Have questions? Ask us!

A Day in the Life of Our Finance Manager, Meet Wee Yen from Shield GEO

As a global employment organisation, we’re big advocates for remote work. We think hiring internationally has a string of benefits for employers and employees alike and we love that we get to be a part of connecting people all over the world.

However, we don’t think flexibility in employment has to be reserved for international hires. We extend flexible conditions to all our employees, even those who live in Sydney and London (where our company offices are located). Offering flexibility around hours and location makes a huge difference in the work-life balance of our staff which is something we’re super passionate about.

To showcase how flexibility is working for our team, we’re profiling a different employee each month. This series shows the different ways this lifestyle can work for different needs, from working parents to young travellers. 

Meet Wee Yen

Wee Yen with her family in Vietnam

Our head of finance, Wee Yen, lives in Sydney with her husband and two children. She works from home 2-3 days a week, depending on her weekly schedule. The remaining days she works from our Sydney office alongside our co-founder Tim and some of our other team members.

For Wee Yen, this set up provides the best of both worlds – all the social aspects of working alongside your team with the flexibility and saved time of working from home.

“When I’m in the office I can catch up with the team and even though I don’t talk too much, I like being in the presence of people while I’m working,” she says.

“But having that flexibility means I can juggle my own family too – I’ve got two kids, so there’s always things to do. When I’m at home I can catch up on some housework.”

It’s this flexibility in hours that Wee Yen finds the biggest help in managing her work-life balance.

“Thursday nights I have a leadership call so it works well that on that day I break up my time during the day,” she says.

“I pick up my kids at 3:30 and I just spend time with them, doing the cooking, showering and then log back in at 7:30 after putting them to bed.”

Without a time-consuming commute, Wee Yen finds she’s able to fit in more into her days.

“I make sure my appointments and kid’s appointments are on home days,” she says “because I can always make up the time.”

Wee Yen with her husband and 2 children at the snow

While many offices will allow working from home days, Wee Yen says that dedicated policy around remote work makes a huge difference in the experience.

“It means there is more emphasis on remote work and more support.”

To Wee Yen, remote work isn’t a gimmick to attract talent, but a long-term solution to juggling the various needs of a busy life.

Providing equipment that goes beyond the standard laptop, allowances for working vacations as well as intentional efforts to connect remote teams like our daily ‘watercooler’ calls have all helped Wee Yen feel supported and connected while working remotely.

“The support is definitely there to make staff feel comfortable remote working,” she says. 

It’s even informed how she manages her team, who all work remotely.

“Regular check ins help,” she says. “And not just checking in to ask, ‘have you done this?’ but sometimes – how was your day?”

Wee Yen’s Day in the life

6:30 At 6:30, I wake up, shower, get the kids ready, have breakfast breakfast, and drop them at school/daycare
8:30 Sometimes I’ll start slightly earlier/ later depending on the kids.
To start my work day, I check my emails, dashboards, slack threads, and workspace post-it notes. No one week is the same but it’s fairly consistent
10:00 Now I have a tea break. If I’m working from home, I’ll hang out the laundry.
10:00During this time, I prep for the days calls. 3 times a week I have calls with the Termination and SME teams. Sometimes these an go for more than 40 minutes.
Afterwards, I’ll wrap up any work that needs to be actioned following the calls. Then, I Skype with Finance team.
12:30 When I’m working form home, I tend to have lunch at my home work space, or else will head out for a warm meal.
13:30 We have a daily Asia Pacific call that anyone can jump onto for some water-cooler conversation. I like to join it whenever I can, especially if I’m working from home. It’s great to catch up with the team.
14:00 I have a few weekly afternoon calls. This might be the weekly Finance team call or a weekly catch up and update on Finance with Shield GEO co-founder, Tim.

Generally:
Week 1: Invoicing, PAYG, payroll tax compliance
Week 2: Invoicing wrap up, cases
Week 3: Catch up 1on1’s, internal payroll; cases
Week 4: Month end, training and development, projects, strategy time
16:30Now it’s time to pick up kids! Then water the garden, cook dinner, have a family dinner, read bedtime stories with kids, and put the kids to bed
20:00We have a weekly call with the leadership team once a week in the evening. Otherwise, I’ll wrap up any leftover work for the day, but I make an effort to keep working at this time to minimum as my mind is not as productive!
Then it’s time to switch off anything work-related – I make sure everything cut-off by 10pm.

Tips on how to incorporate remote work into your schedule

Although Wee Yen only works from home part of the time, she says it still took some intentional effort to get right.

She finds having a dedicated space for work helpful for productivity.

“I’m lucky I’ve got a space where I can section myself off and I don’t use that space except for work.”

But even those without a dedicated office can create these boundaries in other ways.

“Work in a room that you can close the door at the end of the day,” she says. Even if that’s your bedroom or spare room. If you do work in a shared space, consider putting your things away at the end of the day in another room for a similar effect.

Routine is also incredibly important for productivity. As a mother of two, Wee Yen already has a pretty strict routine, but found that simply setting ‘work hours’ wasn’t always enough.

“At [the office] you have your colleagues around you and you tend to work more — because of that group mentality. But if you’re at home and no one’s at home with you, there is temptation to not do any work,” she says.

Wee Yen lists all her daily tasks and tries to set small goals throughout the day.

“My meetings are usually set so I try to complete certain tasks before them.”

But Wee Yen is also aware that things don’t always go to plan.

“We can’t be too hard on ourselves!” She says.

“If you can’t complete certain things, communicate. Talk to your boss, talk to your staff, or even to yourself – ask yourself is it important?”

When you’re working remotely, it’s not always easy to tell why someone isn’t getting through their tasks – because you can’t physically see them.

“No one can see what you’re going through, so speak up. Use your Skype, use your Slack channel, talk to someone,” Wee Yen encourages.

“Don’t sit there thinking you have to get through it alone.”

– Bree Caggiati, Sept 2019

Related Articles

Join 5000+ employers managing overseas employees

Subscribe for tips on hiring and managing international workers!