How I’m Managing Life and Work in 2020: It’s Getting Better!

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 remotely like it (pun intended).

It’s been an interesting adjustment for us here at HorizonOne; not without challenges, but definitely with a huge sense of comradery and team spirit. Many of our clients have also made the transition to remote working, and we continue to support them with innovative marketing, screening and interviewing practices.

On the frontline, everyone in our team has faced their own unique challenges along the 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 someone else is going through what you’re going through!

For me, the move to remote working has been a bit of a rollercoaster. I think the last line in my new signature file says it all…

“P.S. My co-workers in my work from home office are 2 loud children (6 & 3) & one supportive wife if you hear screams during our call.”

My first week of remote working

Before HorizonOne moved to a completely remote set up, I spent a few days at home testing our tech systems. This turned out to be really useful, because it allowed everyone in the team to make a smoother transition.

I found the first official week of remote working really hard though. In the first few days especially, I felt like I was failing as an employee, a partner, and a parent.

Normally you wear a work hat for 8 hours, and then come home and wear a partner and Dad hat. I’ve never had to try and wear 3 hats at the same time, so it was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.

It’s getting better

In recent weeks, things have become a lot better.

I realised that I need to get certain tasks done in a day, but with a 6 and 3 year old at home I will be interrupted…and that’s OK. When I do have the opportunity to focus, I try to maximise it and be super productive.

My daughter has also started online schooling, so we’ve settled into a routine each morning. This includes setting her up for online sessions, planning my meetings and phone calls for the day, and walking around the backyard during our 9am team stand up call so I can get some fresh air and exercise at the same time.

I think realising that everyone is in the same boat as I am makes it easier. This is a new situation for most people and it wasn’t voluntary, so we’re all coping with it the best we can.

People are taking calls and meetings from their backyard, their bedrooms, and even while sitting in their car. We’re all doing what we can to make it work.

Recruitment never sleeps

Despite everyone scrambling to get remote working set up, our clients are still recruiting – particularly in the public sector.

We’ve seen a huge influx of new positions, because government need to deliver essential services during this difficult time. There’s also been a shift in the supply-demand curve for candidates, so we’re focused on being really proactive – speaking to our high performers to find out what they want, and then seeking it out rather than waiting for RFQs.

I’m running recruitment interviews virtually, and helping clients do the same to manage their hiring and onboarding processes.

My biggest challenge

Because everything is happening at home, there’s a real temptation to work at all hours. So I’ve had to accept that sometimes work time will be interrupted by kids, and family time will be interrupted by work.

At a certain point though, you need to put your phone away and be present with your family – especially on weekends.

My favourite highlights

Every morning and afternoon I’m getting 30 minutes of solid family time because I don’t have to commute. And I was able to see my daughter ride her bike for the first time without training wheels, which was huge for me.

I’ve also noticed the kids are cuddling up to me more after work hours, because I’m able to be there for them during the day.

My 2 cents…

My advice to others in this surreal time is to set realistic expectations – with your partner, your kids and yourself.

At first, none of us knew what to expect so it was all a bit of a mess. Now, my partner and I understand what we expect of each other. And even though the kids are young they are starting to understand that when I am sitting in my work chair, I am working.

Generally, I have very high expectations of myself, so when I couldn’t do everything perfectly in the beginning I found it very hard. Now I’m learning what a new type of perfect looks like, and have set different expectations for myself to achieve it in an imperfect situation.

We’re all going to make mistakes. But don’t beat yourself up – just try and get into a good routine that works for you and your family and do the best you can.