Originally aired on July 14, 2020 @ 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM EDT
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!
This week's guest: Rachel Chavez, Executive Assistance to Matthew Prince (CEO and Co-Founder of Cloudflare)
My name is Amy Bibeau and welcome to Home Office TV. Today my guest is Rachel Chavez who works in our San Francisco office. Welcome Rachel, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you. And can you tell us what is your role at Cloudflare? Yes, so I've been at Cloudflare for a little over four years. Up until about a month ago, I supported both the co-founders Matthew and Michelle. Coming into 2020 we thought it was about time to kind of split the role so we actually hired an EA, Christina Wilson, who is now supporting Michelle and so far the last month she's been killing it. And then I'm continuing on with supporting Matthew full time. Okay, and that was kind of a long search, if I remember correctly, to get the right fit to support Michelle. It was. So when I was first talking to our head of people Janet about it, and even to Michelle about it, I was kind of like, look, if we start in January, we'll be lucky to get somebody in April. And I think they both kind of looked at me like, oh, I'm not sure. But I think that to get the right personality to get somebody with the experience that we were looking for, for Michelle, it was really important to get somebody that had co-founder experience and see level. I think it just takes time to find that kind of diamond in the rough and you it's not a search that you want to rush into you want to make sure it's the right fit you want to make sure everybody feels comfortable because now we're not only looking for Michelle fit. We now have an EA team that has 11 girls on it 11 people on it. And you just want to really make sure that they're going to fit with the team culture as well as that one on one one on one support with their executive and COVID You know, unfortunately for a lot of people, they lost their job, which made us have even a harder job because there's so many people applying for the role. And it did put a little bit of a challenge and trying to we had all these options. And, you know, you start to second guess yourself, but I really feel like taking the time and doing it right just ended up succeeding because like I said, Christina's done a fantastic job and talking with the team members, it feels like they all feel the same way too. That's awesome. How many like how many phone screenings Did you do? Oh my goodness. It was kind of like my second full time job January through April, I would say I did probably about four or phone screens, three to four times a week for that many months. So I don't want to do the math on that. But there was a lot of phone screens. A lot of talking on the phone and and then, you know, suddenly you can't see people face to face, you know, so you're really like even when I mean, I guess you can, you know, once you have a zoom call and stuff like that, but like You know, the interview process. I would imagine like with everything being virtual is a little bit more Like maybe challenging to get a feel for the person or did you feel like it was kind of the same You know, I think we did enough people that spoke with all the different candidates that we brought in that it felt like we really got to know them. And thank goodness for video calls and things like that because I do feel if we were in a different world where we had to do everything over the phone with no Face to face interaction. I do think it would be a lot harder to get kind of the feel and Zoom is not the same as in person, but at least you get to see people's expressions, you get to see how they think and, you know, how they respond to stuff versus a phone call where I just feel like it's a little bit easier when you don't have to be face to face with somebody So I'm really glad that we have the capabilities to do things with at least video because it would have been definitely challenging to do phone calls for this role. Do you remember the Jetsons. I feel like, you know, like, I really feel like, I mean, we don't have flying cars and like I don't have a machine like when I Like when I used to watch the Jetsons as a child. I really wanted that thing that like pushes you out of bed and wakes you up and gets you dressed, you know, like the machine that did that. But I also the second thing I wanted was that like You know, video call thing. I was like, oh, that is so cool. So, I mean, like, one of the things you know from the Jetsons came true. So, you know, I don't really think we need flying cars, but just make a lot of like traffic in the air. You know, I don't, I don't, I think the earth is already given us so many resources. So, um, so Working from home versus working at the office. So like what has been the, you know, changed your routine. So obviously you were commuting like how much time are you saving with like with not commuting and stuff like that. I probably save a little bit less than about I would say two hours a day from start to finish as far as the