Sponsored by KinderCare Learning Companies
Raquel Garcia. Photo courtesy of KinderCare Learning Companies.
Raquel Garcia’s most memorable piece of career advice came from her father when she was feeling discontent and stagnant in a previous role and considering leaving to pursue self employment.
“My father encouraged me to take the leap of faith, give it all I had, and not look back,” recalls Garcia. “He was certain that I’d regret not at least attempting to go out on my own. After giving it some thought, I knew he was right — I’d always regret not taking that leap of faith… At the core of that advice was guidance to always bet on myself, take calculated risks, and not be afraid of failure.” As one of her favorite quotes goes, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Looking back, Garcia tells us that this “advice had a profound impact on my career trajectory and led to experiences I leveraged to elevate my career in later years.” For example, her experience of running her own consultancy for four years resulted in Garcia becoming a better business partner and leader today in her role as the Director of Talent Acquisition at KinderCare Learning Companies — a company she’s now been at for almost 12 years.
This confidence and readiness to try new things also benefited Garcia when she switched to a remote work style years ago. Since then, she’s seen companies move from more on-site roles, to remote, and back to pushing for more in-person and hybrid work styles. As Garcia describes it, we’ve seen a pendulum swing from “primarily onsite roles to fully remote and now more hybrid options.” This means that many workers have had to adapt to changing styles of work and try out new styles that they may be unsure about. (At KinderCare, however, remote work is here to stay! KinderCare offers a wealth of opportunities for those looking for remote corporate roles.)
Here, Garcia shares her best advice for working remotely, finding a work-life balance that enables you to thrive, and how KinderCare supports employees like her!
KinderCare supports and encourages work-life balance. At KinderCare, we recognized early into the pandemic that our ability to attract, engage, and retain top talent would be enhanced by offering remote opportunities, and we have embraced a remote model. We have adjusted and flexed our culture, workstyle, and technology so employees can work and thrive remotely!
And, as the country emerged from the COVID-19 lockdown, we have continued to embrace remote and hybrid work, allowing employees to work from wherever they wanted. This enabled many of our employees to relocate to other parts of the country.
Most employees can work from our beautiful corporate office as much or as little as they desire. We also offer unlimited paid time off for all salaried employees and flexible work schedules for all teams whose functions can support this. All employees are encouraged to take time off to be away and unplugged.
For employees working in our centers, we have numerous perks and benefits as well! We also have amazing Talent Investment and Culture teams that have created and delivered trainings around how to achieve a healthy balance and avoid burnout.
Taking breaks throughout the day is essential to avoiding burnout! I try to get out for walks and take the time to stretch throughout the day. In addition, I travel to our offices in person once a quarter. Working remotely has so many benefits, but occasionally getting to see and work with my colleagues in person is a great energizer. That said, a great way to avoid burnout is to do work that you love, for a company with an amazing culture, and with phenomenal colleagues.
KinderCare’s unlimited time off and flexible schedule have enabled me to be there for my children’s milestones, providing the flexibility to take time off when I need it whether it’s to care for a sick kid at home, travel with family, or volunteer in my children’s classrooms. I love to travel, hike, and spend time with my two boys in my off time, and my leader is always supportive of this.
Have a dedicated workspace. Even if you can’t devote an entire room in your home to an office, create a space that’s devoted exclusively to working, where distractions are minimized. Not only will this enable you to be more productive and focused, it helps establish boundaries between your work and personal life.
Take breaks! There are fewer distractions working from home, which can be great for productivity. But that can also lead to situations where you get engrossed in your work and forget to take care of yourself.
Be intentional about building relationships with peers and colleagues. Take the time to reach out and stay in touch. Without opportunities for “water cooler” conversations, you have to be very intentional about relationship building in a remote setting.
Develop a higher level of communication — and leverage technology to do that. My teams and I utilize Slack and text for quick messages, WebEx for meetings, and email to stay connected and aligned.
Create a schedule and routine! I have been working remotely for almost two decades and initially envisioned sleeping in until nine and working in my pajamas until noon. I quickly realized that not having a routine and schedule made my life chaotic, and it was hard to be productive. I generally aim to start work at the same time every day.