How I’m Managing Life and Work in 2020: I’m Looking on the Bright Side!

Working from home
Life has changed unimaginably in the past couple of months, and most Australians – regardless of whether we’re 24 or 74 – have never experienced anything like it.

Last month, HorizonOne moved to a 100% remote set up and it’s basically been business as usual ever since.

But while there has definitely been a huge sense of comradery and team spirit, each of us has had to adjust to remote-working life in our own way. So we thought we’d share some of our stories of transition, because we’re all in this together and sometimes it helps to know others are going through what you’re going through!

For me, the initial set up for remote work was a little bumpy. I needed to equip my new “home office”, aka the second bedroom of our 2 bedroom apartment, with all the hardware I was used to using – laptop, double screens, chair, and so on.

But we were lucky to be able to take equipment from the office, so since then I have to say I’m quite enjoying it…

We went from 1 day a week together, to 7

My husband and I have been together for almost 20 years, and have lived in the same apartment for 17 years.

He’s a retired firefighter, and is used to enjoying numerous rounds of golf each week and following his own routine. I’m used to working fairly long hours most days, and we generally do our own thing on Saturday and spend Sunday together.

Now we spend every. single. day. together.

At first, it was quite a challenge! We had to learn to respect each other’s space and come up with a routine. But having done that, I have to say it’s been really nice.

Spotify and headphones are my new best friends, and we’re finding new ways to spend time together and have time to ourselves.

My daily routine

Because I don’t have to commute, I find I can get up half an hour later and still get in a walk around the lake before I sit down to work.

The workday is similar to what it was before, and we’ve been extremely busy. It’s campaign time for the next 4 or 5 months, so RFQs are coming in thick and fast. There’s certainly plenty of work on the horizon, and we’re already working on several graduate campaigns while managing bookings for scribes who are now mostly scribing remotely.

We’re also finding our clients want us to take on more tasks, such as shortlisting applications and scheduling interviews. It makes life easier for them because of the systems we have set up. Where we may have done 30% of this type of work before, we’re doing around 75% of it now.

In our team, systems and processes are essential, so it’s fantastic that we’ve got it all down pat. We catch up at least twice a week by video conferencing, and daily by email and phone.

We also had a new person join our team right at the time of the shutdown, so we’ve been inducting her remotely which has been interesting but she’s been doing so well and settled in as part of the team quite easily.

Looking on the bright side

I was disappointed to have to cancel a holiday to the arctic we had planned this year. But I can spend my time dreaming about the day we get to go, and in the meantime focus on a few renovations around the apartment!

Although I miss the office environment, I like to look on the bright side by enjoying the extra flexibility I have because of remote working.

Usually I don’t get to do a second walk when daylight savings ends, because it’s too dark when I finish work. Now I’m able to stop work just after 5pm, go clear my head and get some fresh air, and then come back and finish up.

I also love cooking, so it’s great to be able to put on dinner at a reasonable time and have it sizzling away while I’m working. I can even have a pot of soup on the stove all day if I want to, which is great. Definitely beats whipping up something late in the evening.

My 2 cents…

As I tell my team, it’s ideal if you can stick to your work routine as much as possible – but don’t sit at your desk for 8 hours straight.

You need to be sensible, because you would never do that in the office. You would get up, walk around, talk to people, get a coffee, take a lunch break, and so on. So try to add some things you enjoy doing at home to your daily work routine.

Also, turn off your computer when work is done. In the early days, I’d leave it on until all hours and answer emails well into the night. Now, I turn it off and turn my attention to my home life.