commute goes. What's really nice about Working from home is, yeah, you do get that time back. So I'm somebody who really likes to cook homemade dinners every single night. So being able to start Dinner at 515 versus 637 o'clock really makes the difference. I think the hardest part for me is just kind of like Losing the routine that I love. I'm somebody who doesn't really like change. I, you know, I love my role because it challenges me, but it challenges me in the same things that I'm doing all the time. So, you know, I can You know, you know, handle the fires and it gives the challenge, but I'm still doing scheduling and traveling and all the things that I love to do. So for me, I think the biggest and hardest part and what kind of led me to a little bit of a depression in the March, April sense. Was losing that office aspect and losing my routine. So every single day I would go on the train. And for me, I really set boundaries as far as that being my personal time. And so I would read 30 minutes going into the office. Get to the office. Say hello to our wonderful office team as I walk in, have conversations at the coffee, you know, at the coffee bar. Get to my desk and really just kind of sit and start my day. I love my pod. I love our office. It just feels very homey and it's a comfort for me. And then, you know, at the end of the day, I get to go home, go on the train again read my book decompress and then come home and do My normal nighttime routine. So I think the challenge is, you know, how do I get that decompression time that I personally as kind of an introvert needs. Before I go home to my husband and tell him about my day and start cooking and things like that. And then also, how do you set boundaries when you don't really need to have a routine. So I, again, I kind of lived in denial and that March sense of like, oh, this is going to be two weeks. Oh, this is going to be a month. And then when we had it on and you're like, oh no, now they're talking June, I kind of had to, you know, get out of that mindset and I had to go get my Monitor from the office, get my keyboard, get my mouse, get my chair and I honestly got emotional when I grabbed those things and I was talking to some of the other admins and they felt the same way this like Sadness as you know we're pulling these things that we're supposed to be using at the office and bringing them home because we know we're not coming back for a while. And so I think the best thing for me to get out of that funk besides building an at home office, which I do think is really important. I worked for my, my couch from the first month. And yes, I was able to get stuff done. But again, I feel like it just led to kind of this more depressing environment. So setting up a desk, making me have a monitor making me feel like I'm in my pod without being my pod and then doing a routine. So I started, even though I didn't have the commute and I could sleep in I get up when my husband gets up in the morning, I do a circuit routine and then I get my coffee and then I'm online answering emails. Earlier than I would be if I was going into the office and then I've really structured my day for my lunch break around walking my dog. And so I've been able to do that. I've been able to do that. I've been able to do that. I've been able to do that. I've been able to do that. I've been able to do that. I've been able to do that. I've been able to do that. I've been able to do that. I've been able to do that. I've been able to do that. I've been able to do that. I've been able to do that. I've been able to do that. I'm stuck in a routine where I'm constantly on some kind of screen and constantly responding. And I know that there's a lot of positions here that are crazy busy and I am busy, but I do have the luxury of studying some of those boundaries right now. And so it's just up to me to try to follow that routine. And it's just, I've realized there's just so much better for my mental health. If I do those things. I totally can relate to so much of that, especially the March, April, I call it like the pit, like the pit of darkness. Yeah. You know, where I was just like, it was like existential crisis. It was, you know, the office for me also gave me so much like structure of my day. Like before I worked at Cloudflare, I was kind of a traveling, very free spirited, my own jewelry business, massage therapist, TaskRabbit, like I have kind of multiple little hustles, but I had a lot of free time, so I didn't have a lot of structure. And I was finding myself like needing structure, and so I was like, okay, I'm going to get a job somehow. I'm going to like, you know, send my like mind like out into the universe, I'm going to manifest a tech company job. This was my vision. I was like, I was like, I'm going to use TaskRabbit, and I'm going to manifest a tech company job somehow through the connections that I get there. And that's how I ended up at Cloudflare. So it was, it was like some pretty like amazing, like, I call it wo-manifestation. So I wo -manifested, you know, this job at Cloudflare, you know, and this like schedule, and the schedule gave