. “There are limitations, but we are keeping everybody safe.”

Clare Kumar, a Toronto-based organizer and productivity expert, says it’s essential that a person working from home communicates with his or her spouse or partner on how to integrate family needs and work requirements.

“Structure is your friend,” she said. “You need to co-create your new environment with your family, infants, children.”

Kumar also emphasizes that people should take care of their mental health as well as their physical well-being while working from home. Using a screen and being isolated can take a toll on a person.

Kumar, who works from home, uses mediation, yoga and stretching to relieve tension and any anxiety.

“Listen to your body and mind and what it means,” she said.

Ryerson professor Michael Halinski of the Ted Rodgers School of Management says it is important to keep boundaries between different aspects of your life.

He says when roles merge or the boundaries become intertwined, inefficiencies can increase, leading to an unhealthy work-life balance. He suggests establishing “markers” such as having a shower, putting on work attire, making coffee and then sitting down at your workspace to begin the day.

“Really committing to those boundaries over time is key to making it all work,” said Halinski.

Despite the improved technology, talking to a person on a screen is just not the same – nor as productive – as in-person interaction, said Gerrard.

The forced isolation because of the pandemic has also given Gerrard time to think about what the health crisis is doing to society.

For instance, people are using Zoom, or other video links more often, just staring at one another, in a sense “craving” company and a personal link, he said.

Gerrard considers himself lucky. He can still escape his home when he goes to the parish hall for a service.

But the pandemic has exposed existing inequalities in society. For instance, he was able to pick up a new iPad for his children to use for their school. Other families, including those bearing the economic brunt of the pandemic, are unable to make that purchase.

Gerrard is in constant contact with Melanie Barlow, executive director of Ancaster Community Services, to see what can be done to help those individuals that find themselves in difficult circumstances.

He said there are lessons to be learned from this forced social experiment on how to be better and more forgiving individuals and willing to help the unfortunate.

“It’s an existential situation,” he said. “We have found that as humans we have a serious need for companionship. That we really need to care for one another I really hope that is something we learn after the (pandemic) is over.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: With more and more workplaces adapting to the new realities of working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic, we reached out to some local professionals for tips and insight.

Ancaster Village Church pastor Aaron Gerrard adapts to technology to still connect with community

Home workplaces have benefits #stayathome

News Apr 13, 2020 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

The novel coronavirus has forced enjoyable social activities and vital in-person interactions to the sidelines to be replaced with walls, windows and new technology.

Aaron Gerrard, pastor of Ancaster Village Church, is no different than thousands of others muddling through how best to connect with people in a time of consternation and fear.

“It has been different,” said Gerrard, who has been getting used to Zoom, and other video-conferencing technology during his work day. “I’m trying to figure it out, much like everybody else. Life has been hectic.”

Gerrard who has been pastor of Ancaster Village Church for over a decade, which meets at the Old Parish Hall at St. John’s Anglican Church, has also been deeply involved in the local community, chairing Heritage Days and a Village Christmas events.

He uses technology to speak to his church community, broadcasting services from the parish hall. He says up to 25 people take part.

“It is still something important, necessary and beautiful,” said Gerrard.

But he also is juggling his work and community responsibilities while at home, at the same time his wife and three children, ages 12, 10 and six years old, are at home. Since schools have been closed, and the province has introduced home schooling, the children need to have their own place and a screen to learn.

When school isn’t in session, there is a heavy dose of fun and games, including what Gerrard calls a car scavenger hunt.

“Every day is a new activity,” he says. “We are trying to make it as challenging as possible for the children.  “This is a good time to be creative.

“We are doing the best we can, as we all are,” he added. “There are limitations, but we are keeping everybody safe.”

Clare Kumar, a Toronto-based organizer and productivity expert, says it’s essential that a person working from home communicates with his or her spouse or partner on how to integrate family needs and work requirements.

“Structure is your friend,” she said. “You need to co-create your new environment with your family, infants, children.”

Kumar also emphasizes that people should take care of their mental health as well as their physical well-being while working from home. Using a screen and being isolated can take a toll on a person.

Kumar, who works from home, uses mediation, yoga and stretching to relieve tension and any anxiety.

“Listen to your body and mind and what it means,” she said.

Ryerson professor Michael Halinski of the Ted Rodgers School of Management says it is important to keep boundaries between different aspects of your life.

He says when roles merge or the boundaries become intertwined, inefficiencies can increase, leading to an unhealthy work-life balance. He suggests establishing “markers” such as having a shower, putting on work attire, making coffee and then sitting down at your workspace to begin the day.

“Really committing to those boundaries over time is key to making it all work,” said Halinski.

Despite the improved technology, talking to a person on a screen is just not the same – nor as productive – as in-person interaction, said Gerrard.

