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Smart Work Story With Caleigh Borthwick

Caleigh works at Deloitte, a company known for its progressive take on employee engagement. Working for an organization that's always championed location independence placed her in an interesting position as the rest of the world joined the remote and hybrid model. While working remotely may not have been new, the big change for Caleigh was operating in the same role in an entirely new way, posing she and her team with a great learning opportunity.

How would you say work has changed for you in the last year?

I work at Deloitte in marketing and the company has always been really supportive of the whole your work your way idea - even before the pandemic. They encourage employees to work from home if that works best, and lots of people commute from very far away, so that kind of support is big for parents and caregivers. There wasn’t a massive switch to remote work for me, since I was already remote a few days a week (and I actually never go to the office on Fridays). What did change was my actual work. I’m involved with client events and we shifted everything to virtual, so I had to learn how to host events in that format, which was a good learning opportunity.

How do you find the harmony as a remote worker?

Carving out hours in the day and creating boundaries is big for me so that I’m not working 24/7. My partner and I also both work from home, so we really rely on setting working hours and space for ourselves. I know if I want to hang out with him at night, then I need to get all my work done during the workday, and that also gives us the chance to separate work from our personal obligations and desire to do other things.

What do you love about working remotely, and what are the challenges?

I love being at home with my partner and  dog. If I’m having a stressful moment or need to take a step away, having those comforts is really nice. I’ve enjoyed not commuting, and I make time for walks or workouts before starting the day - benefits I wasn’t implementing before the pandemic. I do miss working with coworkers and being able to pop over to someone’s desk and chat live - that was something I always appreciated about being in the office.

Not being able to market the way we normally would with in-person events also has its challenges, but we’ve learned new ways to adapt and connect with clients. Plus, we've had more clients engaging with our initiatives, as barriers to attendance such as geographic location are removed in this new virtual setting.

What personal strengths have you been tapping into more with all the changes you’ve experienced in the last year?

I think I’m generally very positive, but maintaining that for myself and my colleagues allows me to be more empathetic of other people’s situations. (We don't have kids so the shift hasn't been as jarring as those dealing with at-home learning, etc.). But work and life are all one big thing now, so tapping into my positivity, empathy and adaptability has enabled me to shift the way I work.

How good are you at asking for help?

Not that good, but mostly because I’m usually the person helping. Whether it’s learning  a new technology or figuring out processes at work, I’m usually helping over delegating. Lately I’ve been thinking about asking for help as a new way to learn, but the short answer is I’m not that great at it.

What does mindfulness mean to you in the age of remote work?

I think it means focusing on being present with where you are. The pandemic has made us slow down drastically compared to the fast paced lives we were living. Enjoying nature or quiet and meaningful time with the people around me in a safe way, paying attention to mental health and physical well being...I see being mindful as slowing down to acknowledge these things while also looking at what other people are going through and practicing compassion. (Tweet This!)

Do you think it’s important to be emotionally available and aware, and how do you practice this?

I think it's extremely important. I consider myself to be very emotionally available. I am open with team members and encourage them to take the time they need or ask for help if something is happening for them. I think that’s how you grow teams and how you bond with colleagues. With our lives being meshed so fantastically between work and home and people juggling so much, being there for each other is imperative, so that’s how I exercise emotional awareness.

How has your relationship to work changed?

It hasn't changed a lot, but I’ve come to understand the importance of being adaptable, especially when you don't have control over what’s going on. (Tweet This!)

I’m more open to learning new technologies, but I know sometimes that’s not the easiest thing to do, and that’s been something we’ve really had to focus on and evolve as a team.

Is there a resource you might recommend to our readers that you’ve enjoyed or that has helped you?

I mostly go to Instagram for my inspiration and follow people that I resonate with. I’m somebody who works to live, so in my downtime I don't really look for resources or self-help books or ways to work better. I just figure that out on my own and focus on doing things that make me happy, which is another way I tend to find inspiration.

How do you make smart work?

I think it’s all about the environment that you create for yourself. For me, that means removing distractions, putting my phone out of arm's reach, putting my music on (I like listening to instrumental music), and tuning everything out so I can focus. Thinking about LAUFT, if I have a day with a whole bunch of meetings, going  to a location would be an ideal way to focus. And on lighter days I could meet colleagues and get reinvigorated that way. Creating an environment that empowers my best output is how I make smart work.

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