The unprecedented global lockdown created by the coronavirus pandemic required people to adjust to many new situations, not the least of which was the move to a work-from-home environment. For many, that created new challenges — such as learning how to manage work responsibilities when surrounded by family or even to master new technology to communicate with colleagues.
Each person created their own work-at-home ecosystem (with various degrees of success), and the Chattanooga Times decided to bring remote workforces together by sharing their photos of their new workspaces.
The campaign was designed to not only bring people together, but to generate some much-needed revenue during a time when ad sales were plummeting. The newspaper sought sponsorship from Unum Group, a worldwide disability insurance company based in Chattanooga, to create the contest. Unum had already encouraged the 2,800 employees who work at their headquarters to do their work remotely and was able to share tips for people who were struggling to maintain a sense of normalcy in their new work environment.
The contest asked readers to share their photos of working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, with the winner receiving a “Work From Home Bundle” that included food, flowers, and original art delivered to their home.
Readers responded with a wide array of photos, from those who had created makeshift desks out of cardboard boxes to more stylish and sophisticated high-tech configurations. Also popular were pictures of furry and feathered co-workers which included dogs, cats, chickens, and even a pig.
The photo contest not only helped drive online engagement and generate stories for the newspaper’s business magazine, Edge, but it also received high praise from those who participated.
“My wife and I enjoyed the contest and seeing the different photos of other work from home ‘coworkers’ and workspaces,” one reader wrote. “Some were so interesting (including Kitty Mitty) that we looked forward to possibly finding out more about each … . Thanks again for the contest. It truly made us feel even more that all of us are ‘in this together’ and made these difficult times more endurable.”