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Workstyle Stories 015 - 'Francois'

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Welcome to Workstyle Stories because life changes and every life is different. Work needs to respect that. And this week, we're talking about the priorities in life. We're talking about wellbeing and escaping office politics. And I'm joined by Francois to discuss those things. Hello, Francois. Hello. Before we get into all of that, though, just for the benefit of our audience, could you just tell us a little bit about who you are, where you are and what you do? Sure. So I am a French person, but who lives in London for the past 20 years. Still have my accent, and some like, and I'm an IT person. So I am a consultant and trainer. So I tell people how to use technology for the best. Okay, brilliant. And who do you live with Francois? Do you have a partner, children? Yes, I'm married. And we have a kid. So my husband is actually in technology as well. So it makes the big, geeky house, and my kid is 10. And he's also really big into video games and all that. Yeah. Yeah, I could imagine and probably a future technologist on our hands as well. Brilliant. Well, thank you for that. So as you know, this series is all about workstyle, and we're talking about how work used to be, and also kind of how it is now for you. So let's go back to, if you can cast your mind back to, when you were working in a certain, perhaps more traditional role, or in your early days as a freelancer, when work was a little bit more traditional. How did you find it being in the line of work that you were in? I mean, did you find that you were, sort of, the expectation was to be in the office all day? And what were the things that you particularly found that you didn't get on within that? Yeah, so being in IT, especially this line of work. Even though we could for years, right? It's not new, but we could have managed things, server etc. remotely. It's been a given that you still have to be in the office. So a few years ago, 10 years ago, even 5-10 years ago, servers were in the office, but is very quickly been replaced. We had to be in the office because colleagues, users need us. It was a bit challenging, because in my case, I have to spend a good 60 to 80% of the time focusing on development clearly, on learning new things as well, because it changes all the time. So having someone walking in and saying, "Oh, can you help me with this?" "Can you fix this?" "Can you?" It just never worked? Right? Yeah, so not a very productive way to work in that particular line of work. We hear that a lot from from developers. And I guess, that kind of office environment, that kind of watercooler gatherings and this sort of associated bureaucracy, I suppose, office politics that comes with that. How does that, in your kind of line of work and I can imagine that's not something that your personality type, and I'm not casting aspersions about your personality type. But, we've spoken before about this in the past. How did you find that? And that kind of culture, I suppose for you personally, and for the work that you do? Obviously, the answer is going to be difficult. Like, how did you find it difficult, because I am someone who just needed to, for instance, take a lunch break, it might be a French thing to do. But take a lunch break is like getting out of the office for me and not talk about work so much. Obviously, in a corporate environment, in an office base, then it's maybe staying around the office but quiet talk to colleagues and then we end up talking about projects. So it's very difficult and then leaving for let's say, I go for a walk or I go for a run at lunchtime. And coming back and having colleagues that, when I mean colleague is people in the buildings that sometimes I have nothing to do with but they're kind of looking at the time and I'm like, yeah, but you don't know that yesterday, I worked until 9pm. Yes, that was a bit tough. Yeah, I can imagine and I think we're on a bit of a mission to change people's thought process around that. You know, it's not about how visible you are or how many hours even that you're around for it's what you're delivering really matters. So has that changed? How's your work life changed since then and how have changes in your life kind of served as a catalyst for that? So obviously, I had a few opportunities over the years to change this workstyle, and to say what actually it's not really nine to five anymore, it can be, in some cases, it can be seven to 10, and then carry on like five to nine, or it can be a nine to five, but that's my own decision. So it's changed greatly, because obviously, I tell you, I have a family, I have a kid. So one thing that was very clear for me is to be there, and be there at school outings like going just walking to the park with the class, and picking him up, etc. So that's something that I'm definitely doing. And my agenda is blocked every now and then to make sure that nobody can book a meeting at the time, I'm going to be with my son. Has anything enabled you to have more control like that. Because the way that you're talking about your work is kind of your workstyle, I suppose now is of your own design. Whereas I think a lot of people in the tech space, if you're freelancing, typically you're contracting, and therefore, actually, your work looks more like a traditional employment job. Did anything happened to help you with that transition? Have you always wanted it to be more of your own design? How has that kind of come about? So one thing that I don't, it's not even that I hide it, is my mobile number. Like people see it every now and then it was on my signature, etc. But I realised that they don't need to call because when they call, I might be in the middle of something. And therefore I would have to come back. So eventually, it turns out that my customers, my partners, etc, will not actually use mobile phone directly. So nowadays, with technology, it's easier that we use text, WhatsApp, whatever, but very often I would send a link. So they book my time. So therefore they have access to my calendar. And this happens daily that I have someone say, "I have a new project, are you available on the 10th?" And I'm like, yeah, just go and check because I'm busy going to do the garden. Yeah, I think that's a great behaviour. And a great tip for people adopting remote working at the moment and into the future, is this interruptive communication just doesn't really work. So you have to schedule stuff. And so scheduling tools are really helpful for that. But it also means as you say, you don't necessarily need a mobile phone number, you can trade links, and talk asynchronously on messaging apps and that sort of thing. So I think that's great. And you're right, you know, the behaviour of just removing your phone number, for example, can be the thing that unlocks that ability for you to be more the master of your own time. It sounds like you've got that cracked brilliantly. So good on you Francois for doing that, and thank you very much for sharing that tip and for sharing your story. Now, what's your working day looking like? Typical working day looking like now, Francois? So this morning, I had an intense workshop, then I had a nice break, because I had to empty my head of it. So lunch break. And then I'm going to have another meeting in around half an hour. And then another workshop. But as you can see, between all this, I have some personal wellbeing breaks so that I can actually relax and maybe have a coffee. Then the other tip regarding technology, is that yes, it is true, I have my mobile phone in my pocket all the time. Because if something is urgent, then I will see it but as a notification, not as someone is calling, and therefore it allows all of us to just postpone messages, snooze it directly. And I think that really frees the mind and the stress level. Yeah, I couldn't agree more. It sounds like you've got it well sorted Francois. Good on you. Thanks very much for sharing your workstyle story. Who would have thought a Frenchman recommending that we all take a good break for lunch while we're working. Avoid the wine and you'll be fine. Yeah, great stuff. Thanks very much Francois. I'll speak to you again. See you next time, bye bye.

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Duration: 9 minutes and 55 seconds
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Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 0
Posted by: _kim_nguyen on Nov 28, 2020

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