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A day in the life of a remote working parent – Meet Marcia from Shield GEO

From the onset of Shield GEO, our founders have embraced a flexible, often remote, work model for themselves and early employees. As we’ve grown, this offering has remained a priority. This means we are afforded the freedom and flexibility to create our own work schedules around our productivity, other commitments and individual preferences. We also have location independence, meaning we can choose to work from home, one of our co-located offices, or a co-working space closer to our home.

For many in our team, this looks like more time at home with their families, more opportunity to fit in hobbies and exercise and generally enjoying a more balanced life.

Each month we profile one of our team to showcase how they’ve embraced this flexibility in their life. This month, we spoke with Marcia Polimis, one of our Account Managers

Meet Marcia 

Marcia and daughter, Violet

Marcia joined us as an Account Manager in February this year after her move to the country meant she was unable to return to her previous job post-maternity leave.

“It would have been a 2-hour commute for me to stay there,” she says. “Which I couldn’t do.”

The move to Leighton Buzzard was a significant change for Marcia, who grew up in West London surrounded by her big family.

“After having the baby, we decided that we wanted the change. There are a few more trees than what I’m used to from living in west London,” she says.

While Marcia wasn’t specifically looking for a remote position when it was time to return to work after her leave, it ended up being one of the deciding factors.

“Part of the reason why I took the role with Shield was because it had the opportunity of remote and flexible working,” she says.

Like a lot of the other working parents a part of the Shield team, the extra family time is a huge benefit to Marcia and her partner Stephen.

“I get to have time with Violet and watch her grow up, and she’s not in childcare every day of the week.”

While Violet still needs to be watched while Marcia and Stephen work – she attends childcare Monday’s and Wednesday’s and visits her grandmothers on Tuesday’s and Friday’s – it’s much shorter hours than if they had to commute.

Marcia’s daughter, Violet

“I got to see her walk, and I got to see her talk — which I wouldn’t have done if I was still in an office role,” Marcia says.

“if you’re in an office it’s easier for you to say, ‘I’ll just stay another hour,'” she says.

“But I think working remotely you have to shut off because you’re at home with a baby.”

It’s also important to her to model the kind of behaviours she wants to see in Violet as she grows up.

“I’ve started to notice Violet likes to join in. She’ll want to go on the computer and put the headset on and make calls, so I have to be mindful of the environment that she’s seeing,” she says.

“I don’t want her to think Mum and Dad are always stuck on the computer, so I need to make sure that it is shut down at a certain period.”

The flexibility to structure her day around Violet’s schedule helps a lot too.

“It does give me that chance that I can take her to doctors’ appointments or bits and pieces or just even have an extra hour or so with her,” Marcia says.

“She does swimming on a Thursday, and I can go watch her swim.”

This role is Marcia’s first fully remote and it took some time to adjust, particularly when combined with the other significant changes in her life like her move away from the city and becoming a new mum.

“It wasn’t difficult, but it was a big adjustment for me after taking a year off,” she says.

The training aspect, in particular, was a new experience.

“I think I came into the position in the account management team at the right time because there had been a couple of people before me, so there were manuals that were drawn up for new people to use,” she says.

“Kelly and I spent a week on Skype together doing everything. So, although that person wasn’t sitting next to you, they still were there.”

This contact, while not being physically present, is something Marcia has been extremely grateful for over her time working with Shield.

“I think it’s a good thing that we have our Skype group chats,” she says.

“There are all these people to reach out to, and everyone is ready to help you out if you need.”

Structuring your week to prioritise what you enjoy 

Marcia’s home office

Marcia’s partner, Stephen, also works from home, so they’ve had to be intentional about creating a routine that works for both of them.

“Because we both work from home, we have an office set up upstairs, and I also work from the dining table downstairs. On some occasions [we] will work together at the dining table or I’ll send him upstairs if he’s getting on my nerves or vice versa,” she says.

“We kind of make sure that we have our own interests [so that we’re not always in each other’s pockets.]”

Stephen plays golf, while Marcia enjoys horse riding.

“I used to volunteer with Riding for the Disabled, so I’m looking to see if I can do something similar where I live now,” she says.

“And again, [I’m only able to do that because of] working remotely. I’m looking to possibly fit in as an hour’s lunch break somewhere or make up the time later.”

Marcia’s Day in the Life

6:00 I normally wake up around this time or earlier most days
6:05 Hot lemon water and vitamins
6:30I begin work for the day by going through emails and making my daily task list. I’ll have a catch up call with my associate, Karla, who also helps with my administration tasks (which otherwise can take a big chunk of the morning!)
7:30 I have my first cup of tea and decide what to have for breakfast whilst putting on the first load of washing for the day….
8:00 If it’s a Wednesday, now is the first personal training session of the week
9:15 Violet is off to the Childminder so it’s either me or her dad that drops her. My tasks vary day to day, but much of the day is working on cases unless its Inputs or Invoicing week..
12:30 Now I break for lunch – which generally entails chicken and something.
13:30 Then I’ll continue with work and any arranged meetings I need to get ready for.
14:30 Another cup of tea is needed for a little caffeine fix – and a quick catch up with my partner Stephen over the kettle..
16:00 Time to collect Violet which is when I normally when we have our sing song on the way home in the car… I think she is glad the windows are closed
17:00  I generally try to finish up around this time so I can give Violet her tea and start winding down, we can have some time together doing puzzles, imaginary play with the dollies, generally whatever she fancies doing.
18:30 Bath time and bedtime for Violet with a story and cuddle before she finally goes down.
19:30 Time for some adult time.

As well as these hobbies, Marcia also has scheduled personal training sessions.

“Twice a week I have a personal training session in the mornings, so that’s a good break for me,” she says.

It helps her have time away from the house, as well as keeps her in a positive, motivated mindset.

“I sometimes think with working remotely you may not push yourself as much as you would in an office because you’re not surrounded by managers and directors, so it’s good for me to go out and have someone kick me up the backside as I like to call it,” Marcia says.

She also has a weekly visit to her Mum’s house, where she works every Tuesday.

“After I pick Violet up from the childminders on a Monday, I drive down to my Mum’s. So, my Mum gets to see her, and I also get somewhere else to work,” she says.

It coincides with the London team meetups which happen in our London office twice a month.

“That’s good as well — it does break it up,” she says.

“I know twice a month I’ll be going into London. Even though I hate the journey it makes you feel like an adult because you’re getting up in the morning, you’re getting on the train and you’re going into an office.”

Because of this routine, which incorporates a lot of variety, scheduled time away from the house and lots of family time, Marcia feels as though she can stay focussed and motivated.

“I don’t really struggle too much with [motivation],” she says. “I think everyone has their days and you can fall into that comfort zone knowing you’re at home already. But it’s often just better to take that time, whether it’s a half-hour or a bit more just to step away grab a tea than push yourself saying, ‘I’ve gotta stay on!'”

She aims to finish at the same time each day so that she can be present with Violet in the evenings.

“I try to finish around 5 pm, which is when she has her tea in the evening,” she says.

Usually, if she takes a few hours off during the day, she’ll try to start earlier in the morning to make up for it.

“The opportunities that Shield offer, it’s not just the flexibility in working remotely, it’s that you’re wellbeing is of their interest, it’s quite generous,” Marcia says.

“And it makes you actually want to give the time back.”

– Bree Caggiati | Dec 2019

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

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