When family circumstances meant Thomas needed to return to India in late 2021, he went back to his home town of Pala, Kerala for 4.5 months. It was important that we supported Thomas during this time, and we happily engaged with our client to approve a remote arrangement – another dynamic in a post-pandemic world! Working from his family home, Thomas was able to look after affairs and still keep on top of client commitments and a schedule running on Australian time zones. After he touched back down in Sydney, we had a chat to him about his experience – check out his thoughts below!
What did the day-to-day look like when working so far away from your core team?
I would usually need to get up at around 4:30am to start work, and work til midday. It meant a strange sleep schedule and some meetings very early in the morning, but it also meant I got to spend time with my mother in the afternoons. That was a great bonus; it’s actually the longest time I’ve spent back home in about 20 years so the time with her was very special.
What were the biggest challenges?
Probably the fact that there were already several people in the project on different time zones. The client’s offshore team were in India too so we had that advantage – it was easier to find a time that overlapped for all of us and I could communicate with them really easily. But then when the client also had a designer working from LA and Canada…the overlap time became pretty small between Australia, North America and India.
It also took some adjusting that, here, if you have issues or questions you pick up the phone and call – obviously you can’t do that as easily from overseas. There were some troubles with multifactor authentications…these days most of them support the mobile app authentication but there were some times when I needed to get an SMS on my Australian number to get the VPN sorted and stuff like that.
How did your Australian team go with the experience?
They were all quite accommodating, I was very lucky with that. They were aware of the time difference and wouldn’t set up a meeting at an inconvenient time for me unless it was absolutely vital. They all knew what I was going through and that it wasn’t like a holiday, there were really important reasons for me to be away. So they were supportive.
Were there any unexpected benefits you encountered?
I found that the internet speed was better than here! That side of infrastructure has grown quite a lot in India recently, it’s grown way beyond what I remember from the last time which is great to see. I think there’s a lot of young people there as well who, since the pandemic, are working and travelling around a lot – some things that would have been quite rare in my younger days!
And how did your wife and kids go without you?
Really well, haha. I think I’ve started a trend here, everyone is saying things seem to have gone better! They might tell me to go away again, fewer issues…but I am glad to be back.