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A Day in the Life of a Remote Worker Returning Home Due to Overseas Travel Bans – Meet Jake from Shield GEO

In our ongoing day in the life series, each month we’ve profiled one of our team members to showcase how they structure their days, where they choose to work from, and how a flexible approach to work improves their work-life balance. 

Since widespread lockdowns and shelter in place initiatives have come into effect, we’ve heard how these routines have changed what breaks and time off look like in the new normal. There’s obviously new challenges but also surprising silver linings. 

This month, we’re profiling Jake Sedlacek, our Project Analyst as he shelters in place with his parents in Chicago. 

Meet Jake 

Jake started with Shield in September 2018 in the Global Mobility Associate role before switching over to Project Analyst partway through last year. 

Jake at the top of La Piedra del Penol in Guatape, Columbia

He’s currently isolating with his parents in his family home in Naperville, Chicago. This came after he was forced to end his trip to Columbia short as the world’s borders began shutting down.

“Up until the day I left, every restaurant was packed, and people were going out every night, you would have no idea,” he says. 

“I followed this Facebook page for ex-pats travelling in Columbia, and every hour someone would post hey my flight on Wednesday was cancelled. People kept on posting, so I looked into it, and the government didn’t post anything, the airport didn’t say anything, but essentially all flights were going to be shut down the following week.”

He booked a flight and flew out the same day.

Jake has planned a year of travel beginning in Columbia. His lease in his apartment was ending, and he decided not to renew it.

“I moved all my stuff from Iowa, two days later got on a flight to Columbia, assumed I’d be there, and then came back two weeks later with no apartment.”

He’s now been in Chicago for about a month.

“The last time I lived at home was before college,” he says. 

“It feels like I have to learn to work remotely for a second time just because I’m not in my ideal situation.” 

Though it’s taken some adjustment, he’s taken the opportunity to really decide on a routine that works for him. 

“Over the last three weeks, I’ve finally got a schedule that I actually really like,” he says. 

Initially, especially during his two weeks in quarantine, he was sleeping in later. 

Jake’s home office

“I was like, ‘why am I starting so early if I’m just going to be staying inside all day?’ So, I started later and then my days started getting longer, and I’d be less productive because I do work better in the morning,” he says. 

He worked out that waking up around seven and beginning work straight away was still his ideal scenario, despite not having to go anywhere after work. 

“Getting myself back into a real schedule rather than, ‘oh well I’m in quarantine so I can work all day and it doesn’t matter’ was super helpful because I’m so much happier now,” Jake says. “I finish by 3:30, and I have a full day to do things instead of sleeping in and wasting a lot of time.”

He’s even structured what kinds of tasks he works on at specific times. 

“I try to get a lot of little things done early on that I know are going to bother me all day if I don’t do them,” Jake says. 

“It makes me feel really productive because I’m checking a lot of things off, but then I can also take a break, eat lunch, maybe work out or go on a run and then get back to it.”

For the second half of the day, Jake likes to focus on one thing. 

“Without the distractions, I can be so much more productive.”

A Day in the Life of Jake Working from Home

7:15Wake up and take Hank for a morning walk while listening to a podcast
7:30Start working with checking emails/Slack/Notion and plan out my day
8:00Work on clearing out any admin work/ smaller tasks for the day. I like to start off with some wins because it helps me stay motivated and productive
11:00Stop for lunch. I usually eat while watching a show (currently Shark Tank + Brooklyn Nine-Nine), take Hank for a walk, and then read a book for a few minutes
11:45Start working again, I usually try to start my bigger project for the day now
3:00Start to wind down from my current project. If I’m still feeling productive, I’ll keep working on it later, but I try to get to a good stopping point around now
3:20A quick review of what I’ve gotten done, send any follow-ups on pending items and map out what I’ll do tomorrow
3:30Done with work unless I have any late calls. I’ll get a workout in (run/yoga/HIIT) and then take Hank for a longer walk
4:30Relax for a bit, listen to a podcast, play with Hank, read for a bit
5:00Dinner
5:30Work on a nonprofit I’m starting with my friends, and then hang out and talk/ play games/ etc (which actually made quarantine a fairly easy transition)
10:00Start to wind down. I’ll try and be off of my computer/ group call by now depending on the day, and start reading or play with Hank for a bit
10:30Read for a bit and go to bed

Staying home means more time with family, friends and his non-profit

Jake says he’s pretty lucky where he lives as he hasn’t been too affected by the world’s response to COVID-19. 

“We’re in a suburb of Chicago called Naperville so it’s not packed like it would be in the inner city,” he says. 

Jake’s cute dog, Hank

“I can go outside whenever I want within reason. I can go for a walk, and I won’t walk next to anyone.”

This means he’s able to go on walks with his dog or go on runs which is something that helps him break up his days.

“The biggest thing you’ll notice is just the stores, like anywhere, you have to wear a mask now, and all the restaurants are closed,” he says. 

“I definitely miss the gym. But I’ve got it pretty easy compared to a lot of people, and it is fun to be with family because I’m not really back that often except for holidays.”

He says socially, things haven’t changed too much either. His friends have always moved around a lot, and they’ve always stayed in touch virtually. 

“Really since high school, we’ve all been in different locations except for holidays when we’re all back and when we all do trips to see each other,” he says. 

“We still talk almost 4 hours a day, and hang out as if we are all home anyway and we’ve done that for years.”

They use a voice chat app so they can all be on a call together while they watch movies, play video games and hang out. More recently, since the lockdown was put in place, they’ve been working on building a nonprofit together.

“Since we all do different things we essentially have a full team and the ability to build the business from the ground up just within our friend group,” Jake says. “So, we can do it completely free, and it’s a fun thing to experience together.” 

Jake did a minor in college on nonprofit management and has done some work with nonprofits in the past. 

“I’ve always planned to have one even when I was younger,” Jake says of the venture. 

“I’ve been pretty fortunate in my life, and I think it’s important that I put some effort into making sure others can have those same advantages too.”

The idea is to build a platform that can quickly provide extra funding for schools and teachers who need it. 

“Teachers can have access to a portal where they can submit really simple requests outlining here’s what we need, here’s what we need it for and here’s how many students will be impacted, here’s what it will cost.” 

It will then be approved by a group of retired teachers in the area, and then the donations will go directly to the schools in need. 

“People are going to give money, and it’s going to help people within a few days rather than a few months,” Jake says. 

Future road trip buddy

 They’ve already done state filings, are set to have the website in place within the next few months, and then need federal filing before they can start fundraising. 

“Really it is the one upside of all this is we have the time to do all of this and really make sure we’re doing everything right before the next school year starts,” Jake says. 

He’s also planning to start travelling again soon, this time within the US.

“I’m heading to South Carolina, Kentucky and then Virginia. But I’ll be driving because I’ll have my dog.”

He’ll be sticking to remote, low populated areas and avoid any unnecessary interaction with people. 

“I’m planning on seeing some friends but not for the next two months at least — these next two months are going to be a little more solo travel with my dog,” he says.

“It’s not the travel I planned on, but it’s not really a downside because it’s still a cool experience either way.” 

– Bree Caggiati, May 2020

Want to know more about Jake? Visit his profile on Our Team page!

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