Home Office TV
Join Amy as she provides you with a sneak peek into how the Cloudflare Team has been doing with the transition from daily office life to working from home. How is the team adapting to the shift? What do they miss and not miss about office life? What snacks are they eating? How has it been sharing a workspace with family or housemates? Tune in to find out!
So here we are on a Cloudflare home office TV. My name is Amy Bibeau and I might repeat this a couple more times because I don't know if I'm live yet because we're still working on our Cloudflare TV optimization really.
So I'm interviewing Kate Fleming and Kate Fleming is one of our customer success managers in Singapore and yeah Kate how has it been going for you?
First of all welcome to home office TV.
Thanks Amy. I have the vision of like a home and garden TV you know like like where it's like okay what are we doing at our houses?
We're at our houses all the time now like I'm at my house my apartment all the time now.
So how has it been going for you the transition to working at home from being in an office every day?
Yeah look it's funny because obviously well not obviously but at Cloudflare we have a where do I work concept and where we work is in the office.
So that's always been part of my experience at Cloudflare and I think that that's been one of the reasons why I've enjoyed it so much is because you have that the camaraderie and the humor and even if you've got back-to-back meetings you're physically running with your laptop.
I'm sorry my daughter's school is trying to call. That's awkward. You're physically running with your laptop from meeting to meeting and you and I know when I've been in Snapgram like hey hey hey on the stairs and it's great it's really frenetic and so one of the I'm so sorry someone kept trying to call me.
One of the one of the hard transitions for me had been initially I was like I'm gonna have all this extra time because I'm not gonna have to commute and I won't have to run from meeting to reading but actually what happens is I don't run from meeting to meeting.
I sit in this chair. I don't move. So initially actually it was a little hard because I I was much more sedentary than I'd anticipated and I hadn't really thought about what the change in physical environment had meant and the other thing too was just getting used to the home dynamics.
So you know I travel a lot for work.
My partner travels a lot for work. I have a five-year-old daughter.
She's at school with a group trying to call us right now and so and we live in a small apartment in Singapore and so we've got an apartment that works when we're not there most of the time and this this is the first time we've all been together so that Amy was quite difficult.
Getting used to navigating space. I can only imagine that's one of the main things I've been wanting to talk to people about you know when it comes to this transition of being at the office and having you know people with you know separate careers and you know and children in school and then suddenly like everybody is like on top of each other 24-7 and you can't even really go outside because there's a global pandemic happening.
That's right and I think that that and I don't think it matters whether you've got children or not whether you've got pets or whether you're an active person or you know whether you're just a person who's used to having freedom of movement right and you're used to having agency in your own life and all of a sudden you're you've got potentially like this this sense of it can be doing for some people or you know like it's really like really unsettling or for some people are thinking well I don't know what the fuss is about and then you're also trying to run a business but interestingly now you've got your mask so my mummy mask is not my work boss mask which is not you know my work subordinate mask and then all of a sudden I'm having to flick all the time and sometimes in front of my team and my boss when my child comes in.
So that's been yeah that's been really interesting for us as a household.
Yeah like that's a lot of transitioning between roles you know like it for me like I sometimes having switching trouble switching gears just from like one project to the next so to like be in those situations where again I don't have children I'm I have plant friends that I grow they're my little babies they're like they get so much attention now.
I move them to follow the Sun now you know because plants are not ambulatory right you know they can't go and you know they get they can turn their leaves gently towards the light but like I legitimately will you know open my blinds all the way up even though it makes my apartment hot and then I will like if I notice there's like a really sunny spot on my little this is my home office setup and I'm we'll look at yours here in a second this is my home office setup it's like 100 % pillow based ergonomic solution.
So I lean on a white and black pillow I put my legs up on that red pillow and then this little pillow is on my lap and then that is this my ergo setup and then but yeah they'll be like this Sunbeam like right there and I will just take the biggest plant down from up there and I'll just put it in the light you know it's like they're talking to me they're like hey I want to go over there I move them all around they get way more attention than they did like when I was in the office you know.
