Every Friday, our new weekly column talks to CEOs, founders and tech leaders about the benefits they’ve discovered from WFH in 2020.
This week it’s Mario Hasanakos. co-founder of fintech Spriggy, the pocket money app and card that gives kids financial wisdom and independence, alongside parental oversight.
“Covid-19 has put an enormous strain on so many of us as individuals and our families. No matter how you measure it, our work, our families and our lives will never be the same,” he said.
“But like in all change there are wonderful opportunities to build things back better than before. Remote work has its challenges, but there is tremendous opportunity to make our workplaces healthier, more productive and closer to the things that really matter in each of our lives.”
Here are the six things that spark joy about Mario’s home office life:
1. My wonderful partner in life
One of the best parts about working from home has been how much time we’ve been able to spend together.
Working life can be tough on relationships and doubly so when you’re a founder. It feels like you’re always borrowing from your relationship to live up to your commitments to the business.
Now we work out of the same home office and see each other all day, I feel like we’re closer than ever.
And that closeness gives me strength and patience and positivity for my work day I never knew I was missing.
Now if only I could figure out a way not to be so loud on the phone, she might even enjoy having me around too…
2. My Family
One of those home office locations happens to be in my partner’s parents’ house on the south coast of NSW.
Unbound from the daily office commute we’ve been able to flee the city apartment and stay with them for weeks at a time.
We’ve spent more time together than I can ever remember: cooking, laughing, playing games, we’ve had a blast.
We’ve always built Spriggy with the purpose of helping families, but one of the unexpected costs is that it often takes us away from our own.
I couldn’t have predicted working from home would bring us closer as a family, but it’s something wonderful the experience has brought to our lives.
3. The team and their family
And it’s not just me getting the opportunity to spend more time with family, it’s the whole team. Whether it’s screaming kids running through the frame of video calls or triumphant photos of the kids headed back to school in April posted by the team (we know what you’re going through Victorian families, we’re cheering for you!), it’s been a joy seeing so many of the team get to spend more time with their kids. There’s evidence everywhere that new work from home models are a great benefit for working parents. We’ve always gone the extra mile to make Spriggy a great place to work for parents, but in a world more equipped than ever for remote work, there’s so much more opportunity for us to help parents thrive at Spriggy while balancing the challenges of building a career and raising a family.
4. Werri Beach
One of the blessings of getting out of the city has been spending more time outside.
I was born in regional Queensland and we did most of our growing up outside with dirt under our fingernails and sand between our toes.
It’s been 15 years of city living since then and I’d gotten used to the idea that sun and fresh air only came with boarding passes and annual leave days. Not true it turns out!
There’s a wonderful world right outside our door step. Probably still need some convincing that NSW beaches are better than Queensland’s, but with views like this I can feel my allegiance wavering.
One wonderful dividend of shortening my commute from 90 minutes each day to 15 steps has been newfound time for cooking.
With a house full of family to cook for, a bigger kitchen and some newfound ambition, it’s been a joy cooking up a storm a few times a week.
We’ve planted herbs, roasted over coals, homemade pasta, built roasting racks. It’s been a delicious adventure.
And a really mindful one too, creating the space to really enjoy our meals together instead of just trying to get something down between the bus ride home and those emails you need to get back to before bed.
6. 15kgs bags of fertiliser
This is a photo of my partner and I planting up a storm in our new herb garden (I was taking a little more operational responsibility for the job than Steph…).
Between cooking at home and getting outside, it’s actually been wonderful for our health. We’ve always encouraged the team to take care of their physical and mental wellbeing at Spriggy, but somewhere on the way you forget those messages apply to you as a founder too.
The urgency of change that came with the response to COVID-19 was enough to open ears to my own advice. A few healthy habit changes have done wonders for me and I’ve lost 15kgs since we moved remote earlier this year.
Hard to believe I was carrying around that bag of fertiliser everywhere I went before the last few months.