me, because my dad had passed like about a year and a half before I started at Cloudflare, and I was really kind of untethered. So it was like, and I was a little, I was depressed before I started working. And then suddenly, and then I had this like structure and busyness, like so much new busyness, and it was so exhausting. I was like, oh my god, this is so exhausting. How are the people doing this? Like literally, I'm like, how are the humans of the earth going every day to offices, working 40 hours a week, plus having a family, having like little children, you know, that you have to take care of, you know, and working full time. Like, I had a lot more compassion for just the general, you know, human experience, like once I started doing this like everyday job, but, I mean, I was taking naps, like on my breaks, I would go to the nap room, and I'd be like, I need to rest. Like, I could barely get through a full day of work. But then, you know, I got into the routine of it, and then I loved it. It was like structure, and then we do have such a beautiful office. That was one of the things when I first went to Cloudflare, as with my TaskRabbit gig to work a party, I was like, this place is great. Like, I loved it. I like love the space. And so, you know, for me also, it's like this really good energetic fit of like great people, great ambiance. Obviously, at Cloudflare, I used to do the flowers, like somehow it became part of my job to, you know, make beautiful flower arrangements every Monday. And that was how I would start my week. Like, I'm going to beautify this space and look at these beautiful flowers, and it's going to bring joy to the people, and that's going to bring joy to me, you know. And so, when all of that just like got yanked away, I also thought kind of March, April, like, oh, we're going to be back in the office, you know. So, like, I didn't think it was that important to really figure out what I should be like, you know, like how I was going to do my job, you know. And obviously, like, even front, I'm a front desk person, there is no front desk here, you know. Like, my work, I don't even really have like an office setup. I have a completely pillow-based, couch-based ergonomic setup, you know, that I kind of chill out and, you know, on my laptop. I don't really have space for it in my studio, but I really think the mental health aspect of having a routine and, you know, knowing what you're doing and having a structure and a purpose to that each day. Without that, it can be really, like I said, like ungrounding, and you don't feel connected. And it's, for my mental health, it was like, it was a little struggle. And then, my friends started a daily singing practice. I've been to India a lot. So, you know, and in that place, when we go, we do a spiritual practice, and it's like singing for like an hour in Sanskrit. So, once I started doing that, like at home, that shifted everything for me. I was like, okay, like now I have a thing that I do every morning, and then that's how I start my day. And like it, you know, brings positive energy, and then like I do my work. And my job has changed, you know, your role has changed a bit. Now, you're not supporting Michelle anymore, but suddenly Cloudflare TV is a thing. How many hours a week do you think you're spending on that? You know, I don't really know. It's kind of all blended into my daily routines now, but it was definitely something fun to be a part of. And I will completely be honest. So, you know, admins are most, for the most part, kind of a type personality. We like structure. We like order. We're not really into like the unknown, right? So, when we were first approached with doing this, there was like Ashley sat me down, who is, you know, kind of running this whole thing on the back end. And she was like, Matthew really wants the admins involved. I'm like, that's great. We're always happy to help. And so, we were talking more of scheduling and structure and stuff like that. And you know, all the admins report to the executives, but because I support Matthew, I'm kind of sometimes the spokesperson as far as, you know, when Matthew says, let's get involved in something, I'll go back to the EAs and say like, hey, this is, you know, kind of the plan or whatever. And then in true, you know, we've never done this fashion. By the next day, I got on a call and then I talked about what we were doing. And then we added all these other things that needed to be done because a tiny, tiny team runs this 24-7 program and they're doing an amazing job. And so, I had to like take a step back because I was so overwhelmed. Always happy to help, but I came off that call like, oh my God, I just told the admins one thing. Now, we're having to do all these other things. And so, I took a step back in which I needed to do and I let it soak in because my mom always says I'm a reactor, like I freak out. And so, she's like, just think about it and then come back to it. And so, then I structured it all out in my EA way and was like, okay, we're going to do A, B, C, D. Put it in like functions where it's easy to see like this is how