AdNews launched the WFH Diaries, in the depths of the pandemic lockdowns, to chronicle the move to working from home.
Now, with agencies returning to the office, we focus on the people who found new ways of working. Meet those who've switched their general physical workplace, including the tree-changers and sea-changers, and those who spend time both in the office and at home.
Tanya Suna, Director, People and Culture APAC at impact.com
Where have you moved from/to?
We moved from North Bondi to Byron Bay in June 2020.
When I discussed the relocation with our APAC Managing Director, Adam Furness, he was 100% supportive from the start. Our family’s decision was made during lockdown but even before then, the global impact.com leadership team has always encouraged us to structure our days so that we can do our best work. Their support is unwavering and given my role as Director of People and Culture for APAC is to ensure that support is felt throughout our business in APAC - it seemed like the ideal opportunity to walk the talk and lead by example.
Impact.com has a hybrid work environment which means we still have offices around the world,but no mandate on how often employees are in the office. Like most companies, we are still discovering what works best, but I firmly believe that at every opportunity we must ask our employees what is working for them so they can do their best work.
I schedule several days in the office each month and this centers around a team lunch or a #createimpact charity event. When I’m working from my home office, we collaborate and meet via Slack and Zoom and my favourite- over the phone for a chat. Later this year, I’m looking forward to connecting face to face with our teams in Singapore and China.
I can’t say that there have been work related challenges due to the move. But when we first arrived in 2020 we were caught up in the housing crisis. It seemed all of Melbourne and Sydney had moved North. We quickly discovered a lack of long-term rental properties so we moved a total of five times in our first year. The upside was experiencing several parts of this area which made it easy to choose where to buy our current home.
The ability to fit more meaningful connections into my day. Without a long Sydney city commute, I can fit in more exercise, time with my children and deep work.
As soon as we arrived we went straight to Wategos Beach and showed my young boys where we got married. We took a deep breath and just felt incredibly grateful for the opportunity for this adventure. The space, the slower pace, the incredible nature that surrounded us. It was a welcome change. We loved our life in Bondi but I’ll never forget jumping on a bike and riding with my son to school through a beach track rather than sitting in traffic.
We have also made wonderful friends through the Byron Bay Football (Soccer) Club. Both of my boys are obsessed with soccer - and it is an incredible community to be a part of. The community spirit has been in full force since the recent devastating floods in Northern NSW.
Every person we know has jumped in to help in any way they can. Rescues by boat or jet ski, food donations, joining the mud army to clean up, laundry services, babysitting. Cafes and restaurants closed for a week to feed the volunteers and those displaced, building companies and tradies used their equipment and manpower to rescue stranded residents when roads collapsed and to begin the massive task of clearing out heavy furniture from flooded houses. Being a part of a community that cares as much as this one…is incredible.
What does a typical day look like for you now?
I wake early and either head off for a beach walk or a Pilates class. Then I pick up coffees and head home to pack school lunches. My husband loves spending the morning with the boys now as he feels he missed out on this when we were in Sydney.
The school commute is super quick so we often do a surf check on the way. Instead of mornings being like an Amazing Race sprint, we get so much more quality time together.
Most days I am able to pick my children up from school and take them to an afternoon activity. I then log on again in the evening so I can connect with London and Cape Town where our HR, Recruitment and Payroll teams are based. This structure works for me and is incredibly productive as a global business.
What advice would you give to others considering a similar move?
Having an honest conversation with your manager about why the move is important to you is a great start. Then ensure you’ve mapped out how you’ll continue to collaborate and connect with your team. Depending on your role, this could be weekly 1:1’s via Zoom, daily Asana updates, monthly or quarterly office visits to collaborate on big projects and celebrate milestones over lunch. It’s so important to factor in the fun ways you engage with your team as well as the work.
Having high levels of trust within your team and being organised will ensure the transition is a smooth one. But before you book the removalists, it’s critical for most roles that you have great WIFI in the area you’re moving to.
For years I’ve asked my children: ‘What do you need to have an adventure?’ They yell out ‘you just need to step out the door!’. My hope is that I am living life every day to the fullest- working hard and with heart and showing my children what is possible.
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