Sarah’s flex work story
Before coronavirus, Sarah was working a compressed working week where she felt like she was fitting five days into four and constantly answering emails on her non-work days. Sarah discusses how working from home during coronavirus has helped her set clearer boundaries and become more present with her family.
“[Working from home] is possible in my current business. I am happier and just as productive but feel I have firmer boundaries...”
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm a senior marketer with almost two decades of financial services experience. I manage 4 direct reports in a team of 10 – in an extremely fast-paced and sometimes stressful environment. More importantly, I'm a mother of 1, wife and optimistic about fitting fitness into my schedule on a regular basis.
Have you had any experience working from home or in flexible work arrangements prior to COVID-19?
Yes. I was working 4 days per week – transitioning from 3 when I started at my current workplace. I was essentially working 5 days in 4 and frequently on calls and answering emails on my 'day off'.
How has working from home during COVID-19 compared to your expectations?
I've loved it – having physical distance away from intense personalities has allowed me to focus and prioritise. It's also been calming for the home environment with us not having to rush around, with frequent pre-covid early morning meetings and late nights away from home.
What are the benefits you've experienced in working from home?
The ability to be present and spend more time with my son and husband.
Less stressed – ability to work at my own pace.
Sleeping more without having to commute or spend late nights in the office.
What’s been your biggest distraction or challenge working from home, and how have you overcome it?
The multiple forms of communication – Slack, Zoom, Email, WhatsApp, Messenger – so many different ways to communicate... Not sure I have overcome it.... still trying.
How has your experience changed your thinking on working from home?
It is possible in my current business. I am happier and just as productive but feel I have firmer boundaries...
How has this experience changed the way you will work moving forward?
Yes – I’ve already requested set days from home and adjusted start finish times to prioritise family.
What does your at home workspace look like?
In an office, MacBook and desktop ... It is separate and spacious with light and plants. I'm very fortunate to have the space.
Have your working relationships changed or grown in working virtually with each other? If so how (i.e. benefits, challenges, improvements)?
One thing I have found to be a challenge is maintaining spontaneous conversation and 'off-topic' chats. Most conversations are deliberate or focussed so missing the banter at times. A real benefit is being able to take time with reviewing and reading material rather than feeling physical pressure.
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)
Morning walk, breakfast, emails and morning check in with the team. Day is usually filled with Zoom meetings - I have been able to book solid 'Focus' time and stick to it - amazing!