In their own words, Minnesota workers reflect on how COVID changed their careers

Employees tripped up by COVID-19 workplaces adjust.

Picture of workers sharing experiences

COVID-19 upended people’s work lives. For some, it meant unemployment; for others, safety gear to work in factories or stores. The effects, good and bad, have lingered. The pace of emergency care has not waned. The intensity of interactions between students and teachers has increased. Life went on, and with it, promotions, new factories and greater appreciation on the job. Here, workers from all walks of life talk about how the pandemic changed their jobs.

Picture of Keith Lambert

Keith Lambert, president of pollution control equipment firm Oxidizers Inc.

Keith Lambert, 53, Barrington, Ill., president of pollution control and equipment servicing company Oxidizers Inc., which does business with Minnesota-based Cargill Inc. and Donaldson Cos.

“When COVID hit, the airlines shut down, but we got letters from the Department of Defense that said, ‘You have to continue your services with government installations.’ No one was flying anymore and hotels no longer had staff and you couldn’t get towels. So we got RVs. We knew we had to address our employees’ comfort and concerns. This way, with an RV, they could isolate and drive and still travel. It was a little strange, but I kid you not, some of our customers and some of our people really got it. And the incidences of our people who got COVID were drastically reduced because they could isolate. I believe in business you have to constantly pivot. Sometimes you just have to pivot your business model. We actually grew during COVID because many companies that were in the same spot that we were in just stopped servicing. But we said we are not not coming out and not doing service. Eventually, the RVs went away. Some of our people tired of it. Now people feel a lot more comfortable jumping on airplanes again.”

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