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The WFH Diaries – David Haddad at Unruly – AdNews

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David Haddad.

AdNews last year launched the WFH Diaries during the depths of the fallout from the pandemic, a way of sharing how people managed their days.

This time, with lockdown running again, we’re asking for a run down on how everyone likes to start their day working from home. Some dress to impress, others slip on the t-shirt. And everyone has their own way to carve the day into manageable chunks.

David Haddad, ANZ Managing Director, Unruly:

It’s 5.30 am, the same wake-up time as yesterday, it will be the same wake-up time tomorrow and it doesn’t matter if it’s the weekend. I don’t choose to be up at 5.30 am however our 18-month-old baby Gigi has decided this is her call time – bring on daylight savings already! Thankfully she’s been sleeping for 10 hours straight, and my wife and I know we’re very lucky (touch wood) to have it this way. Gigi is very much my morning routine, and it starts with her standing up in her cot with a huge smile and a loud “hiiii” for me. It’s pretty special and gives me a great boost of happiness to start the day, as does the double macchiato I make as soon as Gigi finishes her bottle.

Mornings are for calls with US colleagues, evenings are typically when I connect with our UK-based colleagues. My weekly schedule is very consistent with the same meetings usually taking place on the same day & time each week. I’m a big fan of a routine and find that to be especially useful when working from home – it helps signpost the week and gives me a rhythm of sorts.  

Outside of the regular meetings (weekly all-staff, sales WIP, 1-1s, strategy and product sessions), it’s important to leave time in my schedule for connecting with customers, suppliers and partners. We’re a passionate, collaborative team that’s proud of our unique, nurturing and inclusive culture and I always want to have enough spare time in the day so I can be available for when “stuff” pops up … this virtual open-door policy has been a part of our culture for many years. We also have a weekly ‘open house’ that has been in place prior to the pandemic, where anyone can drop by during those hours and share what’s on their mind.

Given we are unable to do face-to-face at the moment, meetings are a highlight in my week, and I always enjoy seeing familiar and new faces on the laptop. I started this role just over a year ago, in a WFH capacity, and in many ways, each video call is my opportunity to get to know a colleague or customer a little bit better. Can’t wait to be back to in-person meetings!

Well-being matters for our team and a must-have for me is exercise and I’ll always find some time in the day to get out there for a run, do a bike ride or some weights. Some days I’m a bit lazy but I’ll still get outside for a nice walk with my wife and daughter. One habit I’ve discovered is getting dressed for the day in workout clothes … it’s a subtle reminder to go do something if I’m still in said clothes by late afternoon!

Tips for getting through the day.

It’s great to be at an organisation that really understands that things can be a little tough from time to time, especially working from home, and is fully committed to enabling flexible working options, where possible. Working from home involves a whole other set of challenges that vary for everyone. Rather than being fixated on 9-to-5, my team and I have the autonomy to plan our day the way we see fit which allows us to deliver our best at work and also set aside time for things that are important to us. I’m a big believer in blocking out time in my diary so that I can get stuff done and that includes both work and personal tasks. If I need to move a block of time around to another day, then I don’t feel too guilty because it’s usually to free up some time in the day for the team or a client.

We’re a super-connected team and have all the tools and tech at our fingertips for both formal and casual meetings, from collaborative tools such as online whiteboards and instant messaging to video chats and cloud-based file sharing. We love working on a deck together in real-time. And as much as I enjoy seeing faces through video calls, I’ve also rediscovered talking on a phone (held up to my ear!) It’s amazing. I highly recommend it as a way to break up the screen time and I always end up walking around the room when on a call, so that’s a nice mini break too.

We’ve recently started Friday afternoon team (virtual) trivia sessions – feels like we might be on to an instant classic here that will stick around beyond WFH and lockdowns. 

Distractions you face working from home?

I’m incredibly fortunate to have my wonderful wife at home all day looking after Gigi. When I have a moment to get away from my laptop it’s a real delight to be able to hang out with my girls and see how their day is going.

Don’t be too hard on yourself; allow time for distractions. It’s a great way to refresh mental energy and often you can solve an issue or find some creativity in those unplanned moments of distraction.

Upside and a downside to WFH

Being at home to see my daughter grow up, every day, and knowing she is so well looked after by her mum. What an upside. I’ve spoken to so many new parents over the last two years who all agree we’ve been so lucky to have this time in our life that would have otherwise been fleeting moments before/after work. I thank my lucky stars every day for this. I’ve got so much appreciation and respect for full-time at home parents – wow talk about a full-on day with no ‘going off camera’ for a meeting.

The downside is the lack of in-person meetings and social gatherings. I remember a moment in December 2020 when we managed to do a couple of end-of-year gatherings, and I can’t wait to get back into that. 

Once meetings are done for the day, the laptop is shut down. I will occasionally check emails/messages coming in on my phone and I try to avoid responding to them until the next day. I have to be part of the bath and bedtime routine with Gigi, so I try to avoid meetings that overlap with this ritual. Once the baby is asleep there’s always time for a glass (or three) of wine, making dinner and binge-watching TV with my wife.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

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