The pandemic changed everything! Pre 2020, SmartSpot was working 20% remotely and 80% in the office. Now, 60% of our employees work either fully remote or mainly from home.
The first lockdown helped people realize what they wanted in terms of how to balance their professional and personal lives, and most importantly, how they want to live a fulfilling life.
We are a team that believes in a world where technology works for the people and offers support for a better life — Rareș Mureșan, SmartSpot CEO
SmartSpot has adapted and now offers employees the opportunity to choose. We have three main categories of employees in our company:
Today we will follow an interesting conversation between two of our colleagues that have chosen two different types of work, Andrei and Anca.
But first, let’s find out more about them.
Anca Neghiu has been working in SmartSpot since 2017. She started as a Technical Support Engineer and from the second half of 2020, transitioned towards the Business Development Department. For over a year now, she has been working fully remote.
Andrei Groza joined SmartSpot in 2017 as well. First, as an HR & Management specialist, that helped us understand the importance of structure and organizational culture. Evolving, he is now SmartSpot’s Chief Strategy Officer, making sure, together with our CEO, to keep up to date with industry requirements. His current approach to working is hybrid. On most occasions, you can find him in the office.
Now, let’s discover their experience. We will start with Anca
Anca: “Working from home has been a personal decision that I made more than a year ago as I felt it was the time for a change. The idea popped into my head in early November 2020. At that point, we had been under restrictions for eight months, and it was starting to affect us. I realized that nature and easy access to outdoor activities was important to me.
I needed it to disconnect. Raising the topic to my colleagues and to the company’s management took some time. They were supportive, and right before Christmas 2020 I moved. I am located now in a small village 300 km away from our headquarters. It’s been a year since the move and I can say it works. Distance is irrelevant when you have the necessary tools at hand.”
Andrei: “How do you manage to balance your professional life and personal life? Do you feel pressured in any way? And here I refer to the pressure of always performing, always being connected. It is difficult to draw the line of where does the personal life stand and where does the professional. “
Anca: “At first, I have to admit that it was challenging to draw a line between my professional and personal life. And I must say that in fact, I have never learned to draw that line. I am constantly taking advantage of the opportunities both have to offer and trying to make them work together as much as I can. So that imaginary line is there and it’s bendable, sometimes in favor of the personal and sometimes in favor of the professional. I guess we can call that balance.
I’m working on using my time efficiently so that at the end of the day I can say that I’m happy with what I’ve managed to achieve. It is a dynamic process, there is no exact formula for me, but constant work and flexibility.
The pressure point I felt was when I entered the business development field. It was completely new, and I did not know how it would affect my time. It took me a while to get used to the idea of always being active as I’ve discovered this is what works best for me in this domain now.
What matters the most to me is to feel at peace when the day is over.”
Andrei: “What I’ve found challenging is exactly this balance. I have two young daughters so when I am at home, I want to dedicate as much time as possible to my family. Being able to arrange my schedule to fit both my professional and personal life has been amazing. The pandemic showed us that you no longer need a 9 to 18 approach to work to be productive. You can be flexible with your schedule to cater to your every need.
I enjoy coming to the office, having the space designed to perform my day-to-day activities, and especially being able to interact with our colleagues. And then have family time as work-free as possible.”
Anca: “I must say that socializing and meeting with our colleagues has been one of the things I miss most. However, since I have moved, they have been a great support.”
Andrei: “And still, how do you turn off work mode? It’s an important aspect for me and one of the biggest struggles that people mention about working from home. In the early days of the lockdown, I remember people saying that they always ended up working overtime, somehow always being inside made them lose track of time. Regaining that and being aware of it, setting boundaries has been an important lesson for most.”
Anca: “Joining the business development department changed that for me. It was a new field and I had to learn a lot about it, especially how to find my own way of navigating it. I am still learning.
But it was then that I realized I cannot stay truly disconnected from work. It is a field where building relationships with people is key, and when you realize that not all of those connections are in the same time zone as you some adjustments occur. Timing is important in growing and evolving these business relationships so this has made me increase the time spent outside business hours. Still, I am the one who is handling it that way and that is one of the reasons I enjoy it. I have a sense of control over my time. Deciding this has been fundamental in keeping myself motivated at times and moving forward. These decisions are for my journey on this career path.”
Andrei: “Are you as productive as you were when working in the office?”
Anca: “I think most people encounter differences in the levels of productivity regardless of where they work. That was my experience even before working from home was an option. Now, being aware that I have chosen to work from home I definitely think about productivity more. I noticed that some days I have higher productivity levels than others. The overall feeling is that leaving the office has not impacted it. I am accountable for that and have a close relationship with my direct team-leader that helps me maintain it. We can talk sincerely about it and if need be, adjust it on the way.”
Andrei: “Are you doing anything differently in terms of work discipline? processes?”
Anca: “Definitely, I had to put some processes in place. I think everyone remembers the first months of lockdown, when sometimes when your bed became your desk, or you could just wake up five minutes before starting to work. I find now that some routine helps, so my tips and tricks for a successful and productive remote office would be this:
• wake up at least 30 mins before my work day, have breakfast, and coffee as I would normally do when I was in the office
• go through my emails each morning, through every communication channel like Slack or WhatsApp groups related to work
• some of my colleagues work through the weekend as well, so at the beginning of each week I’ll make sure to be up to date with that as well
• take a lunch break around 12–1 in a different place than my office corner from home
• never stay in bed while working or better said try not to mix personal space with office space. I am very fortunate to be able to accommodate that, even if sometimes office space is right in the middle of the garden.
• put my phone in Zen mode whenever I start working on an important task
• always try to join the calls with my camera on so the interaction would be as close as it can be to a real one
• plan my tasks for the upcoming week, specifically on days as much as possible.”
Andrei: “Sounds like a really thought-out plan. Still, there must have been struggles on the way. What would you say the biggest struggle you faced was or maybe still is?”
Anca: “It still is. I miss my colleagues. I was used to seeing and interacting with them on a daily basis. We still see each other in daily video calls. But being social through video calls is very different from face-to-face interaction. However, to beat this, I try to visit them monthly. It feels like a monthly team building exercise. We take the opportunity to have important meetings face to face and then spend time together outside the office.”
Andrei: “I can tell from the way you talk that you are happy with the decision.”
Anca: “Overall, I think going completely remote has been a great decision. Things have not always been easy. With the support of my colleagues and the company’s management, I have been able to accomplish it. I am grateful for the opportunity.”
Andrei: “So, it’s safe to say that in SmartSpot you can pretty much work either from the office, either hybrid, or completely remote. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and looking forward to seeing you in the office when you want to visit.”
We hope you enjoyed reading this article and that it was useful for you. We will be more than glad if you want to share with us your experience about the way you work. What do you prefer: full-remote, full-office or hybrid?
Also, you can always find more about us. Visit our website https://www.smartspotservices.com/ or follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.