It’s been almost a year since we switched to WFH mode. As 2020 went on, no one really knew what to expect, other than that we needed to adapt to the situation and circumstances. It called for a greater sense of empathy and flexibility.
Although a part of a collective, each of us has faced (and continues to face) challenges on a personal level. Some of them were overcome fairly quickly, some we still continue to face on a regular basis. Let’s hear from five Nordeans you had a chance to meet in Our Life at Nordeus: WFH Special video and see what WFH looks like from their perspective.
Bojana: It was a struggle, a real struggle. We were four fully independent teams at our home, each one of us had their own life, filled with their own activities, interests, space. Four teams in one home, and no coach. No one to explain to us how to play together, and use our space and time with a sense of togetherness and respect. They were playing their tiki-taka, and we were playing ours. Hopefully, we’ll play separately next year.
Ana: How were things back in March? Well… we had to retreat to our homes and switch to online mode. I had a slightly different experience since, while in Serbia, I lived on my own so the only question was which spot to pick to set up my digital office. I have to say that I am really fortunate to have my own room and privacy.
Dare: I worked from my daughter’s bedroom thinking this will not last so long that I needed to invest in my workspace. Once the online schooling started we were competing for space since I was using her pink chair. Let’s just say, she won.
Nikola: We also hijacked the kids’ room. We just needed a safe zone where we could set up a make-shift office. Our daughter was with us on a lot of meetings, but people did not see her because she was busy reading, drawing, and she was quiet.
Ana: The opportunity arose for me to go to Brazil and be with my family. It’s the longest time I’ve ever been outside of the country since I moved to Serbia. So I set up my workspace in the 15-year-old Ana’s room, and it’s exactly the same as I remember it.
Dave: I adapted fairly easy, but it had to do more with practical things such as two screens, IT support, that we were taking for granted before. But the company made sure we can get a hold of our workplace equipment (desk, chair, monitors, etc) so that was solved fairly quickly.
Dare: I hate cooking, I am horrible at it. The only thing I can make is bread. That’s the only thing I am enthusiastic about making when it comes to food. When Nordeus decided to do food delivery… that was a game-changer! Having food delivered cut 2 hours from mine and my wife’s day as it meant we didn’t have to worry about it and could focus on some other, more meaningful things for us such as spending time together as a family, or getting on with work.
Dave: Generally the support of the people has been great. Some of the initiatives that were introduced, such as Flexible Friday, really relieved pressure and stress. And then to have the leadership tell you that it’s ok, do what you need to do, put your family first – that really helped from a mental health perspective. There’s never any judgment around that, everybody’s embraced it throughout the whole company. That’s been a huge benefit.
Ana: This care for individual needs is a second nature now. I see it in everyone- we are aware and mindful about each other’s lives and particurities we are facing as a collective and individuals. It brought us closer than ever. If we have to move a meeting and change it for 20 people because of one person not being able to make it- we do it. It’s a no-brainer for us.
One of the highlights was being able to take 1 or 2 hours for myself during the day. Having support from my manager and teammates really meant a lot.
Nikola: Having the pressure removed by being told that it is okay to not be productive all the time has brought a huge sense of relief.
Dave: Twice a week, I meet with my friends online and we race on my racing simulator. We all connect- from the US, Brazil and Serbia, and race for 2, 3 hours every Tuesday, drink some beer, and spend time with friends. It’s like a therapy. What could possibly go wrong?
Darko: We switched to working online, which means that we can work online from anywhere. We started exploring Serbia more and being in nature. We got to know our home country better than we did in the past 35 years.
Ana: I am super lucky to be close to the beach where I am in Brazil so I like to spend my time there on my days off. Also, every day at the same time I go to my garden without any technology, phones, nothing, and just stare at the bright blue sky. My family already knows that these 30 minutes are dedicated to me-time so they do not disturb me. Spending time in nature has been a key for me during this period.
Bojana: Switching off is quite challenging with having kids around but we tried to organize activities as a group that we can all enjoy. During the summer days we would bring some snacks and play movies on the balcony. Sometimes we would all dance together. Even our neighbours got to join in on the fun from their balconies. (laughs)
Dare: It has changed a lot. I cannot just jump into the office and ask my team what they are working on. Everything is taking much more time than before. I miss being in contact with people from other disciplines. I would be in the office sitting with someone from marketing, for example, and during the 15-minute conversation we would come up with 3 or 4 ideas together. There is no online tool that can simulate these unofficial brainstorming sessions and chats, in the hallways, kitchen, etc.
Dave: Why do you get up in the morning? Well… because I am going to create this amazing thing today, or I am going to help somebody in this area, or mentor somebody else. The whole thing’s been watered down now. But we found a way to bridge this gap.
In our team, we meet every Friday and play different games, talk about stuff that is not work-related to try and keep those relationships growing. Join us!
Let’s hope we get to speak about WFH in the past tense. Really soon.