Rebecca Cook, Associate Director of Multi-Family, gives us her tips and tricks to create a productive and balanced life while working from home.
Q: How long have you been with Friedman and what is your role?
A: My name is Rebecca Cook; I am an Associate Director of Property Management with the Multi-Family division. I have been with Friedman for about six months. I started in property management in 1994 as a Leasing Agent on a class A property.
Q: What does your day to day look like in your current role?
A: My every day is a little bit different. The people, the places, the properties that we manage, every day throws me a curveball! I think that is one of the things I like about property management the most.
Q: Where are you based out of in your current role?
A: I am based out of the Houston area, Southeast Houston. But my office is in my home, I telecommute.
Q: What do you feel is the most interesting part of your job?
A: The most interesting part of my job is working with all the different people. People at the corporate office, the on-site employees, the field employees, contractors, even the residents. The variety makes it a lot of fun!
Q: Do you have a routine to start the day?
A: I have a routine to start every day. I get up, shower, dress just like everybody else and eat breakfast. When I am done and ready to start the day instead of going to my car, I grab that last cup of coffee and head upstairs to my office. I turn on my desk lamp, fire up my computer, open the blinds, and sit down and start just like I walked into my office that day.
Q: What is usually on your desk and in your workspace?
A: My desk is very clear most days. I have my monitors, a desk lamp, phone, couple pens, and paper, maybe a few files off to the side. I need a clear workspace in order to keep my focus on the work at hand.
Q: What is the best about working from home?
A: The lack of commute!
Q: What do you find is personally the hardest part of working from home?
A: The lack of human interaction. The company does a great job with technology of helping us have videos, instant messenger, somebody is always available to me and I can look at them and talk with them and hear their voices. However, there is something nice about just sharing a cup of coffee over a watercooler or getting to know each other a little bit better that way.
Q: What advice do you have for those transitioning from a traditional office to a new home position?
A: I think it is important to put your environment in place first. Trying to retrofit and squish your work environment into your family or home environment can be difficult. Having a dedicated space free of distractions; the dishes, the laundry, other household things and obligations going on. Because when you’re at work you’re on, you’re at work. So, having a space where you can shut the door and be done with it at the end of the day has made all the difference for me.
Q: How do you keep a work-life balance?
A: That is a very interesting question because I keep the same work-life balance when I telecommute as I did when I commuted to an office. It was important to me to keep that routine and everything the same. When I am done with work I am done with work and if I take a lunch break, I take a lunch break. But I am in my office from when I start to when I finish, and I think that is what helps me keep that work-life balance. Making it no different when you telecommute as when you are in an office environment.
Q: How do you stay motivated?
A: The same way I stayed motivated when I had a job inside of an office. You had your morning routines; you start your day with music or podcasts whatever that looks like. You have your coffee, you get dressed, you go to the office (whether it’s inside your home or not). You have to stay self-disciplined when you are working from home. The work doesn’t go away, and you have more productive hours because you’re not commuting. But I think it is important that you are a self-motivated individual.
Q: What is your favorite day of the workweek and why?
A: My favorite day of the workweek is Friday’s. I lovingly call them Mop-Up-Fridays! I find it’s best that I wrap everything up, I cross all my t’s, dot all my i’s, finish up the work and then come Monday morning I’m ready to go! It also frees up some brain space for me on the weekends, and I find that is the best way for me to reset.
Q: In your afternoon low what gets you through the day?
A: When the afternoon low hits, I have found I am reenergized most by getting up and doing some stretches. Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in your work and before you know it four or five hours have gone by and your blood is just not circulating. A little bit of impromptu yoga goes a long way!
Q: In your opinion what makes Friedman one of the best places to work?
A: I think Friedman is one of the top places to work because they integrate so much technology into the workplace. For me, telecommuting as far away from the main office as I am makes having the right technology so important. I have video conferences, we have video phones, and everything is at my fingertips.
Q: What would you tell someone that is looking to join Friedman?
A: Anybody looking to join Friedman I would let them know it is a great organization. We have the technology, we are up on modern trends, and it’s a fun place to work!
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