Working From Home. So Far, So Much Learned.
Hello all! I'm Nicole Fitzpatrick, Deputy General Counsel at Akamai. I also sit on the D&I Executive Steering Committee. Normally I'd be in our Cambridge office about now, but like so many of us I am working from home and writing this surrounded by four kids, the dog and my husband (not written in particular order of importance, by the way).
Since we're all dealing with this new world of working, I thought I'd share some things I personally have learned so far. Here we go.
- I miss the office, badly. For many folks on our team WFH is their day-to-day reality, but it's new for me. There's an amazing social component to office life at Akamai, and as a huge "E" (extrovert) I miss that a lot. At the moment, I'm living for the beginning of our WebEx calls when we catch up on what has been happening in each of our lives. Keep it coming - your extrovert colleagues need you!
- Sadly, there is no good video angle. It has taken me a while to get comfortable with video calls. To begin with, I tried propping my laptop on books, sitting on the floor, sitting in sunlight, hanging out in front of the fire, and even hiding in a closet (that one was by necessity). Thankfully I have now exhausted all possible options and just focus on making sure I can hear and be heard!
- I have found a new sense of global connectedness. In our calls I love glimpsing into everyone's homes: hearing dogs, seeing kitchens, checking out books on shelves, meeting folks' children. I feel more connected to the global team than ever before and believe this new sense of connectedness will continue when we are back in our "old lives". For this, I am truly grateful.
- I'm a morning person. Sort of. It's not something I'd have ever described myself in the past. But with my kids, dog and husband all around - I need to take advantage of the quiet times. So I find myself most productive in the early mornings - before the chaos of the day begins.
- Schedules are a good thing. Speaking of chaos, for the first few weeks of us all being at home, I would (kindly) analogize our home to the Wild Wild West. The kids now have virtual school with a built-in schedule for each of them. And that's a good thing, for all of us!
- We're always minutes away from something unexpected. One moment a state governor issues an order and we quickly need to understand the impact to Akamai; in the next, my five-year old has dumped all of our sugar in the plants to see if they will grow (a trick she learned on YouTube Kids). It's fair to say I am learning to be more nimble!
- The news is distracting. I get pulled into the news easily. So now just catch up at a set time of day. Hat tip to my colleague in Spain for that one!
- There's truth in many old adages. Like the one about old dogs and new tricks... Just like I may never be able to get my mom to text ("Why would I want to type a note to you if I can just call?"), I will never be a cook. Luckily for me, my husband likes cooking and my girls are surprisingly resourceful.
- Any exercise will do. Be it a walk with the dog or a class through an exercise app, incorporating some daily exercise in my routine is critical, both to my physical and mental well-being.
- Everyone has their own outlet. As I mentioned, for me it's exercise (and chatting). For my girls, it's hours spent making TikTok dance videos; for my husband, it's playing Fortnite. I used to call video-making and video game-playing a 'waste of time.' Now I see them for what they are: ways others use to connect, destress or escape.
So that's what I've found working from home. What about you? I'd love to hear your thoughts.