Steve November 25, 2021
what-are-you-thankful-for-at-work?

What are you thankful for?

It’s the time of year when we focus more intently on thanks and giving. Our community has shared what that means to them.

I’m grateful for flexible schedules. As a TAM (Technical Account Manager) I worked from home before working from home was cool because I have a family that needs me here. I also need to be available for my customers, but sometimes I need to take care of family business during business hours. I make up for it, which means sometimes my work hours are, well, unusual. I’m grateful for Red Hat’s trust and the freedom it allows so I can manage both family and work. —Greg Scott

I find it hard to choose just one. Flexible schedules had always been an item on my preferred workplace list. It is hard to get when you present multi-day classes to customers though. I am always thankful for what scheduling adjustments can be made and especially a few years ago when my mom got sick. As someone that lives alone, the pandemic really put a dent in contact with like minds. I have family in the neighborhood so it is not as isolated as some, but I am still thankful for the real-time remote contact that I do get through work. Add in the patience navigating low bandwidth connection, and when we get a good enough connection for video it is nice to see smiling faces. —Susan Lauber 

For me, it has to be smiling faces. The virtual office has been wonderful for our organization because we have stepped up to it, individually and collectively. We have a company-wide virtual weekly meeting to make sure we are all connected where we talk about things that matter to us as people. For example, we had a series of meetings back in July and August where each meeting was centered around a virtual tour of someone’s hometown. Another example: Two weeks ago, we had a very interesting guest who runs a popular blog on politics, leading up to the elections in Chile. Because of these meetings we have come to know each other better as we share smiles (and sometimes tears). We have also reduced the number of administrative in-person meetings in Santiago to nearly zero, which means our carbon footprint is smaller, fewer of us are stressed with traveling, and our costs are lower. More generally, virtual working has “virtually eliminated” (I like the new meaning of that phrase) commuting for those who don’t choose to do so, reducing their daily stress and costs. It also lets us put our staff where they can be more effective for clients and where they can live in a place that pleases them. Of course, this is easy to do since there are only 30 people in our company, so it’s not for everyone. And of course, people still want to get together, so we have to figure out some co-working spaces in locations where that’s feasible. But in summary, yeah!  More smiling faces! —Chris Hermansen

Add me to the list of people thankful for flexible schedules. I do like my company office and colleagues, so the lack of in-person socializing can be hard. At the same time, I’m extremely grateful each day to have a job that I enjoy and can do from anywhere. It gives me more time for basic self-care — sleeping in when needed, a workout at lunchtime, being home to walk my dog — that can easily get lost in the busy day-to-day. Not needing to commute also reduced my exposure to COVID, which I’m also very thankful for. I feel like I have autonomy over my daily schedule, and that’s invaluable. —Lauren Maffeo

It is always nice to walk into a place of work and see smiling faces. It could be a smile in the parking deck, a smile and maybe a quick hello in the elevator, or perhaps a smile and “hey, how was your weekend?” as I pour my morning coffee. These days, this applies equally well to hopping on a Jitsi or Zoom call too! It’s a signal that everyone is engaged and ready for the day.  A close second is helpful and caring colleagues because we generally work in teams and across teams. So, being helpful is really necessary to keep the machine running (so to speak). —Alan Formy-Duval

Working from home wasn’t that easy at first, but the flexible schedule helps a lot. Plus, the concept of reward points is amazing because it helps me keep my performance up. I think it helps keep employees motivated. I’m curious if others have something like this where they work? —Saumya Singh

My thankfulness is mostly historical and includes a number of helpful and caring colleagues who nurtured my interest in open source software. When you begin as a newby on an email list, you need sympathy, help, and a feeling of inclusion to keep you going. This occurred in many venues, but especially with Scribus, which I looked into after reading a magazine article, found a community I could relate to, and somehow a few years later managed to be a coauthor of the Scribus Official Manual! One of the ways I try to give back is to voice support for other newbies on the list, and sometimes smooth out their rough edges if I can. —Greg Pittman

We do not have Thanksgiving day over here in Hungary, still there are many things I can be thankful for at work. I was a remote worker all my life, which also means flexible schedules and fewer meetings. But when I have meetings I am surrounded by smiling faces. However, here I’d like to emphasize helpful and caring colleagues. At our company, I’m the odd one out as an open source evangelist at a company focusing on closed source software products. Still, for anything I do, my colleagues help me as much as they can. —Peter Czanik

Mine would be helpful colleagues. I work at a small university in the Canadian prairies and have come to appreciate the helpfulness and flexibility of our users throughout the pandemic. While we in IT were a bit stressed as we pivoted from in-person to online, they seemed to handle it all mostly in stride. They adapted materials and pedagogy within days of announced restrictions. They approached us as someone to collaborate with in their teaching and research, and in-kind it has made us mindful that even the little things matter to their work. —Steve Morris

I am a de facto remote since I started at Red Hat over 15 years ago and haven’t regretted it so far. And the flexible schedule is a huge benefit for me. Once upon a time, I stopped work at 11:30am, went for a run, showered and had lunch, then picked up work again. Likewise these days, I prepare lunch for me and the kids and then just work a little longer into the evening, which decreases the time difference between me in Europe and my co-workers in the US. Win-win. —Heiko Rupp

Smiling faces for me. The isolation of the pandemic has been tough on many and even those of us who are retired. Retirement can seem like a panacea but the lack of face-to-face contact has not been easy. The use of video conferencing has been a real plus and has transformed my life. We live in a small community that’s somewhat remote. JItsi and other platforms have kept us connected and learning about our family and the state of the world in general. Attending virtual conferences, participating in virtual panel discussions, and taking four college courses that were facilitated by video conferencing and Moodle was very helpful. —Don Watkins

Flexible schedules is a big one. Just this morning, I had to take my daughter to the doctor for a checkup. No issues with having to make up time or taking PTO; I was just able to be a responsible adult and manage my calendar so that I can make sure I get my work done and keep my customers happy. And, helpful and caring colleagues! A few months ago, I moved to a different team. The new coworkers were immediately receptive and happy to help me get up to speed with my new customers, workflows, and partners. Plus, my coworkers actually care about each other. Whenever there is a family situation, we band together to help lift that person up. That could be raising money for a donation, taking on their work, or reaching out to the person to see what the people that are physically close to them could do (grocery/food delivery, stopping by their house, etc.). Also, we celebrate life’s joys together like birthday parties for the kids and weddings. —Peter Gervase

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