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Workstyle Stories 006 - 'Becky'

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Welcome to Workstyle Stories, because life changes and every life is different. This week, I'm joined by Becky Wong. Hello, Becky. Hi, Alex. Hello. Good to see you. We're going to be talking about all things travel, we're going to be talking about being a digital nomad, and London culture and the way in which that kind of prompted a change to your workstyle. So before we get into all of it, Becky, tell us a little bit about you. So where are you right now? I'm currently in a small mountain town in Bulgaria called Bansko. As per the picture, brilliant. Yes, just to show that. I've been here since the start of the year. Because of the pandemic, myself and my partner have stayed put. But normally... I'm an ex Londoner. I left London three years ago, to be able to move around to different places. And we wanted to base ourselves in different places at a time. So over the last few years, we've been doing that. And we've been slowly traveling and seeing different places, but also that's allowed us to see our family for longer periods of time, because we both have family in different parts of the UK, but also in different parts of Europe. So we've been spending a chunk of the time over the last few years in the UK, but also Malta, Switzerland and Norway and being able to stay there and work there, spend time with our family, see our nieces and nephews in different places. That's fantastic. But also work around that as well. Amazing. You are very well traveled. So tell me about what work you do then. So what are you? So I'm an operations and project manager. I also do some freelance writing. I used to work in similar roles in London. I lived in London for way over 10 years, went there for university, graduated and stayed there, joined the rat race as they say, stayed in London. And I worked there for over 10 years, and eventually, for a variety of reasons I wanted to escape the city. And there were two options at the time, it was either - the reason for wanting to stay was wanting to slow down the lifestyle and culture of living and working in London. It felt too fast paced and overwhelming for me. I always felt really tired and burnt out. So I wanted a slower pace of life. So at the time of leaving, and planning and thinking about it, it was a choice of either moving to the countryside and becoming bumpkins. Yeah, like me, I'm a bumpkin. Yeah, maybe I'll get there one day, I'll ask you for tips. Bumpkinning sounds great. And I also wanted to take some time out and travel. So originally, leaving London, the plan was to travel for one year. And then it became, then it turned into discovering a different way of working. Freestyle... no not freestyling, Freudian slip there! Freelancing remotely, moving around along the way, and being able to, I guess, fit work around the places that we go to and where we need to be. Yeah, absolutely. So I can relate to your story. Because the London culture, the kind of machismo around working long hours, and that that is the kind of, the way to get ahead. It is really prevalent and really damaging. And, essentially, it just drains you over time, doesn't it, and kind of leaves you in a position where actually you just need to take time out of it and take, you know, so almost you lose sight, I think, of what's important in life and of yourself and how you want to be. And I think taking that into your own hands and also concurrently with the, obviously the desire for you to travel more, feels like a really compelling narrative around why you would want to kind of escape the rat race, as you rightly describe it, and do things differently. So would you class yourself as a digital nomad, Becky? Yes, yeah. Is that something that you say you are? I say that with a laugh. I say it with a big laugh, because it's something I didn't like to associate myself with just because there are a lot of negative taboos expected. I say this all the time when people think digital nomads are all not really working or we're all by the beach. But I would say yes. Remotely working. Yes, exactly. I guess similar sentiments to people saying 'working from home' as it were. We are working. It's just a different place, a different way of living. But yeah, I would say that. But it was unplanned and unexpected. But on reflection, it makes sense that I ended up this way because of the way I work best. But also, when I was younger, I moved between countries anyway. So I'm normally from the UK, born in the UK. But I also spent my school years in Hong Kong, and then moved back to the UK. And I spend a lot of my time, growing up and still now, flitting between Hong Kong and UK. I feel they're both home. So you're really of no fixed abode. Really, you're kind of nomadic, you've always been slightly nomadic. Yeah, exactly, driven by my parents, it turns out. Yeah. And I think putting a label on it is dangerous. And you know, we joke about remotely working, but let's talk about what your work is like now, then. Because, you know, would you say that you are, is your work better for working this way? Is it in any way different? How would you describe your workstyle, and what's the impact of that on your productivity, your output. I'd say my workstyle, my hours are very flexible. Generally I am available Monday to Friday, but I'm pretty flexible with my hours depending on deadlines and things like that. But if there's no specific meetings or deadlines, meetings and deadlines aside, I'm pretty flexible with when and where I work. So it might stay within Monday to Fridays. I work best in the mornings. But sometimes I'll spread that throughout the week. So I might work on the evenings and weekends, but not in a way that's burning the midnight oil. It's the same as full time hours, but spread out. I also work from home. I've always worked better working from home, outside of offices, I find them too distracting. I like meeting new people and being sociable, but I work better in quiet environments. Same. And it could be something that I've been reading a lot about since, it's why we work the way that we do. I've been reading a lot about introversion and extroversion since leaving London. It's not something I was familiar with at the time. So even looking back, I wasn't sure, I didn't know why I was exhausted and tired all the time, for example. I put it down to being crammed in the underground before even getting to the office, and the same on the way back. But I think it is just being in busy, loud environments, if you like. I find that distracting and hard to work. I used to actually wake up at silly o'clock, and I'd get more done at home before commuting to the office. So for me right now, travelling aside, being able to choose to work from home. Or maybe if I have times where I do fancy working in an office, there's co-working spaces around the world, and across the UK as well. And I also work from cafes, and I like the variety. Good for you. I mean, I think that really you've also raised an interesting point about introversion and extroversion. So you would class yourself more as an introvert. And the thing that we hear about people working remotely, and/or workstyle, under their own steam, is that actually it's better for extroverts who are more confident to work this way. But actually, it sounds to me like it's beneficial to introverts as well, for the alternative is not as productive a way to work. It's actually more draining or exhausting in the way that you described. So I think that's challenged something that I sort of believed about working this way. And I'm going to look into that a little bit more. So thanks for that, Becky. We have come to the end of our time, unfortunately. I feel like I could talk to you loads about where you've been and how that has shaped you into who you are, and what your views are on the future for yourself and for your way of working. But maybe we can cover that another time. I'd be more than happy to. Thank you very much. That would be brill. Thanks, Becky. We've been Workstyle Stories. Thanks for tuning in. Bye bye for now. Thank you. Thanks.

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Duration: 9 minutes and 59 seconds
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Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Posted by: _kim_nguyen on Sep 28, 2020

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