Life (and work) in the time of Corona
Less than two months after starting his job at Citihub, Senior Consultant Luis Carrazana, together with the rest of New York, was ordered to stay at home because of the Covid19 pandemic. In this interview, we talk to him about his career move and how he’s balancing a typical locked down day between work and family life.
One of the two major considerations Luis had when he was looking for a new role was the ability to have a proportionate amount of time to spend with his young family outside of work. “Having a family makes you value time and teaches you to be more productive and efficient at work,” Luis shares. “From day one, Citihub has lived up to its promise of work-life balance for its employees as they were very patient and accommodating during my on-boarding process when I had to delay it due to a family emergency that required unplanned international travel.”
His second major consideration was a firm’s stability. He wanted to join an established and inclusive workplace that had a reputable track record of quality work and clients. “Citihub ticked this concern and finding out about their professionalism, the calibre of the projects they have, and their tight community of like-minded colleagues sealed the deal for me,” Luis quips.
In this coronavirus world, what is a typical workday like?
I try to keep a routine that allows me to flip a switch between home and work mode. In the morning, I do the same things as I did before the lockdown: drink espresso, listen to the latest news briefing on podcast, shave, get dressed (top tip: never stay in PJ’s as there is a known psychological effect that leads to decrease in productivity).
I have a dedicated area for my home office, so going there means turning the work mode switch on. I have come to an arrangement with my little girls – “even though daddy is at home and it looks like he is just sitting in front of the computer, he needs to be able to focus.” I have visual indicators to let my family know I am in a meeting so they don’t disturb me. Admittedly, I’ve had my fair share of videobombing moments like the time when I had to stop a meeting with a colleague to listen to my daughter’s new project idea.
How has parenting changed for you during this pandemic?
This is definitely a difficult time for anyone, especially for parents. Fear has added to the inevitable stress of family life. However, my wife and I focus on staying positive and being patient with each other. On a lighter note, spending more time with my daughters allowed me to learn new things about them. Learnings that would’ve taken a much longer time if I didn’t spend the last four months with them 24 x 7.
What are the advantages of working from home?
There are definitely a lot of advantages to an extended work-from-home period. Cutting commute time has to be at the top! Being able to wrap up the day and go play with my daughters while it is still daylight is fantastic! With more time, I am able to push some of the house projects over the finish line; such as a big declutter exercise, a renewed driveway, and improvements to my home office.
Do you have any tips to share with other parents around dealing with full-time home-working while having young children?
Enjoy your time with the kids! One of the hardest realities of modern life is how much time we spend away from family. On a typical weekday, I spend 12 – 14 hours a day away and by the time I get home, it’s almost my children’s bedtime. Now, I share breakfast, lunch and dinner with my family.
Parents need to be patient and consistent about doing schoolwork with their kids. With the availability of technology, there is no reason for them to stop learning. However, I do acknowledge the fact that this requires structure and dedication. Also, we shouldn’t be too strict about school hours. We ought to be flexible and learn the optimal time and setup for our children to get things done.
What lessons have you learned from this experience?
I’d like to refer to a post from Scott Hanselman: Quarantine work is not Remote work. In this short article, the author articulated what many of us around the world have been feeling and struggled to explain. This is what resonated with me:
- How lucky I feel for being able to work not only from home, but literally from anywhere. This is not new to me as I’ve been doing it for many years. I have worked from Starbucks cafes, from the airports, on planes, on trains, and even from a hospital while waiting for test results.
- It is okay to feel that this is not normal. The flexibility of remote work is empowering, however, working while quarantined is not because the choice doesn’t exist.
- How much I appreciate the front-line workers who don’t have the luxury to work from home (my brother is one of them).
- How hard it is to ensure children continue to get educated and motivated. Kudos to the great teachers and school personnel.
Like the rest of the Citihub team, Luis continues to keep safe and carry on.
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