you do A, this is how you do B. And then I felt so much better about it. And then there's all this nervousness when it takes off. You don't know what you're doing. You don't know if it's going to work. And so, I feel like after the first week, all of the admins just felt so much better about being a part of Cloudflare TV. And the best part of it for me personally is that I get to talk to all these different people. Supporting Matthew and Michelle, I feel like my little world is very, very tiny. You know, you have Wendy who supports engineers and Uzman runs this huge team. With Matthew and Michelle, most of my interactions are with our executives and the board members. And so, it was really nice to meet all these names that I've seen in emails and things like that and chat with them before their segments and, you know, talk them off the ledge like Carla was doing with me earlier before the segment saying like, don't worry, you're going to be great. It's really easy. And just it's so it's just opened up my world to a lot of different awesome people. And it's given me more of that interaction that I think I've been craving since I left the office. You know, even if it's chats or, you know, little video shorts here and there, it could be very isolating being an EA because we don't have a lot of video conferences. We don't have a ton of those things. We're behind the scenes scheduling, doing all those things like that, answering a lot of emails, trying to stay on top of everything. So Cloudflare to me has been a project that I was so nervous about that has now given me so much happiness in my day to day. And it's just it's a lot of fun. It's a lot of fun. Yeah, I can relate also to that as far as also being someone, you know, who's supporting Cloudflare TV with the rest of our office team, which was great because it was like we need, you know, kind of like since we're not at the desk, you know, and our roles are kind of shifting and stuff like that, it was like, oh, good, like a project, like something to keep me busy throughout the week. And I really can relate to that, like being able to interact with different people in the company that otherwise I was never going to talk to, you know, like Chris from Singapore, like, you know, I mean, we have a huge or Sydney or Singapore somewhere in APAC, you know, so it's like I can really relate to like that helping with that social aspect and that, you know, being able to communicate. And then we're all learning something new, like it's like, OK, kind of like how I ended up doing this segment. You know, we kept getting all these emails like asking for content and I was just like, OK, well, you know, I could do something. My friends have been trying to get me to do some like YouTube video or, you know, like people have tried to kind of push me. I used to do stand up comedy. So I kind of like performing and but I had never done any kind of like video type stuff. So it's like a little bit of a jumping off the ledge to just to, you know, to send that email to you guys and be like, hey, you know, like why don't I host a show about like people's transitions to working from home? And it can be kind of, you know, again, it's like we have a few different interview type shows going on here on Cloudflare TV. You know, and of course, there's also the stuff that's like how to like, you know, very, you know, technical based stuff. But like, you know, it's like these are like our little mini fireside chats in a way where we just get to like talk to people and they get to say, hey, like I work at this company. This is this is how I'm adjusting to suddenly working at home. Another question about working from home. So you got married just last year, right? In twenty nineteen. October. Yes. October. And then you guys went to Bora Bora, which was probably really amazing. It's probably your last big trip for a while. And then we ended up in Disney World. So it's like we're never going to go to Disney World again. No, not anytime soon. It's open right now. I can't believe they're opening Disney World. But anyway, so how has that been? So suddenly, you know, you're married, you're newlyweds, you know, like, you know, and like when you're in a couple, it's like you get to go and do things together. And that's one of the fun things about being in a couple, you know, like so now you're at home and, you know, like and you're doing a remodel and and, you know, how's that going? Like how's newlywed life? I mean, it's going well. It's definitely been an adjustment. My husband and I kind of had this whirlwind courtship. And for the first two years we were together, we traveled everywhere. So and we've been together three years this November and, you know, we've gone to Bora Bora, we've gone to Florida, we've gone to Cabo, we've gone to Paris, we've gone to London. So we are definitely people that love to travel and be on the go. One of his favorite places is Vegas. I think I went like five or six times last year. So it's definitely been an adjustment. My husband loves to constantly be on the move and on the go. And one of the nice things is coming into 2020, I