The forced isolation because of the pandemic has also given Gerrard time to think about what the health crisis is doing to society.

For instance, people are using Zoom, or other video links more often, just staring at one another, in a sense “craving” company and a personal link, he said.

Gerrard considers himself lucky. He can still escape his home when he goes to the parish hall for a service.

But the pandemic has exposed existing inequalities in society. For instance, he was able to pick up a new iPad for his children to use for their school. Other families, including those bearing the economic brunt of the pandemic, are unable to make that purchase.

Gerrard is in constant contact with Melanie Barlow, executive director of Ancaster Community Services, to see what can be done to help those individuals that find themselves in difficult circumstances.

He said there are lessons to be learned from this forced social experiment on how to be better and more forgiving individuals and willing to help the unfortunate.

“It’s an existential situation,” he said. “We have found that as humans we have a serious need for companionship. That we really need to care for one another I really hope that is something we learn after the (pandemic) is over.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: With more and more workplaces adapting to the new realities of working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic, we reached out to some local professionals for tips and insight.

Ancaster Village Church pastor Aaron Gerrard adapts to technology to still connect with community

Home workplaces have benefits #stayathome

News Apr 13, 2020 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

The novel coronavirus has forced enjoyable social activities and vital in-person interactions to the sidelines to be replaced with walls, windows and new technology.

Aaron Gerrard, pastor of Ancaster Village Church, is no different than thousands of others muddling through how best to connect with people in a time of consternation and fear.

“It has been different,” said Gerrard, who has been getting used to Zoom, and other video-conferencing technology during his work day. “I’m trying to figure it out, much like everybody else. Life has been hectic.”

Gerrard who has been pastor of Ancaster Village Church for over a decade, which meets at the Old Parish Hall at St. John’s Anglican Church, has also been deeply involved in the local community, chairing Heritage Days and a Village Christmas events.

He uses technology to speak to his church community, broadcasting services from the parish hall. He says up to 25 people take part.

“It is still something important, necessary and beautiful,” said Gerrard.

But he also is juggling his work and community responsibilities while at home, at the same time his wife and three children, ages 12, 10 and six years old, are at home. Since schools have been closed, and the province has introduced home schooling, the children need to have their own place and a screen to learn.

When school isn’t in session, there is a heavy dose of fun and games, including what Gerrard calls a car scavenger hunt.

“Every day is a new activity,” he says. “We are trying to make it as challenging as possible for the children.  “This is a good time to be creative.

“We are doing the best we can, as we all are,” he added. “There are limitations, but we are keeping everybody safe.”

Clare Kumar, a Toronto-based organizer and productivity expert, says it’s essential that a person working from home communicates with his or her spouse or partner on how to integrate family needs and work requirements.

“Structure is your friend,” she said. “You need to co-create your new environment with your family, infants, children.”

Kumar also emphasizes that people should take care of their mental health as well as their physical well-being while working from home. Using a screen and being isolated can take a toll on a person.

Kumar, who works from home, uses mediation, yoga and stretching to relieve tension and any anxiety.

“Listen to your body and mind and what it means,” she said.

Ryerson professor Michael Halinski of the Ted Rodgers School of Management says it is important to keep boundaries between different aspects of your life.

He says when roles merge or the boundaries become intertwined, inefficiencies can increase, leading to an unhealthy work-life balance. He suggests establishing “markers” such as having a shower, putting on work attire, making coffee and then sitting down at your workspace to begin the day.

“Really committing to those boundaries over time is key to making it all work,” said Halinski.

Despite the improved technology, talking to a person on a screen is just not the same – nor as productive – as in-person interaction, said Gerrard.

The forced isolation because of the pandemic has also given Gerrard time to think about what the health crisis is doing to society.

For instance, people are using Zoom, or other video links more often, just staring at one another, in a sense “craving” company and a personal link, he said.

Gerrard considers himself lucky. He can still escape his home when he goes to the parish hall for a service.

But the pandemic has exposed existing inequalities in society. For instance, he was able to pick up a new iPad for his children to use for their school. Other families, including those bearing the economic brunt of the pandemic, are unable to make that purchase.

Gerrard is in constant contact with Melanie Barlow, executive director of Ancaster Community Services, to see what can be done to help those individuals that find themselves in difficult circumstances.

He said there are lessons to be learned from this forced social experiment on how to be better and more forgiving individuals and willing to help the unfortunate.

“It’s an existential situation,” he said. “We have found that as humans we have a serious need for companionship. That we really need to care for one another I really hope that is something we learn after the (pandemic) is over.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: With more and more workplaces adapting to the new realities of working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic, we reached out to some local professionals for tips and insight.