Remote Work: The Key to Striving at Work and Achieving Your Dreams

Sponsored by Axon

Kate Puech

Kate Puech. Photo courtesy of Axon.

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As an aspiring plane pilot and Director of AI Engineering at Axon, Kate Puech has a busy schedule. Learn how she sets firm boundaries which allow her to strive at work without compromising on her dreams. One of the main reasons why this is possible for her is Axon’s continued emphasis on supporting their employees through a culture and benefits that people really need — which includes the ability to work remotely. 

“Remote work is a game changer for parents and all individuals who have a passion or a dream beyond work,” Kate says. “Companies allowing remote work will see talented people flocking to their workforce.” And, looking to the future, she believes that remote working is here to stay. 

Working from home “allows people to live in more affordable areas, to spend time with their family (especially their youngest kids) instead of in traffic jams, and pursue their passion besides work,” Kate elaborates. “While meeting in person from time to time might help, technologies allowing people to connect virtually across the globe keep getting better and better. I feel so close to my employees in spite of the distance separating us that I sometimes forget I haven’t seen some of them in person!”  

While working from home can lead to burnout, Kate makes sure to protect her time by setting up a few simple rules: “no lunch in my office, exercise once a day, and take a walk at the end of the day,” she says. And, this is just the start of how she makes working remotely work for her!

Here, we spoke with Kate about all things related to her work-life balance: from how to set boundaries and best work remotely to how Axon supports her. Here’s what she had to say.

What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Regularity trumps binge working. No matter the mood of the day or the amount of pressure, I stick to my 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. routine. I accomplish my work during very focused working hours - and get my evening and weekends mostly free.

My day starts with a cup of coffee, reviewing my agenda and prioritizing my time for the upcoming day: documents to review, meetings with teammates, other Axon Directors and other AI companies — everything must fit between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m! The remainder of my time is sacrosanct and reserved for my family. At 4 p.m., I take a one-hour break to go swimming or running. This short exercise break refreshes me and allows me to take evening meetings with a sharp, focused mind.

Can you tell us more about how you “check out” and focus on your personal life outside of these set hours? And how does Axon support you in doing this?

As I mentioned, I value exercise a lot. I block out one hour every day to exercise. When it happens that a meeting falls into that slot, we find another time. I put a strict limit on evening work as well: nothing after 7 p.m. As for weekends, I am up in the air flying, or hiking with my husband. When people don’t respect these boundaries, I kindly remind them, and they find another time to meet me if it’s not critical. My manager supports me 100% on that front, so I never feel bad doing so.

Overall, what are your top tips for excelling in a hybrid/remote job?

  1. When possible, have a room dedicated to working, which you leave at the end of the workday.

  2. Set up boundaries, and work only during well-defined time periods.

  3. Exercise and get out!  

What role does Axon play in helping you excel in a remote/hybrid role?

The company makes sure there is no such thing as a central location. Rather, we treat all our geo-centers as poles of equal importance. If an important company event involves several locations, it will be scheduled at a good time for all parties. Content is recorded as much as possible.  The company also fosters a culture of written collaboration, which reduces the amount of meetings involving people from different geolocations to the strict minimum. 

How else does Axon help support work-life balance?

Axon provides great health benefits, and managers and leaders support their employees through life events (birth, weddings, sick leaves and more). 

This year, for example, only a few months into my job, I was able to take time off and get married. My peers made sure I could disconnect for that very special time. I’m really grateful to them.

 


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