Decompression from the work day used to happen in the car on the commute home. Then, the most tech-advanced and forward-thinking organizations started encouraging a more remote workforce. In fact, some were even forgoing the concept of offices entirely.
Long, long before COVID, some of the resulting remote employees were commuting from the kitchen to the dining room table without even putting pants on before that became a mainstream norm. Encouraged by their organization’s trust and the freedom that flexibility brings, satellite offices were set up on the edge of kitchen islands, in the corner of bedrooms and on coffee tables.
Extra flexibility is nice, but it introduces a problem: how do you disconnect from work when it's right there on the table? Mocking you, saying things like, “come on, just one more email, no one will know.”
The struggle is real and is far from lost on Eric Portugal Welsh, Director of RevOps with Demostack, a company he joined less than a year ago that helps organizations create demos in minutes instead of hours or days. His desire was to join the company early, and create the framework for RevOps before it became too much of a clean-up type of role.
“When I started, we had about three sellers and three business development people here,” he explains. “It allowed me to get the infrastructure in place early and prepare the team for scale.”
He’s experienced being brought in too late in other companies and didn’t want to repeat that experience.
Demostack operates in three countries: Israel, Serbia and the United States. While there are physical offices in the other countries, US-based employees like Eric are fully remote.
“We’re a company that was created during the pandemic, so in the US, especially, we’re remote first, which is great for flexibility purposes, but also provides some challenges,” he says.
There are quarterly in-person meetings where the team spends a week together, builds relationships and establishes rapport to return to working alone, but together. This tug-of-war between introverted and extroverted work behaviors is pretty common now in just about every field and sector. Eric’s wife also works from home a few days a week.
It makes setting work/life boundaries even more important.
So, without that driving commute, how does he ensure a productive work day that isn’t 15 hours long and haunts his dreams too? Turns out, Eric used to commute to his old job by bike. There’s nothing to stop him from biking in a large circle to mimic a round trip to a workplace..
“I used to commute by bike. Rather decent distances, like 20 miles each way,” he says. “All I would do is focus on the road and that was it. Then when I got home, I felt fresh and reinvigorated. Now, if I ride in the morning, it gets me really energized for the day. After work, it gives me time to reflect on the day and if I have a challenge that I’ve been working on all day and can’t figure out, sometimes the solution will just pop into my head on the ride when I’m not thinking about it.”
That makes starting the day early essential if he’s going to get a bike ride in and be ready to chat with co-workers in Tel Aviv or Serbia.
Team members overseas tend to work later in the day to provide some work time overlap with their US-counterparts, but it still means Eric is logging into meetings as early as 6:30 am.
“My morning usually starts by getting up, taking the dogs out, getting my coffee and then just kind of relaxing for a little while,” he says. When it starts to get lighter out earlier, I’ll go for maybe a one-and-a-half, two-hour bike ride before I sit in front of my computer.”
At that point, he responds to Slack messages and dives into other communications before rolling into meetings. During these meetings, his on-site co-workers (a cocker spaniel and a chihuahua Italian greyhound cross), sleep nearby.
“The mornings are typically meeting heavy because you’re trying to catch up with everybody from the Israel office,” he explains.
There isn’t much time for pausing once the day begins. That’s what makes the morning head-clearing activity so important. Eric may take the dogs for a quick walk in the middle of the day, but his afternoons are generally filled with communication with the US teams or working on projects.
Some of the meetings with other departments in the afternoons are live work sessions for mapping things out and collaborating. This helps define things in real time. Then, he may take that information to do some solo work.
“I dive into the data, start building out new processes,” he says. “I’m at a place and time with Demostack where I’m doing all the tactical work along with the planning and strategizing.”
His afternoons also include the “do it” time.
He will start that solo-work part of the day with anything that has broken or needs a fix, or addressing critical process issues.
Or he might dive into something he’s been working on.
But, as everyone knows, that can be a rabbit hole in itself. Starting an exciting project at 3pm can often lead to a late night. He says his brain tells him when it’s time to shut the day down.
“I’m a morning person, so I get my best thinking and work done in the morning, typically,” he says. “Around five o’clock for me is when I need to just step away and my brain needs to process what’s happened to it all day.”
If he stayed at his desk, of course he’d keep working. There’s always one more Slack message that could be answered…
“But, we have a pretty good schedule here,” he explains of his and his wife’s routine. “Each of us is responsible for cooking a few nights a week. I just have to be done by then.”
The couple also has a no-phones-at-the-table rule.
Despite those boundaries, there are still times where he might work until 1:00am. He sees the benefit of building the systems now so that the future won’t require too many late nights.
“Sometimes the only time you get to build is when nobody’s bothering you. It’s after dinner,” he explains. “Sometimes you have to launch a new system with almost no notice and you’re working till 1am or 2am.”
Eric is a unique blend of someone who loves to work with a team and build them up while also digging into the tactical elements of work.
“Getting to coach people would be fantastic. It’s why I can’t wait to actually start building out a team, getting to see them grow,” he says. “But, I think if you took me away from the tactical completely, I would find my way to get back into it. I think it’s fun.”
Interesting tidbit about Eric: he grew up in Maine and spent time working on tall ships. He’s definitely something of a renaissance man.
Be sure to stay tuned as we continue our Day-in-the-Life series with other pros from Revenue.io’s The Top 25 RevOps Leaders of 2022 list.
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