Do you know what though I think if you've done something really interesting so I'm going to introduce you know one of the things that I've been doing since since I've been working from home and I do the same thing I move all my plants including some of my fake plasticky ones who look pretty good around so that they can get the light or that they can fit the mood but interestingly I think that that's one thing I've noticed certainly with my team I'm is people are and it's not just my team it's everyone like people spending more time in home at home and all of a sudden they're looking at their environment and looking at things that can give them pleasure and one of the simplest ways to reset your mood and to really just bring a sense of calm and peace is to have some greenery and it doesn't have to be real that's what I've learned if you have a black thumb get your plastic plants they still work.
Yeah that's a good idea I think I definitely think like seeing nature you know is is calming and healing for the human I mean we're we're really just connected you know from from that type of you know daily you know the way that like our ancestors way back in the day you know you're just living off the earth like you you had to you're in harmony whether you like it or not you know and so it's like for me like that's been a thing like when I've been home too much not getting out into nature as much so like definitely trying to grow the like home nature scene you know like I've been doing a lot of cuttings I think that was a pathos that you just showed me and that's what I've been I've been cutting off that one and a different one that I have and like I grew this one from I actually grew this one from cuttings from my other plants so I put like four or five cuttings that I had rooted nice yeah it's like I'm propagating little babies well you know what and it's also good luck so we call these money plans here and you'll often see in particular you know like if you're visiting clients in in China and Hong Kong and and other parts of Asia like it's very common to have these in the office it's very common to have these on your desk it's very common to have these around for good luck so well done Amy yeah well you know like make it rain plant friends so what has been the biggest like what do you miss the most about the office like aside from just kind of being able to move around like is there any snack yeah like really missing out on oh my word yes so people who know me at Cloudflare know that I am a massive chocolate fan and I eat a lot of Kit Kats so Kramien who's our office manager I know you work with very closely in in Singapore she gets these Kit Kats but they're from the Middle East and I cannot for love no money find them anywhere else I can go through not quite hundreds but I can go through like a good 20-30 in a day and I can't find them online I'm really struggling so that that's what I miss up in the people of course but the snacks yeah and I've had to I've had to substitute at home so I'm working my way through pretty much the entire Cadbury family block selection at my local store and yep yeah I'm pretty much doing a family block a day at the moment and that's just to get through right I you know that's another thing too is like at the office or like when we're you know you're going out to eat and you're going out to lunch and you know I want to say like a shout out not that they're watching to our wonderful Porter team you know that so much you know in San Francisco and keeping everything you know clean and nice and doing all you know doing all the dish you know it's like it's like I'm at home now it's like guess who's doing every single thing and I mean even in the office of course we pick up after ourselves most of us but I mean it's it's like you have a team of people like supporting you team lunch and you just you go out and get food and now it's just like you know I think it's interesting how this has made people be more self-reliant closer in the family you know like the children I'm sure for a lot it was stressful you know with the way that schools change but I mean to be able to be with their parents more you know I'm sure there's some upsides but also challenges well and I think you've hit upon something as well which is you know this idea of this is a forced reflection and whether or not people are actively reflecting about their environment and their needs it is subconsciously it's happening and I know you know like a Cloudflare it's something that we're talking about at a group level and as a team level and you know even within my like leadership group is what what does this mean for how we work and what does this mean for how we connect with staff and you know how do we how do we stay engaged and how do we stay working with people but also balancing that home life and then how do we make sure that we're engaged but not in your face it's been it's been really interesting but stripping it back it's actually thinking about well we're doing things differently now which part of differently would we like to keep in the future if we had the ability to and which part of different do we want to go we're like oh we're done with that but it's also just at the personal level which part of different our consumption has gone down you know so household consumption like just disposable income not that it's disposable but you dispose of it anyway like rubbish purchases and just that spend that can happen literally the minute you walk out your door we're not doing and our environmental footprint like our carbon footprint would have to be much better than it has been so that's that's a real positive and I don't know