By Christine Ely, Senior Consultant
I'm a full-time Senior Technology Consultant at Protiviti, I started as a Grad in the Sydney Office in 2018. I moved from Brisbane to work at Protiviti because the people felt very supportive and knowledgeable and I'm glad to say I wasn't wrong.
Consultants are generally very sociable people. We love to be out of the office, seeing clients, collaborating with our project teams in person and organising our social events. Unfortunately, a lot of this has gone out the window with the pandemic, however, in true consulting form, our team at Protiviti saw this as another challenge to take on together.
Protiviti has always encouraged flexibility as our projects will vary week by week, however, more than 18 months into a Pandemic everyone in the business has fully embraced remote working and flexibility.
I'm certainly not an exception to this. I often work with clients overseas, which means I may need to start my day earlier to account for time zones. Pre-pandemic I was always able to walk out of the office earlier to adjust my 7.5hr workday. Working remotely hasn't changed this for me and the rest of my project team. If we are all starting early, we agree to all switch off early and ensure we're not overdoing it. Now more than ever it’s important to look after ourselves and those around us – so make sure you’re having time away from screens!
Working remotely from home has allowed me to explore new positive work and life habits that have been beneficial to my workdays. Some of the things I have learned are:
- Having a morning routine helps set the tone for the rest of the day. I have friends who have full-blown morning rituals, but mine is quite simple and involves a good playlist while I make a strong large coffee, setting my standing desk to standing height to take my daily team meetings (although my optimism to stand in the morning usually ends around 9:30 AM) and checking my to-do list for the week.
- Exercise throughout the day helped me keep my sanity (when gyms were open!). I have a trainer who I see during my lunch breaks through the week (and the human interaction has been welcomed during restrictions!). I try to plan my daily calendar to allow me to step away from the computer during my breaks to get some movement in.
- Make sure to log off on time. When 5:30 PM is approaching I have a small routine I go through before I switch off for the day:
- One last check at my emails and messages
- Hit save 30 times on all my open documents (can never be too careful)
- Check off my to-do list and add anything new for tomorrow
Working full time during a pandemic has been a huge challenge for everyone. It has been a difficult journey to connect through a screen especially with our new team members. However, a key player in keeping a strong positive culture at Protiviti has been our Social Club events and initiatives. I'm part of The Scoop team (an internal newsletter created by our Social Club). Even with the Pandemic, we haven't slowed down on our professional editorial. We release every other week with content packed with banter, tips and tricks from our team members and the occasional meme. Having a consistent newsletter that goes out to the Sydney office has helped us stay connected as we all get a chance to contribute to each edition and it gives us great conversation starters for the following weeks! I'm currently working on a "Vibe Check" piece, you'll have to join us and read this edition yourself to find out the result!
We also stayed true to our monthly social events by getting creative and organising remote events! Our most recent events have been:
- Pizza dough making - facilitated by the fastest pizza chef in the world.
- Kokedama making - I'm still finding bits of dirt and moss in my apartment…
- Chocolate, Wine and Whisky tasting - Our chocolatier and wine / whisky connoisseur were so patient and enthusiastic for this event! The servings were so generous I still have some chocolate in the fridge!
Working from home has taught me a lot of valuable lessons and as a result, I have found my flexible working groove. Protiviti has committed to flexibility for their employee's long term which is something I look forward to integrating into my "new norm", however, as restrictions ease and we're able to go back to the office you'll certainly find me there to rope you into a drink or two after work!