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Remote Work Chronicles: Sarah Pekala

101 Black Tech Titans 2021

Like most companies across the United States, BAM went fully remote in March of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, work has looked a little different for us this year. BAM made sure to equip team members with the necessary office equipment needed to make at remote work…work. But in true BAMf form, our team members took it a step further building out some pretty inspiring, functional, and productive spaces to get their work done each day. In this series on remote work, we take you inside our team's work-from-home spaces. 

Today, we're chatting with Sarah Pekala, associate director on BAM's marketing & innovation team. Sarah joined BAM in June 2020 when remote work was starting to become our new normal. As a member of BAM's east coast team, Sarah is primarily remote — pandemic or not. 

Q: Tell us about your WFH space.

My husband, 2-year-old son, and I live in a small condo in Boston, Massachusetts. This wasn't much of an issue until March 13, 2020 when my then-company and my husband's company sent everyone home for "at least two weeks."

Fast forward almost a year, and we've had to get creative with our work spaces. I squeezed a small desk in our bedroom and it's been working really nicely. Having a smaller space definitely cuts down on clutter (there's not much place for it to go). I also figured out a way to use my iPad as a second screen, which is a game changer. 

WFH-1

Q: What’s your favorite part of your WFH space?

Our room faces the west, so we get some wonderful afternoon sun. I also like that I can take my laptop and sit in bed when I need a break from the desk and chair. I have a "meeting mode" and a "deep writing mode" and most of my deep writing and research happens while sitting in bed. 

Q: What about remote work has surprised you?

Joining a new company mid-pandemic was challenging, of course. But I've been somewhat surprised at the deep connections I've made with my colleagues via Zoom and Slack. It's so funny — I've never even been in the same room with my BAM colleagues, but we've still built this strong bond and trust through the computer. That trust has a major impact on our work and our clients benefit from it. 

Q: What’s your best WFH advice?

Time block everything! I physically block my calendar for periods when I need to do research, write, or do other deep work activities. It really helps me get into the mindset of that task and stops other people from taking that time for meetings.

Also, find a routine that helps create a boundary between working time and home time. I found that after a few months working at home, I actually missed my 30-minute commute to the office. That was my alone time to listen to podcasts, think, and get amped for the day. Now I spend 20 to 30 minutes each morning making coffee and breakfast while listening to a podcast. It helps my mind move from home mode to work mode.  

Q: What is a must-have for you?

Physically, I need some kind of movement during my day. Whether it's a run or workout in the morning, or a walk to pick up my son from daycare, I need to move. I also need a good playlist to get me in my writing flow state. I really love Spotify's Lo-Fi Beats playlist.

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