thought like, OK, now that the wedding's done, you know, we already went IPO because that was another crazy thing that was going on last year that I was a part of. It felt like, OK, 2020 is where we could slow down. I didn't realize we're going to have to slow down this much. But we did know that we were going to pull back because we had the remodel and things we wanted to do. But we kind of joke around. We say that like somebody is really making sure we are serious about our vows to like take a newlywed couple during a remodel and shove them in a house for six months is definitely different. We are very lucky, though. Our house is pretty spacious, so we're able to stay out of each other's way. And my husband actually works for a small family business. So he's been going into the office because he actually has his own office with a private bathroom and everything. So it feels relatively safe for him to go in and out. It's easier as somebody who's kind of one of the heads of the company to kind of be there because there are certain roles that do have to work from the office right now. So he's been going in. So as far as routine, that kind of feels a little bit the same. But I mean, it is it is different being quarantined. We I think we're doing a good job in the grand scheme of life. I will be honest. We've had our moments. A lot of it has to do with the remodel and things like that. But another thing that it's done is we're somebody who have always done Wednesday night date nights and we can't go anywhere. It just makes you be super creative. So we've created all these different, you know, Wednesday night date nights. We've done, you know, wine pairing and tasting together. We've made homemade pizzas. I did like a spa night and made him do like a face mask with me and everything. So in a nice way, it's also made us kind of be more creative and really, you know, make the effort to spend time together because you could definitely still live at home being stuck at home and have your, you know, life's just go parallel and do your own things. And so this has really gotten a different way for us to bond. And we didn't expect it. And we definitely had trips we're excited about that we're now canceling. But I would say in the grand scheme of life, we're doing really well. And what kind of dog do you have? She's a little 30 pound month. She's like part pit, part miniature pincher. She's very cute. And she loves somewhere in the room. I was going to ask about that earlier when we were talking about the dog. I was like, the dogs of the world, the dogs of America, they're not against the coronavirus the way that the humans are just because it's brought the people to be at home. You know, it's like the dogs must be so happy. They're so depressed. Their mental health, their routine got better. I mean, I'll go to the garage and come back up now and she acts like I was gone for years. She's so happy to see me. And she's kind of my little shadow. She literally follows me everywhere. You know, like even if I use the restroom, she's pine at the door because I've been gone for a minute. So that definitely be interesting when we go back to the office to see how she adjusts. But that's also been nice, too, because with him being gone all day and some days, you know, there are less interaction. I've told several people that I just find myself talking to my dog a lot more than I ever did before. Yeah, totally. I mean, that's nice that you have that other being. I've thought about that for me as well. I also really love to travel. As I was mentioning earlier, I've spent a good deal of my life kind of moving around and getting a pet has been something that it's like that would be like a nice to have, you know, like I think about a cat and I'm like, oh, I was studio. Where would the cat box go? But. Like then it's like, OK, but then once like once things start rolling again, then you still have that kind of responsibility. But do you think we would ever go like full dog in the office or are we still going to. No, I don't think we'll ever go full dog in the office like a dog, like I don't know. I think that just opens up so many doors to things that could just be bad. And, you know, there are even like there are people that have allergies to dogs or people that are terrified of dogs, you know. So I kind of agree with the no pet in the office, although it makes me sad. And even if we did, my dog's not well enough behaved to be sit on my feet all day or a dog. She's lovely, but she's she's funny. And one might bring your dog to work day and like allergy. The people with allergies could work from home that day because we do with the kids feel like with allergies to work from home that day. And since we do that now and then the people are afraid of dogs could also work from home. You know, I think we could probably do a Cloudflare bring your dogs to South Park day and do a park. Maybe we should have like a bring your dog, like a dog meet up or something. I I want to see people's dogs, I guess is what I'm saying. Like, I miss I don't have a routine where I'm really getting outside. I think that's something