#WFH in San Francisco // Kameron Gad

April 2020

Perched in the Upper Castro in San Francisco and overlooking the San Francisco Bay, Kameron Gad, a creative working for one of the world’s technology behemoths, starts her day on one of many Zoom calls. Covid-19 has forced her company’s hand to allow working from home.

It’s been a transition from her normal working days at the office and has upended her regular routine.  The project on which she is working on ends up being well suited for remote work but her typical managerial function has subsided.  This is clearly something better suited to in-person, in-office, interactions.  Nonetheless, one of the aspects that she greatly enjoys is not having to commute roughly two hours to the office and two hours back home on a daily basis. She is able to reclaim her time to some extent and set the pace of the day especially between the half hour between each Zoom call.

A little over a year ago, Kameron became a mother and the commute to work took on a whole other dimension.  She would have to leave her apartment before the baby was awake and squeeze in the little time she had left in the evening before her daughter’s, Valentine’s, bedtime.  Now, when there is some downtime, she is able to see Valentine thoughout the day and that has a definite and joyful advantage.

From a pragmatic perspective, she has had to negotiate the space with her partner, Richard, and his two daughters from a previous marriage.  Theirs is a blended family having to adapt to sheltering at home due to Covid-19.  Richard, who typically works from home, has a recently converted dining room to an office space, with the ability to close a door and isolate from the rest of the household.  Kameron sits at a marble table on an Ikea chair in the new dining area in their open living space which is adjacent to the kitchen.  It is definitely not a work space for long term capability but as a temporary solution it works despite the chair’s relative discomfort.

Work itself, besides the obvious aspect of being remote, has become a new experience.  It was clear from the begining that working this way would require a new methodology.  Kameron realized early on that the team has to be more strategic and talk about the process as it is not organic as it would be if they were in person.  There are more scheduled check-ins to monitor progress and a lot more recaps of previous meetings to make sure everyone is in tune with one another and the progress of the project.  Another more surprising aspect is now that commuting is no longer in the picture, there is more time at the end of a work day to convene on a personal level with co-workers.  Typically, after work, everyone heads out quickly to start their long route home.  Now, they have virtual happy hours and have a chance to bring their children into the video conferencing frame.  There is a blurring of boundaries, they take the time and energy to check in on everyone's emotional state.  Overall well being and balance between work and home life suddently seems in the realm of possibility and Kameron hope that once the distancing measure are lifted, the learnings from this experience can allow for her compnay to develop an open-mindedness with regards to having a flexible and remote work schedule.

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