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A Day in the Life of a Remote Working Parent – Meet Katrina from Shield GEO

Setting up a culture of flexible work is extremely important to us. Of the 26 people Shield GEO employs, 17 work remotely full time and many of the nine who work in the offices (London and Sydney) work from home at least once a week.

Further flexible work opportunities include allowing all employees to set their own work hours, encouraging our employees to take a workcation (a time of travelling while maintaining full-time work), as well as making up time away from the desk another time.

As long as meetings and deadlines are met, employees can work from anywhere in the world during the schedule that works best for them.

We believe that remote work will continue to play a large part in the workforce moving forward.

To highlight how remote work can help employees achieve a healthy work-life balance, we’re sharing the stories of some of our employees to discover how remote work works for them.

Meet Katrina

Katrina is an account manager with Shield GEO which means she is a point of contact for GEO employees and clients from all over the world. She fields any questions and works with the finance team to run payroll and invoicing between clients and local partners.

Katrina, with her daughter Olivia.

Katrina, lives with her daughter and husband about an hour and a half outside of London, UK.

She’s a coffee fiend and has up to five or six cups a day to keep her energised and motivated.

Katrina’s been with us since June 2018 when her childhood friend Kelly Dowsett who is also an account manager with Shield told her about an opening in the company.

“I wasn’t actually looking for a new job,” Katrina says.  “But I thought, ‘if I can get what [Kelly’s] got with [her] son, with my daughter Olivia that’d be great!”

The flexibility of remote work attracted Katrina to the role as she saw how it was working for Kelly and her family — completely different to Katrina’s previous situation.

Olivia

Katrina first went back to work at her previous company when Olivia was 6 months old. She worked four days a week in London, an hour and a half commute from her home.

“You make it work because you have to,” she says “But it was so tiring [and] I wasn’t spending any quality time with [Olivia].”

The travel to and from the city also put extra pressure on child care.

“I’m lucky enough to have family look after [Olivia] when I’m at work,” Katrina says

“But it was a lot of pressure to be there earlier and leave later on the days I was in the office.”

Katrina also found she had to really fight to have a four-day week and to take one day from home. She didn’t feel supported or understood by her employers.

“[When you have a small child], you just want to spend as much time with them as possible.”

Katrina’s Day in the life

Now, Katrina’s days look vastly different. She sets her schedule around Olivia’s timetable and ensures she has plenty of time with her at the beginning and end of the day. She’s also able to make time to work alongside Kelly from home which adds a social aspect to working alone.

“Now, Olivia wakes up, and I get to have an hour and a half with her in the morning where I get to feed her, get her dressed, play with her, and then she goes off with my mum.”

Olivia will also spend about an hour in the afternoon with Katrina as she’s finishing up her workday.

“She’s back here by 3:30 or 4 o’ clock and I have so much time with her in the afternoon.”

Katrina’s Work Buddy at her Home Office

Remote work allows Katrina to spend more time with her family. Without the long commute to and from the city and the flexibility to have Olivia at home for some of the working day, Katrina gets quality time with her daughter daily, not just on weekends.

“I love the fact that I get to give her breakfast,” she says.  “Even if it does go all wrong and the food goes everywhere it’s still fun.”

6:30 Wake up and spend about half an hour to myself while drinking a large cup of coffee
7:00 My husband and daughter wake up and its full-on mum mode!
  Explain to Olivia why Wheetabix are better for breakfast than a carrot cake bar, and dance around with her while we count down with the microwave to zero. Then get her ready for the day – she spends the days with my mum or sister-in-law while I work.
7:30 Starting work. First up I go through emails and go over my to-do list for the day “I’m a chronic list taker!”
 8 ish Morning chat with the Essex Massive (our Skype group) normally one of us is moaning about the weather or lack of sleep due to our children.  This conversation continues throughout the day.
 8:30 Coffee and something uninteresting for breakfast like toast or crumpets.
9:00 Skype chat with Moni (Associate) to go through all the jobs for the day.
9:15 Continue with the jobs for the day
11:00 More coffee and the daily struggle to resist the biscuit tin, tidy the kitchen while waiting for the kettle to boil.
Lunch On Thursday’s Kelly and I will work together and we will go out for lunch often a cheeky Nandos.
13:00 Another coffee to start the afternoon on a high
14:00 US team come on line so we generally have the morning all chat on our team skype chat.
15:00  Start calling USA clients as they are getting to work.  Europe and Asia clients are called in the morning.  The joy of working with different time zone.
 16:00 Olivia comes home and the toy box is tipped out all over the living room.  If I’m on a video call with any of the team she has to be part of it, not that she talks or anything, she just likes to know what’s going on.
16:30  Refill the coffee cup, finish off any emails while Olivia plays with the noisiest toys she can find before I finish for the day
17:00 Head to the park with Olivia – she loves the slide and swings
 18:30 Get dinner sorted for when the husband gets home and a quick tidy of the house (whatever is on the list/schedule for that day)
 19:00 Play time for Dad and Olivia before bath time and bed for Olivia and I start to get her stuff ready for the next day.

Tips for working from home as a parent

While Katrina does recommend remote work ‘to anyone,’ she does admit the kind of work culture matters.

“Working from home can be lonely, especially as a new parent.”

Katrina says things like the constant Skype chat between workmates, working with Kelly once a week and heading into the UK office to catch up once a month all help.

“Although we all work remotely, we can still have that social side of being in an office which is so nice.”

by Bree Caggiati – Jan 2019

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