I'd love to hold on to that zeitgeist if you know what I mean Amy like that idea of well we'll walk or we don't need to consume that thing or you know I love to travel but maybe I don't need to fly that much yeah I think that's a great great point and it's something that we talked about in the last interview that I did with Kayla who was our head of security it's just like imagine how much less commuting is happening you know just like how much oil I mean what happened with oil like they at that one moment it was like bottoming out for real you know and I'm sure that you know we have oil companies as our customers you know God bless them um you know but like I was happy to see that demand fall you know I mean for the earth for the planet like ultimately like I'm a worker you know at a job but like I'm a citizen of this you know beautiful beautiful planet that I just has so much immense beauty and like I've always personally personally been troubled by the the level of consumption like how just the the fact that that's somehow how our economy functions is is just on you don't mean consumption I feel like there's like maybe it's time to start looking like well what what different economic models you know could we create like what is what what else can we start to value you know other than like extractive technologies or you know shipping things from like far away I think people have gotten a lot more understanding about like what is the supply chain you know and like where yes I'm from and yeah like do we really need all you know to meet all of that to be happy or like you know it's like when you when you stop having so much opportunity to go externally you know to meet all of your perceived whims or desires and you kind of have to sit with I think like we're almost moving through like this collective like shadow space even you know if I could get a little woo-woo on her well that's interesting yeah like for me like when this first like when it first was like we're gonna stay at home and I go to the office like the office had provided me with so much structure grounding connection you know and I hadn't necessarily set up a lot of a structure in my regular day-to-day but like the office gave it to me and then when because I had been self-employed for a good 15 years before on board at Cloudflare and it was a big adjustment to me to work 40 hours a week you know I was like I was taking a nap you know in that room you know like my break time was like nap room but it was like once that disappeared like it was I went through a difficult like process especially in the beginning and I was just kind of like I'm just gonna let the darkness win like I don't care about anything you know and I wasn't like I definitely wasn't thriving you know and then I kind of had to pass through that and find my like my inspiration again like the things that bring me you know some joy so aside from like your plant friends what what other have you started any other new like hobbies or like any other new things going on for you like with all this home time yeah um funny about that like with all this home time so my commute in Singapore is very short and my team's been busier than ever because we're obviously trying to help what we're trying to help our customers through their own COVID situations in terms of like helping them potentially wear free work contracts so we've been busier than than before but I want to go back to something you're talking about which is that that that structure and you know something that that I've come across when I've when I've moved countries or even move cities and I'm sure everyone's familiar with it and you can have it even when you move jobs but but there's that there's a cultural adjustment curve and so you can go into initially like this immediate like sense of euphoria this is this is change is exciting this is what I want and then you come into this trough of disillusionment which is this is bigger than I thought it's longer than I thought it's it's you know insert negative adjectives connotations here and then you reach a point where kind of you can accept the situation for what it is and then you can learn to optimize for for the changes and what you said about structure was really really significant initially as I said I was thinking like oh I'm gonna have all this extra time so not gonna be running between meetings I didn't think about structure and I think a lot of people didn't think about structure because yeah we have structure we have a working life no no no you have structure from your commute and your office and the the mass of people around you doing things at certain times and that loss of structure was was a bit disconcerting and I ended up speaking to one of our colleagues who it's based in China and you know as you know China went into lockdown a lot earlier before people so they they were ahead of the curve in this experience and one of the things that he'd said was you have to have structure set us set a structure for your day and work towards it so I ended up setting spending far too much time it looked good but we didn't actually implement it fully you know working out a structure for everyone in the household and what we're going to do at each times of the day and I almost book I almost organized the booking system for the dining table so that we could book who need to work on the dining table but I couldn't quite work out how to do that so we stepped away I'm like a calendar room like a conference room like meeting like dining table one you know correct correct because if with the room that I'm in is is known as like the the room of doom the junk room also my office whatever you want