Sam’s flex work story
Sam has always been interested in working from home but until recently has worked in traditional, less flexible environments. Now, as coronavirus shifts opinions on flexible working, Sam shares his experience and how he expects to work from home at least 2 days a week, if not more, post-coronavirus.
"I always thought working from home was a good idea, however, my management and colleagues were old school and wanted face-to-face. This has cemented my opinion about the benefits of working from home."
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a former lawyer, now working in Melbourne as a Commercial Manager for an IT organisation. I help manage our large contracts with organisations across AU and NZ. I have responsibility for training and enabling our sales and delivery teams across the region, as well as working on a range of other projects across the group.
Have you had any experience working from home or in flexible work arrangement/s prior to COVID-19?
Yes. For the last 5 years I have been able to work from home. However, this was limited to approximately 1 day a month. I was in the habit of working in the office and my managers and colleagues liked to see me physically in the office.
How has working from home during COVID-19 compared to your expectations?
It has been a massive adjustment. Due to COVID-19, both my wife and I have been working from home. We have both been working 12 hour days and on weekends. Our 2 children have been going to childcare when possible but when they are at home it is almost impossible to be productive. When the kids are at childcare, we both spend over 7 hours on conference calls a day. We then need to spend hours actually 'doing the work', which includes emails, reviewing or drafting documents or presentations or other follow up activities. It has been much more full on working from home than we expected. Very stressful.
What are the benefits you've experienced in working from home?
The benefits are no commute time. More flexible hours of working. People were understanding of distractions and personal reasons for not finishing something on time. Able to spend more time with the kids.
What’s been your biggest distraction or challenge, and how have you overcome it?
Kids. The times when our kids (18 months and 4 years old) were at home, it was almost impossible to be productive. My wife and I took shifts looking after the kids and working. Mostly, we overcame it by working after they went to bed at night.
How has your experience changed your thinking on working from home?
I always thought working from home was a good idea, however, my management and colleagues were old school and wanted face-to-face. This has cemented my opinion about the benefits of working from home.
How has this experience changed the way you will work moving forward?
I will be working from home more often in the future (as long as the kids aren't there!). I can be more productive with no commute time and more flexible working hours. Prior to COVID-19, I worked at home once a month. After COVID-19, I expect to work from home at least 2 days a week - if not more.
What does your at home workspace look like?
My dining table now has 2 large monitors, keyboard and printer. This is permanently set up to plug in my laptop. Luckily, we have a large table in our kitchen for family meals.
Have your working relationships changed or grown in working virtually with each other? If so how (i.e. benefits, challenges, improvements)?
Yes, I now have a much more personal relationship with my colleagues. I understand their family situations, challenges and drivers. I would say this has allowed us to become more closely aligned and help each other work as a team to achieve goals.
What’s your working from home ritual? (i.e. your morning routine, something that helps you feel in the zone or you enjoy now you’re not in the office)
I drop the kids at childcare and grab a takeaway coffee. When I come back, I officially log on for the day. I try not to look at emails before this time, so it feels like an official start to the working day.