TA Cribs: Your Behind The Scenes Look Into Other TA Professionals’ Lives

Ever meet someone who you think is really cool, and then wish you could secretly look through all their things, wear their clothes and snoop around their house? SAME! So to scratch my ‘peeping tom’ itch I decided to ask some Talent Acquisition people to tell me all about their lockdown lives, and share some pics with me too (obviously).

We decided to combine our favourite early 00s reality TV show, MTV Cribs, with our love for all of the wonderful people in TA to create our very own TA Cribs – where we give you a PG rated look into the lives of some of Melbourne’s talent community.

Sarah Blanchard – Talent International
Managing the loss of the “third space”

Sarah Blanchard is the Head of Client Success at Talent International. Hybrid working has allowed her to re-connect with her family on a daily basis but she now needs to actively carve out some “me-time” every day after losing her commute.

Sarah Blanchard, Head of Client Success, Talent International
Sarah in her home office.
How did COVID impact the way you structure your day?

The biggest impact that COVID had on my day was that I lost the “third space” – This refers to the space between home and work, which normally was spent on the bus. It allowed me time to think about what I needed to achieve for the day, do some personal admin or often just listen to my favourite tunes to get me firing on all cylinders for the day . After a few weeks of going from the shower to the kitchen to my desk I realised it was time to reclaim the third space.

What does your day look like now?

Now, I get up, have breakfast with my family (which I never did pre-covid) then I sit for 15 mins in the sun with a coffee and plan my day/week properly. 9am – 12pm is usually Zoom/Teams/Hangouts meetings with clients. My husband also works from home – he’s upstairs and I’m downstairs – so we meet for lunch and enjoy a break together often discussing what’s happening at work and actually listening to each other!!

The afternoon is a mix of developing strategy docs/plans, speaking with tech vendors, reporting, generally non-client facing stuff. I also get to pick up my son from school which was rare pre-COVID so I cherish the 10 min walk home so we can chat about the day together.

I have team check-ins toward the end of day, and I try to stop by 5.30pm with a short third space between 5.30pm and 6pm – when the chaos of home life/dinner kicks in. I’m so grateful that my employer allows me the option to choose the space that suits me for the work I’m doing that day – there’s trust, give and take and in the end it’s a win-win for both of us.

How do you wind down when WFH?

Make a point to move away from the working area for lunch, preferably sit outside. Occasionally I use the SWEAT app for a 30 min workout –  sometimes it’s high intensity, other times it’s pilates or stretching … and let’s face it, a glass of Rosé is never a bad thing in my book (just not while stretching!) It’s also useful during the day to understand your stress triggers and some simple ways to minimise the stress e.g. deep breathing.

Jason Burns – Businessary and Edan Haddock – Flybuys
Partners and “fake team members”

Edan is the Senior Manager – People Solutions at Flybuys, and Jason is the Head of Talent Acquistion & Employer Branding at Businessary. They have found that having each other as partners, and “fake team members” during lockdown was super helpful for bouncing ideas around and staying sane whilst locked up at home together.

How did COVID impact the way you structure your day? What does your day look like now?

Edan Haddock (EH) – I was thrust into the COVID way of working a few weeks before everyone else. I had been presenting at an industry event in New Zealand and Flybuys asked for anyone who had been through an international airport to work from home. This meant I got first dibs on the spare room! I have now set up a fully functioning office in the spare room. This means I can feel like I am travelling to work – finding my third space between home life and work life. The minute the door is closed I am in work mode. I guess a big impact is that we’ve given our second room over to an office space; great for work but bloody awful if you live with a snorer!

Denz and Wanda cats
Denz and Wanda keep a watchful eye on their co-workers throughout the day.

Jason Burns (JB) – I had already worked from home the majority of the time prior to Covid which meant I did miss the odd day in the office with the team. The biggest impact for me and what I really missed the most was the face to face interaction with clients – I get a lot out of the ‘feels’ in the room, what’s not being said rather than what is said, and I fricking love a white board session. Life is pretty much back to how it was for me prior to March 2020 now, a couple of days in the office with the team, client side occasionally and majority of the week in the living room with Denz and Wanda supervising. Edan and I have had to find a rhythm though, I am chatty as all get out during the day and I bug the sh*t out of him as he is SO focussed.

How do you wind down when WFH? Do you have ways to debrief with your team if you’ve had a particularly busy/rough day?

EH – having my own work space at home really helps. I work long hours and I try not to enter the spare room/ office after 7pm each day. I love a glass of Vino (like most recruiters) and usually join Jason on the couch to discuss the day that was. Jason loves to barge in … often … but we do try to maintain a distance during the day. It is amazing to have another “team member” in my partner to bounce ideas off when needed though.

JB – I find wind down really easy to be honest. I usually down tools at about 4pm and get cracking on dinner. Edan usually doesn’t finish until about 7pm which gives me some time to cook and catch up with the sh*t telly. I have a good sounding board at home after a tough day and am very close to my Businessary colleagues. We’ll often collaborate as a group via Messenger or text at night, bit of fun and a bit of problem solving too. It wouldn’t be unusual for me to login again after dinner and finalise things that I haven’t got to or to meet a client deadline.

Jess Symes – North East Link Project
Back to my roots

Jess Symes is People and Culture Advisor at North East Link Project. The larger lockdown event in Victoria 2020 allowed her to work from her home town, but she’s now enjoying the “new normal” of hybrid working.

Jess Symes North East Link
Jess Symes in her home office.
How did COVID impact the way you structure your day? What does your day look like right now?

COVID enabled me to embrace flexibility and work from my childhood home in country Victoria where I felt safe during the second wave event. The North East Link Project was very supportive and flexible during that time. We are now moving to a hybrid model of 3 days in the office and 2 days from home. I’m loving working from home on Monday and Friday. It’s also been great heading back to the office from Tuesday – Thursday each week to meet all the people I recruited during the work from home period face to face!

How do you wind down when WFH? Do you have ways to debrief with your team if you’ve had a particularly busy/rough day?

Sometimes it can be hard to switch off from work life when it’s at home! I always book a tennis lesson after work so I can finish on time, get out of the house and ensure work life balance!

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