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A Day in the Life of a Remote Worker – Meet Svetlana from Shield GEO

At Shield GEO, we’re very passionate about remote working. Much of our business is about helping businesses employ international workers efficiently and compliantly.

But we’re not just passionate about remote work for our clients — we love it internally too. Most of our employees work remotely and for those who do work in our offices in Australia and the UK, many work from home at least once a week.

Our employees also set their own work hours and have the opportunity to make up time away from their desks when it is convenient to them.

We actively (and financially) support workations (travelling while working) which enable many of our employees to spend time away visiting or travelling with their families.

To highlight the many ways remote work ‘works’ for our employees, we’re sharing their stories and showcasing what a healthy work-life balance means for them.

Meet Svetlana

Svetlana is the head of our Implementation team. She handles onboarding and terminations for our clients.

Svetlana has been with Shield for a year and a half and during that time has changed roles a fair amount.  

“It’s been quite a journey,” she says. “I’ve loved it. I’ve got to know different parts of the company and worked with different people which is quite fun.”

Svetlana is originally from Russia but spent 13 years in Germany where she completed her Masters and began her first job in global mobility for one of the largest international accounting and professional services firms. She’s lived in Australia for the last three years.

Svetlana’s 1-year anniversary at Shield

When Svetlana first started with Shield, the opportunity to work remotely was a key factor for her. She wanted to live in Melbourne where her mum lives, rather than Sydney where our offices are.

“[I thought] I would go to Sydney for four to six months to get familiar with the company and the work and then I would go back to Melbourne to work from home and be with my family,” she says.

Instead, she fell in love with Sydney.

“When I came to Sydney and started working here, I changed my mind,” Svetlana says.

“Sydney is my city — I love it here! I love being in the office. I like people around me. I like the weather. I like the lifestyle.”

She began her work fulltime in the Sydney office before recently starting to split her time between the office and home.

“I recently moved in together with my boyfriend, and he has a bigger apartment, so I have my own space there, [where] I can set up my home office.”

The biggest perk of working from home for Svetlana? Efficiency.

“Working from home has the advantage of [getting] your work done quicker. You [just] get more things done,” she says.

“In the office, we go on lunch breaks, and I chat more with my colleagues, so let’s say I can’t afford to take that many breaks.”

In comparison, working from home allows her to work through her task list distraction-free which gives her a bit more flexibility to the day.

At home, Svetlana will start earlier – because there’s no need to commute – and finds she has more opportunity to take breaks throughout the day.

Often around 3 or 4 pm when American clients have finished for the day and European ones are yet to start.

“I can get some washing done and then get back and work during the later hours.”

She’ll also use the extra time to exercise from home – something she wasn’t able to do when she worked full time in the office.

Svetlana’s Dad visiting from Germany!

“For me, this is the best thing – having this flexibility when you work from home.”

This flexibility has come in handy for Svetlana who has family all over the world. When her father visited from Germany last year, Svetlana was able to have a flexible schedule during his trip.

“I worked from home every day, and Tim [Burgess, co-founder of ShieldGEO]’s attitude was like, ‘I want you to make sure that the work that you have to do is done and make sure you don’t miss the meetings, but for the rest, I don’t care in terms of working hours.’”

She ended up working early mornings and evenings to make time during the day for activities with her Dad.

“It definitely makes me feel like I need to make sure [my work] is done but I can determine when.”

Svetlana says being trusted with flexible working conditions carries through the rest of her work as well.

“This trust really means a lot to me,” she says “I do feel less stressed.”

A day in the life of Svetlana

7:30 I wake up (I like to sleep in 😊)
8:00 Shower and light breakfast with coffee (oatmeal with berries is my go to brekkie)
8:30 I start work a little earlier when I work from home. I start setting my priorities for the day and sort the e-mails that came overnight
10:00 I am going to the kitchen to have a cup of green tea
10:00 Completing my daily onboarding updates
13:00 Lunch at home – I like to keep it simple – canned tuna and some crackers is enough.
13:30 Working on my emails and continue with the onboarding tasks for the day
14:00 The local partners in Asia come online so I try to resolve as many outstanding questions with them as possible
  Tea with a piece of dark chocolate, my favorite 😊
  15:00 I take a break to do some washing and get in a quick at-home workout
17:30 We have our first invoicing catchup with the Finance team or I have a team meeting with Implementation
18:00 Europe clients and local partners come online and this is my chance to resolve urgent onboarding questions before I finish for the day
18:30 Enjoy dinner when my boyfriend gets home. I often go for a walk after dinner when I work from home as I haven’t had a chance to get outside during the day
19:00 Watch TV and plan for the next day

Tips for remote work

While Svetlana loves the flexibility and efficiency of working from home, she does admit it can be quite lonely at times. Her advice is not to restrict yourself to one way or the other.

“For me personally, I need both,” she says. 

“I need to see the people I work with [and] I need Skype communication to stay in touch with everyone and have an emotional connection,” she says of her time in the office.

“But on the other hand, I’m very German in my style of work,” Svetlana says. Working from home allows her to get through her task list without any distractions, which she loves.

It’s the combination of working from home and the office that helps Svetlana to strike the right balance for her.

– Bree Caggiati, Feb 2019

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

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