to call it it's great space if you want to talk privately but the Internet's not so strong and so the dining table is better if we need to spread out need to do work and maybe it's more of a space where you want to be online maybe doing a lot of work online and and so there's there's different needs for each space but yet that's one thing and I would say that anyone this is not over and like we don't know where this is going and if you haven't already and you're in that dark space that you were talking about Amy which is I'm just gonna let the darkness wash over me or I call it the trough disillusionment disillusionment I love that disillusionment right because it is you're like Oh wallowing in despair it's too hard it's like too much it's like this is stupid whatever I'm structure even if you design it and then you don't follow through with it give it a go just to give yourself some I'm getting up from my desk now and I'm finishing work now I'm gonna do this I'm gonna do that it's pretty much going out the window for this household but we have it as a in the background but can okay now let's go on to let's go into hobbies if you don't mind so when it first when this first started and I'd love to chart one day there's gonna be a PhD student who's gonna chart this the human experience going through this and so when we went into the oh my gosh everything shutting in Singapore what are we gonna do it's the end of the world I turned uniquely I thought to puzzles turns out everyone in the entire universe got to puzzles I managed to resurrect this puzzle which we tried doing when I was I tried doing when I was pregnant I tried doing I was on the chimney leave for nine months this bad boy sat half finished on the dining room table I was living in Malaysia at the time never got finished anyway after the after the child starts moving around had to put it away we're back in lockdown I put it on the dining room table Amy I've eventually had to pull the pieces back in here this bad boy is never gonna get done you think like you've tried like what what where what have you completed what don't you get done with it like what part can you do and what part like doesn't doesn't make it I want to see like okay okay right okay trouble with this whole all of it it's too much sky right haha and you go that blue is different to that blue not when you're looking at tiny pieces so firstly I did the lighthouse and then I worked out the horizon from the lighthouse and then I just did the edges well I sort of plunked the edges roughly where I thought that'd be because greeny blue could be greeny brown could be green brown and then eventually built that pacing in and then the view was just to like the plan was to just close it in from the edges but I wouldn't say I'm a quitter I think I'm just a realist about you know effective use of time and it's not the time for that puzzle yet you know you you still have it maybe you can trade it with someone else like a puzzle exchange correct so okay and then I went I don't know if you can see this I went from the 1 ,000 piece landscape to the 500 piece much more up my alley where's Bowie and if you know the books where's Waldo or where's Wally it's exactly that but this is a puzzle of date all the kind of a melange of all of David Bowie's older album covers and dress-ups and themes and you actually have to find the real David Bowie that I can do that sounds a little bit more interesting and fun like it's campy and and it's you know it's like sure a lighthouse you know what I mean but where's Bowie like that that's that's pretty cute can I see your office setup do you is it ergonomically like working out for you like is it just your laptop you have a monitor like what do you do all right I'm gonna no judging right as I said this is also the room of doom okay so I have there's a lot of stuff on here but that's a lounge that I do sit on from time to time to stretch out a bookshelf and then I actually have a treadmill which has got a baby bath sitting on it and the vision at the beginning Amy was that I was gonna use firstly we're gonna not go on holidays we're gonna save this money and so rather than saving it I said I'm gonna spend it all on a treadmill and I'm gonna use it every day I'm gonna be in standing meetings and for people who work with us they know that I try that in a couple of the big meetings and people literally said oh my god are you on a treadmill walking so I have to stop because it was too distracting someone said they felt they're gonna throw up it's it's there but you know what the good news is if this pandemic lasts for much longer there is a stronger possibility that I'm gonna get value for money out of that thing you will I mean it's it's taking up a lot of space in your life right now so you're gonna have to dedicate some you know some serious as we say in Portuguese fear Mesa you know like you're gonna have to just fear Mesa's like firmness it's like dedication yeah you know it just takes dedication that the thing that saved me from my dark from the trough of doom or the trough of disillusionment my friends and I started doing a morning zoom call singing practice because I've spent time in India like I was you know I was like a traveling yeah yeah person before I got a corporate job I was doing my jewelry business and I went to India to do spiritual practice so we have an Indian spiritual practice of singing and so we started doing that in the mornings that I don't go every day because it's at 8 a.m.
my time it's at noon no it's at 10 a.m. her time 8 a.m.
my time so it's like sometimes I just want to like lay in bed and look at my phone longer oh my gosh you're in bed at 8 a.m.
