2020... I need say no more. We've been in the office, out of the office, in, out, and in the office again. Tumultuous is one of the many words that come to mind to describe this year.
While we’ve had heaps of support at REA to help us make it through the challenges of this year, I'm going to draw on my experience of my first six weeks in the office to showcase what a 'day in the life' when able to go to the office (with some tidbits from different teams I've been in)!
(Slight brag) I'm on the Merri Creek Trail, cycling past ducks, slower cyclists, and the Children's Farm, which has animals for children to see (not quite what the name suggests).
I've arrived at the office. I leave my bike in storage and head to the showers, taking advantage of our towel service (fresh towels daily). Sidenote: we support our charity partner Orange Sky by including them in our laundry service and wash whatever they have recently used.
Hit up my locker, grab my vertical mouse, laptop, and whatever else I need to set up my hot desk. Squads have sections, but we can sit wherever we like in that section. We’re also welcome to sit in other squad and team sections as required for the work we’re doing. I opt for a standing desk most days... If you're reading this, straighten your back!
Head down to the community café on the ground floor with my team to get a fresh coffee – where REA lets us buy coffee in return for a donation to charity. We can pay by tapping our employee cards and selecting one of our charity partners for the payment to go to, and it's pre-tax too!
Sidebar: we do this thing at REA called coffee roulette where once a month we get matched up at random to have coffee with someone in the business. It’s a great chance to meet one of the 900 people in this building and learn about things.
The coffee has been consumed and it's time to check emails and Slack and organise my day.
Before I finish my day, I like to write down exactly what I need to do when I start again (curse my poor memory!) so around about now I'll check my instructions and get cracking. We have a strong pairing culture at REA, so often I'll be working with someone else, or I'll hit up the team to see if anyone's free.
What does this work entail? Moving cards and grooving hard (no-one else says that, don't worry). Every team has different responsibilities, so I might be pushing features, migrating a database, reviewing pull requests, or any other host of activities.
Or, one morning a week, I'll study some tech and/or work on a side-project in an area I'm interested in (like upgrading an internal tech-scanning tool). There is NO delivery pressure on graduates (you’re a bonus to a team’s capacity) so your work can suit your learning style and goals.
I've done my good deed for the day and bought a community cafe coffee – so now I head to one of the espresso machines in the Hub for a quick shot of the good, free stuff.
Most of the time I grab lunch with the other grads, either at a local restaurant, pub (on Fridays), or heat up something from home in the Hub.
Once or twice a week I'll head out with my team into the Richmond area. There's always a good gang going.
There's so much space in the office that if I want a quiet lunch on my own with a book, that's an option too.
There’s also a soccer interest group plays when it’s not too hot too, and I’m keen to get into that when that starts back.
Back at work except for... Summer Fridays! That's a new initiative where if we’ve finished our work for the week by midday on Friday's, we can finish for the day. Woohoo!
Every other day we'll have stand-up. It's the middle of the day because a couple of our Devs are in Xi'an, China, so that's like 9 am or something for them. It's a bit odd because it means my 'workdays' kind of start now, but it's easy to get used to.
We'll also do our retros, iteration planning, and any other meetings now.
I have a little ritual where I head to the Hub and toast a sandwich. Toasties centre me.
Then... back at work. Refreshed, new cards collected, things to do. Unless, of course, I'm meeting with my tech mentor, people mentor, grad buddy, or manager (you can dial up or down how much of each of these you want to do).In my opinion, learning from the talent at REA is one of the best things on offer.
My team does a 10-30 minute game session every day. It started to keep us in touch because of COVID/work-from-home but everyone loved it so much we're keeping it. Morale is the backbone of productivity, I always say!
Wind up for the day. Tell future-Hugh what he needs to do in the morning because he will NOT remember what the heck he was working on.
Back on the bike, heading home along the creek. Promise myself I'll come in at 8 am tomorrow so I can leave at 4 pm. Know I'm lying to myself. Love it!