I need to add in, you know, to my realm is like some kind of a movement based practice. You know, like I'm a little bit too sedentary. I loved like run around the office. I like normally have to be at the front desk. I'm like, hey, everybody, I got to go change the water on the flowers, you know, and I just go around and that's when I get to talk to people, you know, stop by. And I really miss that organic flow of like just running into somebody and having a conversation. I think that's one of the hardest things, you know, I try to ping people sometimes on chat, but like, you know, I'm not going to ping, you know, certain people that like I would be able to organically have a conversation like I don't want to like you know, I'm like not trying to poke people and be like, hey, hey, you know, like, you know, what's going on? How are you? So it's like, you know, you kind of like, like in the office, you just, you would run into people and I really miss that. We don't get to. No, I miss that too. Um, when we had our, um, Cloudflare day and we broke out into the separate groups and stuff like that, Thomas Seifer, the CFO, um, he sits next to me in the pod and it was the first time I seen him in like four months and we were both like, hi, I miss you. How are you doing? Um, so it's just all those people that you, like you said, you get to run into, but you don't necessarily interact with on your day to day. Cause you just don't work with them as closely. Like those are the faces that I kind of miss too. And having those conversations again, like I said, by the coffee machine, when you're going to the kitchen to grab a snack or whatnot, um, it does, it, it's that, I think it's also really great that we have a job that we actually miss going to every day, you know, like not everybody. There's people that dread going to work every single day and drag themselves to the office and, you know, not saying I don't enjoy my vacations or my weekends or things like that. But like I said, for me, Cloudflare office just offers me this peace and comfort. And I really, truly enjoy the colleagues that I get to work with and I've made some really great friendships and I genuinely miss the people on a day to day. And so I think that speaks volumes and I feel very blessed to have something that I can miss like that. And then also just extremely lucky that, you know, we are able to work full-time offsite and succeed and be able to do our job. Um, I had to keep me reminding myself that again, and kind of the March and April darkness, um, of, you know, there's people that aren't that lucky that are sitting there and they have to be home because they lost their job or they got pulled to part-time and, you know, that, you know, adds to different finance issues and things like that. So we are so lucky in so many ways. And so on the days that I find myself having harder times, I really try to focus my energy on those things, um, to keep me motivated and to keep me wanting to do great things with Cloudflare. Yeah. I agree with that as well, that we are very, um, we're in a industry that, you know, still has growth, you know, coming, you know, it's, it's like, obviously, you know, some of our customers, you know, are being affected, you know, by what's happening, you know, so it's not like we're, we're, um, above, you know, any of the ramifications, you know, of this like severely, like devastating economic impact of this pandemic. Um, there's these tiny little gnats that live in my plants and they, they, one of them just wanted to be on TV with us. The one thing about having plants, um, but yeah, I, I'm so grateful. Like, you know, we, we did an IPO and, you know, like it's been doing, you know, we've been doing well and like, I am, I'm so proud of like Matthew and Michelle for like starting this company and Lee Holloway, um, of course. Um, you know, just like when I hear them talk, like when they're doing segments and you just get to hear about like how Cloudflare started and like all the growth that we've had, I, I'm just grateful that it exists in the world. And somehow with my manifestation powers, you know what I mean? Like, you know, like I, I found it and I certainly miss, you know, seeing you at the office and I'm so grateful that you were able to, um, do this segment. We just are going to wrap up here in about 40 seconds. Um, is there anything that any final like things that you want to say, like, or anything that you're excited about in the future in 20 seconds that you can tell me? Um, yeah, I mean, I'm, I'm just excited to see how far this Cloudflare TV goes, um, how things are going to go. And again, just really happy to be working with Cloudflare. When I interviewed for this job, I said, I wanted to see myself here in five years and I'll hit that five years next April. So for me, that's a personal win. And, um, and it's really exciting and it's amazing to have seen it from four years ago to now. So, well, we are very lucky to have you. We're very lucky to have you. And I'm sure everyone would agree with that. And, um, I appreciate you taking the time today to do the segment and thank you.