The familiar sound of rumbling tires rolling slowly over a gravel driveway tears my attention from my homework. Then, I hear the clicks of a key in the door, and the dog starts to bark.
“Daddy’s home!” my siblings and I scream as we scramble toward the door.
This scene has played itself over and over again. When I was growing up, Dad traveled a lot for work. Regardless of whether he’d just been gone for the day or for an entire week, I have many fond memories of running to the door to greet him when he returned home.
As time passed, I became a teenager. Too cool for that. Too busy hanging out with friends at the mall. Many years later, I can see the tide has turned. As I mentioned in my post for Mother’s Day, I’m lucky to live near my parents. When I go to visit them, it’s now a common occurrence to hear my dad say, “Briaaannnaa’s home!”
Dad still travels a lot for work. If he’s gone for a long period of time, then we connect on video to say hello. Or, perhaps a more accurate way to say it: we connect on video so he can ask me if I need help changing the oil in my car or fixing the faucet in my apartment. Maybe he’s afraid my siblings and I don’t need him anymore. We’re adults. We pay our bills, cook, and clean. But, one big lesson I’ve learned over time: sometimes I need to let go and let Dad be Dad. I know he’ll always make the time to be there for us when we need him.
At Polycom, many employees have social commuting schedules so that our Polycom dads and moms can make the time to be there for the newborn (shout out to Marc-Alexis! Read: Newborn Defies Distance with Polycom video), or make it to the dance recitals and soccer games. In honor of the Father’s Day holiday in the U.S., below are a few stories from some of our Polycom dads about how they achieve work/life balance at Polycom. And, we’d like to wish all the fathers out there a very Happy Father’s Day!
“Every day that I choose to work from home rather than drive into the office I save about one hour of time. So what do I do with that extra time? It helps me be a better Dad. When I was growing up, Dads went to work and you almost never saw them at school events during the day. That was Mom’s territory. Nowadays, I’m able to hop on my bike, ride over to the school and see my two boys in their “native” environment. I get to laugh with them during school plays, cheer for them at track meets, volunteer to help with classroom reading, and hug them after a big soccer goal. I can’t think of a better way to spend that ‘extra’ time.” – Chris Thorson, father to Troy (11) and Jay (9), and Senior Director, Product Marketing, Polycom
“Working over video has enabled me to immerse myself in the Polycom community despite not commuting to a traditional office. It may have saved my career--I take medication on a regular basis that weakens my immune system to combat the effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I tend to pick up whatever cold and flu-like symptoms our toddler brings home with him. Having the luxury of working via video despite being under the weather has enabled me to complete projects faster than otherwise possible. As an added bonus, I am elated to take lunch breaks with my family and sometimes even catch some of my boys’ ‘firsts.’” – David Friedman, father to Xavier (2 ½) and Jacob (10 months), and Team Lead Tech Support Engineer, Services Media Management, Polycom
“Polycom video allows me to defy distance and work flexibly in different locations. As a parent of a 4 year old boy, and as we’re expecting a new born this Father’s Day, the demands of family and work commitment can be overwhelming at times. Polycom’s video solutions have enabled me to integrate work and life, achieving a good work/life balance.” – Eric Wong, father to Isaac (4), and Head of Talent Acquisition and Development for APJ and China, Corporate Staffing, Polycom
“The ability to work from home and to have a flexible work schedule has not only benefitted my productivity, but most importantly has allowed me to spend more quality time with my family. I get to be there every morning to make breakfast for my kids, take them to school a few times a week, help with homework, and I’m always home for dinner.
I do travel quite a bit with my role. In these times, I feel like I can still be closely connected with my family. From my laptop or smartphone, I am always able to easily connect from my RealPresence Desktop or RealPresence Mobile clients back to my video system at home. My kids know the sound of the video system ringing and come running to tell me about their day.” – James Brennan, father to Joliet, Haven, and Juneaux, and Director of APAC Solution Marketing, Polycom
“When my kids were younger and I was travelling, I would read to them using my PC and PVX client and say goodnight.
Last week at about 10pm, my son went into my office, hit the "my iPad" speed dial on my home office Group 500. It rang in my NYC hotel room. He had questions about how to do his physics lab report. We sat there and worked through it for about a half hour. He pushed content so I could see the problems and his work in Word and Excel. Together we were able to find the missing "-" symbol in his equation, which was giving him erroneous results. He finished his lab report and submitted it the next morning. Boston to NYC is only 200 miles. But, being able to defy that distance at 10pm at night before the lab is due was priceless. :) .” – Peter Lurie, father to Emma (17) and Alex (15), and Consulting Engineer and Global UC Architect, Polycom
"Our 3-year old daughter, Anna, is growing up fast -- my wife and I don’t want to miss a thing. We both work jobs that come with some odd hours and travel conflicts, but thanks to Polycom collaboration tools and flexible work arrangements I can easily adjust my schedule to work from home, leave later in the morning, or come home earlier in the day, because I can always meet face-to-face with my colleagues no matter where I am. This makes it much easier for me to be productive at work and do all the things working parents need to do for their kids: doctor appointments, school volunteering, attend recitals, and, of course, answer the occasional “come pick up your sick kid, she just threw up on Ophelia” phone call from the school."- Ryan Batty, father to Anna (3), and Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Polycom
“When I was in Goa, India for a sunny beach holiday, I learned an important announcement in India was about to start. Using my Android mobile phone with a 3G data plan and RealPresence Mobile, I was able to connect with engineering leadership in San Jose, while also ensuring my little one was taken care of. For the business critical meetings among the San Jose office, Hyderabad office, and non Polycom employees as well, everything worked seamlessly. My work was done, my daughter was happy and I had a perfect holiday.” - Srinivas Prabhu Sangam, father to Saanvi (5 ½), and Senior Manager, Human Resources, Polycom