September 15, 2020
Ansys has always valued diversity and inclusiveness, but like many companies with most employees working remotely during the pandemic, maintaining a culture of inclusion has taken on even greater importance. We spoke to three members of our Ansys Women in Technology group from different areas of the company and with diverse technical backgrounds. See how they are meeting the challenges of working from home, and specifically how they stay connected to co-workers while maintaining a work-life balance.
“I found myself struggling with setting up a designated office, getting the necessary equipment and the lack of face-to-face communication,” says Kratika Jain, a software engineer at Ansys, while describing her experience of working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jain meets work-at-home communication challenges by over-communicating to ensure transparency. “I made up for lack of face-to-face communication with colleagues by having a tight communication channel in daily stand-ups about work as well as any issues that we might be facing in general,” she says. “Since we are not meeting in person, over-communicating is the key to avoid speculation and ensure clear and transparent communication.”
Jain has a three-point approach to seeking a balance between her work and personal life. “First, I give others as well as myself the grace to not feel guilty for accidents that happen in a meeting — such as a barking dog, crying kids or a partner mistakenly stepping into the background of a video conference.
“Second, having a set routine even though I am working from home helps me be productive in my work hours,” she says. When working from home, Jain says setting boundaries to ensure that work does not spill into your personal life is critical, otherwise it becomes easy to work late into the evenings and not devote time to family and yourself.
“Finally, carving out a workspace with a desk — favorably in a naturally lit location at home instead of working from the couch or bed can drastically improve productivity,” she says. To further enhance her productivity, Jain likes to listen to podcasts in the morning, go for quick outdoor walk after lunch and log off from her work computer in the evening.
Carlie Ebra, a senior talent acquisition specialist at Ansys, is meeting digital transformation challenges along with remote work challenges.
“Human resources is going through a transformation with our new human resources information system (HRIS), so the inability to be live with my coworkers working through challenges and solutions has been difficult at times,” she says. “ In an office setting you hear other’s conversations, you can pop into the next cube and show your coworker what you’ve learned, or you can pull a large group together to discuss and bounce ideas off of each other. My coworkers and I have managed to get around this by increasing our number of team meetings and touchpoints, while also staying in constant communication through Microsoft Teams.”
Juggling between work life and personal life is not new to Ebra.
“As the mother of a toddler, having an ornery potty-training puppy and having a spouse who is an essential worker, it was imperative that my family found a routine early in the pandemic,” Ebra says. “A lot of it comes down to calendar coordination and strategically planning meetings based on the needs of my family, while even more of it is a mental game. To clear my head or break up the day, we try to head outside for an hour, whether it’s a quick stroll through the neighborhood or working underneath a patio umbrella while my daughter plays in the yard. Every day poses a new challenge, but I always manage to get both jobs done!”
Karissa Quinlan, internal communications manager at Ansys, does not face any significant technical issues while working from home.
“Technically speaking, it’s been pretty seamless. I can do the same work at home as I could in the office,” she says. “And though it can’t replace the in-person environment for socialization, we’re doing our best to stay connected.”
Using modern communication tools to work effectively also helps her co-workers get to know one another on a different level, Quinlan says. For example, she is able to see colleagues’ pets, kids and spouses, and learn more about them as a person.
Having a one-year-old to manage, Quinlan recognizes the importance of finding effective ways to turn off the work when it is family time. “I really enjoy running, so when I have an opportunity during the day, I love to get in a mid-day run. It rejuvenates me for the rest of the workday and sometimes provides immediate clarity on a challenge or project I’m working on. I also think it’s helpful if you are able to separate your work and primary living space.”
At Ansys, we value our diversity and use the latest technologies to support inclusiveness for our teams, partners and customers – no matter where we’re working. Learn more about how we’re supporting diversity and inclusion while providing solutions that enable our customers to work more efficiently and effectively from anywhere.