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A Day in the Life of a Remote Worker Chasing the Sun – Meet Sujah from ShieldGEO

At ShieldGEO we think the person that can determine the best work schedule for someone is the individual themselves. Not some arbitrary tradition of when the workday should start and end. That’s why we embrace and encourage a flexible approach to structuring work days. This means our team can choose where they work and the times that work best for their productivity and other commitments. As long as they can attend their required meetings and any client-facing calls we don’t mind when they complete their work.

Every month we’re profiling one of our team members to showcase the ways they’ve chosen to utilise this flexibility. For some, working from home fulltime works very well, others prefer co-working spaces near their homes or working from our Sydney or London office space. Similarly, the standard 9-5 hours work well for some of our team, for others, they prefer to break up their days around school runs or simply prefer starting and finishing earlier.

This month we’re profiling Sujah Abhilash, our Product Marketing Manager.

Meet Sujah 

Sujah and some of the Shield team on a weekend getaway

Sujah lives and works in Sydney, Australia. She’s been with Shield since 2015, our founding year, moving through various roles before transitioning into Product Marketing Manager earlier this year.

Creating a work schedule that works for the individual is a major benefit to a flexible approach. This, of course, means choosing the hours you’ll work and where you’ll work from. But, importantly, it also means being able to change your mind when it doesn’t work anymore.

 Sujah has cycled through a range of work setups during her time with Shield GEO experimenting to see what works best, for her. She’s worked both full time at our Sydney office and worked some days from home. Her current set up looks like three days in the office and two days from home.

“I think that’s a good balance for me right now,” she says.

There was a time when Sujah trialled working the bulk of her hours from the office and then finished up a few hours at home each night to avoid commuting during the peak hours.

“It just felt very routine getting on a packed train and then standing with everyone else,” she says. “It doesn’t put you in a great mood.”

The switch changed how she experienced her days which had an immediate effect on her work as well as her overall happiness.

“When I was going home earlier, I was going home at the time when everyone was still in the office and that put me in a different state of mind. I felt like I was kind of on a holiday,” she says.

“It was something I really looked forward to.”

This experience and Sujah’s natural productivity flow has encouraged her to change up her standard working hours too. Going from the 9am – 5pm to 8:30am – 4:30pm and now 7:30am – 3:30pm so she can make it back home, in Bondi Beach, in time for the sunset.

“I feel like my whole day is decided by the sun,” she says with a laugh.

 “In the morning is when I get most things done. After that, I get a bit restless. I kind of want to get out in the sun and do stuff.”

So, instead of resisting this, Sujah has designed her day around these natural tendencies. Instead of forcing herself to go into deep work mode after lunch, she schedules her meetings and one-on-one’s with her team so she can get up from her desk and walk around.

“Sometimes when we have meetings we go for a walk or move from our office to another office,” she says. “I think it makes a big difference to me to just get out.”

Having only a few hours left of the day after lunch helps too.

“I think this has been the best [schedule] for me especially having just moved [to Bondi Beach],” Sujah says.

“I’m up at 5:30/6 and people are jogging on the streets and they are walking their dogs and things like that. I feel like the pace of life is a little bit slower. It’s really nice.”

And she still gets to skip the regular commuter hours too.

“When I catch the bus to the city, I actually have to walk down to the beach so I always start the morning down there. It makes the commute nicer.”

On her day’s working from home, Sujah allows herself a bit more flexibility around the structure of the day. Choosing to spend extra time making a healthy breakfast or enjoying a slower start.

“I don’t know why but I just really enjoy the process of making breakfast. Especially if it’s a really healthy, good breakfast. It’s just a nice start to the day,” she says.

Stella and May also live around Bondi and they’ve taken the opportunity to work together from Sujah’s home since she’s made the move.

“Stella lives a four-minute walk from me which is really convenient. We’ve actually had lunch together twice already so that’s been nice.”

 But this isn’t to say Sujah doesn’t enjoy working from the office.

 “I really like being in the office. I like going in I like talking to everyone. It’s something I enjoy, but I also feel like having them around also helps my productivity,” she says.

“I think any more than two days [working from home] might be a bit much for me because I only live with one other person at home. So just being home all day alone might get to me.”

A Day in the Life 

6:30 I’m usually up around 6.30 in the morning. I pull up the blinds and lie in bed for another ten minutes enjoying the warm morning sun light streaming in. I also like starting my mornings with some music.
6:45 This is a habit I’m trying to break but I usually get on my phone to check my messages, work email, Slack. If there’s something important I tend to jump up and start working on my laptop immediately but often I just pin them for later.
7:00 I wash up and get ready for work.
7:30 I go through my emails, respond to Slack threads, check our website traffic, social media platforms and read enquiries that came in from the day before.
8:30 Time for breakfast. Now that it’s summer, I’m in a yoghurt bowl phase. I cut up some fresh fruit and usually have a bit too much fun jazzing up my breakfast bowl. This is one of my favourite parts of the day and I also spend way too much time trying to get more things to add to my morning breakfast bowls.  
9:00 Twice a week, I have a meeting with our Journalist, Bree. She’s based in Canada so the morning meeting usually works out well for both of us!
9:30 Mornings are when I’m most productive. My day to day tasks are very different. I’m usually tinkering on the website to help improve leads, or coming up with content ideas for our customers or managing a few new marketing projects. 
13:00 I usually have leftovers over Netflix for lunch. Currently watching Patriot Act, Chefs Table. I tend to do the laundry during my lunch break too. Sometimes I take a longer break and do a grocery run.
14:30 I prefer working on reports or reading new articles written by Bree when working from home. Being in my space alone, gives me a better opportunity to reflect and concentrate a little better.
17:00 I wrap up work and sometimes I go for a walk along the beach. If it’s a warm sunny day I usually spend some time on the beach – often with a scoop of Tiramisu ice cream.
18:00 If I’m not heading out, I usually put an assortment of items from the fridge together for dinner. I’m in a cheese phase at the moment so I’ve been having cheese almost every day for a while now as an after-dinner snack.
21:30 I have a shower and get ready for bed.

The extra benefits of flexibility 

Sujah’s daily view on the way down to the bus

For the most part, Sujah has utilised the flexibility to create a life that includes all the things she loves to do. She priorities work during productive times and makes time for being outside near the beach in the afternoons.

But she also utilises the opportunity to travel regularly to her home country Singapore.   

“I go back to Singapore at least twice a year – in the middle of the year and always for Christmas,” she says.

“The fact that I can go home and not have to take leave is such a benefit.”

Like many people who have to travel to see family, having to take leave for these trips would mean not being able to take other vacations throughout the year. It also means Sujah can be strategic around travelling at Christmas time.

“Flying at Christmas is really really expensive so I think if I were in a traditional job where I couldn’t work from home. Just to go back for Christmas I would be forking out so much,” she says.

“But now because I have the ability to work from home, I can actually fly back a few weeks before Christmas when flights are a little bit cheaper.”

This year, Sujah is spending about 5 weeks in Singapore over the Christmas period and will work from her parent’s home or a local co-working space.

“I think just having this option is really useful.”

– Bree Caggiati, November 2019

Want to know more about Sujah? Visit her profile on the Our Team page!

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