Telecommuting – A Working Dad’s Perspective
For the majority of my IT career, I’ve been very fortunate and grateful for the various technologies Cisco provides that allow me to effectively manage and juggle my professional and personal life. As a first time father to a beautiful and precious one-year-old girl, the flexibility to work anytime and anywhere is a tremendous benefit! While any parent with kids knows no day or week is really typical, I’d like to share with you a typical week in the life of how collaborative/mobile technologies helps me stay productive while also retaining some level of sanity.
A typical Monday morning starts out around 6:30 AM. I browse through some of my emails on my smartphone using Cisco AnyConnect VPN software. Going through my emails and calendar remotely on my phone helps me confirm things I plan on doing, as well as address any new priorities that may have popped up. I get dressed, gather my things and sneak downstairs to fix breakfast for my daughter. Right on schedule around 7:15-7:30, I hear her crying/jabbering so I head up and greet her with breakfast and a smile! After I get her changed and dressed, I head out (after kissing the wife of course) at about 8:00 to my daughter’s daycare on Cisco’s campus.
Typically I arrive at about 8:30 and this is where the workday really picks up for me. After dropping off my girl, I usually have meetings with colleagues from out of state/country. If it’s a simple discussion, I dial into my meeting using Cisco Jabber on my smartphone, while heading over to my primary location in another part of the campus. It it’s a more involved meeting, I hop over to an adjacent building next to my daughter’s daycare and find a spot to hang out for a while. I then use my laptop to login using WebEx meetings for audio, video, chat, and screen sharing. After my meeting/s, I can finally head back to my primary location where the rest of my team is located. This ranges from the 9:00-12:00 timeframe.
After some time in the office doing solitary work or collaborating with colleagues (made easier in the open workspace), I break for lunch and check in on my daughter at her daycare using Cisco’s video webcam. The ability to check in on my daughter virtually is an added benefit on top of having daycare located onsite. I liken it to visiting the zoo where we get to see the “little animals” come out to play and explore the world around them. I am able to focus on my work priorities, while still feeling like I am spending some “time” with her even though its one way during working hours. Lately she has been hanging out with another boy a little more than usual, so I may have to check in more often. 😀
The remaining half of my day from 1:00-5:30 usually consists of more meetings, solitary work, or collaboration with colleagues. Sometimes I’ll be discussing something of importance in the hallway, running around different parts of the campus for certain activities, or heading offsite to handle personal errands. Regardless of whether I am on or offsite, I am always connected and able to be informed, communicate with others, or complete tasks that need finishing. For the past 3 years, I have been heavily invested in the use of our enterprise collaboration platform (WebEx Social) which allows me to leverage the power of “social technology” to be even more productive, than just using traditional tools like email or separate file shares.
As my day winds down around 5:30, I head off to pick up my daughter. It’s been a long day for both of us (all that playing tires her out, can we switch dear?). At home we get to have some nice family time with her, before my wife and I put her down to sleep at about 8:00. Dinner, cleanup and preparation for the next day rounds out the evening. If I happen to have extra work that needs completing I login at home to finish things up, or use Jabber and WebEx to take some calls with folks in Asia using my tablet and smartphone when needed.
The freedom and flexibility to integrate my work and personal life, through the use of collaboration/mobile technologies that Cisco offers is not only empowering but many times a godsend! In a future blog entry, I’ll share how I managed a very atypical week where life decided to throw a bunch of curveballs at once.
Thanks for listening and please share your thoughts and stories!