I'm in bed at 730 and I need to be up by 8 to start doing practice but that's the thing that pulled me out like it was a it was a tether okay it was just like okay cuz like our whole like like the whole protocol or the whole like spiritual belief system around that is that work is the best spiritual practice in this time that we're in you know in the you know like that's like it's like karma yoga karma it means action yoga means union so you know your work is your spiritual practice and so it's like it's pretty apropos I think for like what's going on I mean just like only through doing good work can we clear up any of the previous actions that may not have optimized you know our future and so like that's been really like a great thing and just like having community like we we like I know that my best friend is gonna be on a zoom call you know every morning and so that that really was a helpful that that was the thing that likes talk about structure like that was like kind of the even if I just have that one thing that sets the tone for the day you know and yeah yeah I think I think it's I think it's interesting though because you know if you think about the people I got think about the people in my team or in my organization we've got you know a really healthy mix of introverts and extroverts and there's probably a lot of people like myself who sit on you sit on the fence who who can't really like identify either side and one of the things I think the extroverts know they've got to get out and like have community but actually it's almost more it's more important actually for the introverts because even though they like to be alone and I speak for myself I like to be alone but the more time I spend in my in my own head it can actually not not be the healthiest place and so forcing myself to do that stuff which makes me grown I don't want to do it I think it's a stupid idea before I do it and I think of a thousand ways to get out of it then once I've done it heart full really helps yeah yeah it's been it's been good and then I started making little paintings I've been doing watercolors and I mean I started that in November but like now I have more time for it because I'm home all the time home too much do you have any nature nearby where you live that you can go out and walk around in yeah so where I am in Singapore it's near the Singapore River so you can look at it on the map I'm just kind of northwest of the office so we've got the the Singapore River which is really lovely strolling area nearby and since phase two so since early June we've been able to walk oh sorry mid June June 19 we've been out of walking groups of up to five people so previously we could only go by ourselves which is a little bit difficult and but we've also got a really big so there's a it's a hill called Fort Canning Park which is right near me and I this has been a a hill fort for like a thousand or more years so well before well before the British and well before even like the the Straits like Chinese kind of clans ended up using Singapore as a trading area like the the local indigenous tribes had this as a as a four area so there's still some sacred sites on the hill and there's some archaeological digs that they've opened up and you can walk over the perspex and look and that's been open for the part of this so that's been that's been really lovely Amy and to your point nature it's kind of getting outside it's been very helpful yeah yeah and so you're on the customer success team I haven't really asked you too much about that like how has it been going with everybody and staying connected in the collaboration like what's like think is the best thing that works to keep people connected right now during all this yeah okay so so I suppose for people who don't know customer success is is like the software as a service version of account management so we we own the relationships and the delivering of value to our customers after they've purchased we you know it's our role to make sure that customers receive the value that they're looking for and obviously we want to exceed that their expectations as well so a lot of our time is spent on phones with customers and on video calls so for the team and we're used to being in face-to -face meetings all the time and really what changed is just the physical nature of it now now it's remote from a morale and a camaraderie point of view we started a whole bunch of stand-up meetings so I have one with my team leads every day as a leadership group they each then have one with with their direct reports each day or every second day just to check in and each of those formats is morphed some of them make them really jokey and it's a no work area and some of them I use my more for just like a daily bulletin and we're finding that's helping but I think that's worked at a team level for the customers we haven't been able to go out and see them face-to-face which has been quite problematic at the beginning I had this vision of why I didn't actually want page in one of the the women on the team had this vision of getting Cloudflare masks and sending them to China this is before it was a really big issue in in Singapore but of course by that stage it was impossible to get branded stuff since it's China let alone to get branded masks made because they were sold out and so we wanted to give love to our customers but actually as the border shut that became harder and harder and we've just stayed with the traditional old-fashioned sense of giving love which is being responsive talking to our customers as much as we can and being available from a team perspective as I said we did the stand-ups and then from a broader perspective as an APAC group we've been doing some little activities around having lunch and doing online pictionary games and having afternoon wine downs and drinks and I think having having a melange of things like structured and then little things popping in now and they're helped we've actually got active flare coming up which is where over a weekend we're all going to try and do be active and track it on our GPS's and then one of the engineers is going to mush it all into a single map and show us in real time where everyone's show us like a video where everyone went so that should be fun that's cute that's nice I mean clever obviously has good people you know it really I find that we have you know I love my team for example and the different teams that I work with as well so I'm glad that you guys are finding a way to stay connected I know we're right now we're trying to get some like meetups set up outside like we're we had a meeting today about like how can we maybe start organizing like social picnics but you know for small groups and then with distancing and you know everybody bringing their own like hippie style where you have to bring your own food and your own utensils and plates and stuff like that so yeah hopefully like I think it's gonna be interesting journey as we move through I think we're about to wrap up we have like a minute left so is there anything else you want yeah thank you so much for being and like open and willing to talk about how this transitions been going for you because I'm so curious I'm just a curious person and yes you know your plant friends are doing and I think we're I think that it's done but you know someday we're gonna optimize our technology and I'm gonna know for sure but thank you so so much Kate I'm gonna and so great to see you all right you too take care and I love your plant okay bye