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How does Carlo Beschi make life work?

The one when Si talks to Carlo about juggling 3 young kids with work, finding suitable space and time for professional situations and the joy of getting outside more.

The one when Si talks to Carlo about juggling 3 young kids with work, finding suitable space and time for professional situations and the joy of getting outside more.

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(Automated with Descript)

[00:00:00] Si: Welcome back to the Make Life Work podcast with me Si Jobling, father of two full-time engineering manager and side project hustler. This is the ninth season of the podcast, which takes a slightly different direction from previous seasons, and now focuses on how people find that work-life balance, so ideally you can learn some little tips and tricks too. Nobody has pure harmony, but everyone has their own approaches that work or possibly don’t.

[00:00:30] Si: This week, I’m talking to Carlo Beschi, working father of three and agile coach. I’ve known Carlo for many years now. We worked very closely on a number of projects and he was also an amazing mentor to me in the early stages of my tech leadership career. Carlo has since moved on to new challenges and now has three wonderful children. So when we hooked up on talking work-life balance, it was a no brainer. 

[00:00:55] Si: Let’s find out how does Carlo Beschi make life work? 

[00:00:59] Si: So how are we doing Carlo you okay?

[00:01:02] Carlo Beschi: I’m very good. It’s a very sunny, lovely day in London. I’m at home with my kids, uh, with some work to do. Uh, I had a nice lunch already. Very happy, to be here with you. 

[00:01:12] Si: You’re in a good place. Then the heat, the family, the lunch, you you’re in a healthy place for the rest of the day.

[00:01:18] Carlo Beschi: Yeah, I do feel, uh, fulfilled. Yeah. I’ve got a few things to do in the afternoon, but yeah, so far so good. 

[00:01:23] Si: Oh, wonderful. And we’ll probably go into that a little bit more, about how you’ve make your day work later on. Um, but yeah, we, we’ve got a bit of history we’ve worked together in the past, you know, in the same company. we’ve both gone off in our own ways and then we’ve come back together today just to kind of share our stories.

[00:01:38] can we just go back a little bit and just talk about what your role is, uh, what that actually means in your position? Um, and yeah, just go from.

[00:01:47] Carlo Beschi: Yeah, sure. Yeah. So, um, I, I work in, uh, in technology, the actual job title is agile coach. Uh, so it’s a role that lots of companies have nowadays. It’s about, uh, helping create the best conditions for, for people to build software. You knows a bit of a, uh, Engineering practices quite a lot about team dynamics.

[00:02:07] Carlo Beschi: Some process improvements been doing this for a few years. I’m Italian, uh, moved to London seven years ago and yeah, I’ve done this job in a few different companies. I, I really love it. 

[00:02:18] Si: Nice. So agile coach, and you say it’s helping tech teams deliver better and high quality and all that sort of stuff. Um, how do you find that in the current role? I, what sort of stuff are you kind of focusing on? Mostly at the moment. Mm.

[00:02:30] Carlo Beschi: You know, in each company is different. So, uh, for example, before, uh, I believe lot of what I was doing was trying to, simplify things or remove red tape, you know, or like 45 things now where I’m now is very fast paced startup. So it’s a bit more about putting some structure in place. Otherwise it just go crazy.

[00:02:53] Carlo Beschi: So it’s about, you know, like there is, there’s a lot of chaos and a lot of energy going on and you do wanna put a little bit of, uh, yeah, just clarity and guidance and process in place so that people, uh, uh, you know, how they can, you can channel some of that energy to, uh, and, and get some, some nice stuff out there.

[00:03:08] Carlo Beschi: And, and as, as you said, you know, most of, most of my focus is still on, uh, helping, uh, teams build, great digital products, you know, at pace. So we want, you know, the time to market, we want the quality, uh, and we want the, the people that are part of this, you know, to, to enjoy it as much as possible. 

[00:03:26] Si: Wow. So in the startup environment, I imagine it’s quite demanding, but a lot of flex in the way you work. Whereas where we’ve worked before is massive scaled outfit, much harder to make change. You’re feeling a lot more empowered in this role now.

[00:03:39] Carlo Beschi: I do. Yeah. So I think, uh, there’s a. definitely the company dimension things I think is always, is a big factor. I, I work in, you know, everything from the company of three people to a company as we were there, you know, of few thousand people and just the sheer scale, you know, uh, It’s a big factor in terms of how much you can, uh, shape and influence things.

[00:04:03] Carlo Beschi: You know, uh, sometimes we like to see our roles as a, as a change agent role, you know, so we’re trying to always, you know, help people see how things are and, and try experiments and improve things. So, the dimension of the company is a big thing. The other thing is, uh, the job title is, is not very different, but I do have quite senior role.

[00:04:22] Carlo Beschi: So I’ve got direct interaction with, you know, C level people and other people. So it does make it easier to drive an agenda where at times, uh, Uh, you know, I met lots of people that got a lot of passion and driving everything, but because of your position in the company, uh, it’s, it’s very difficult to, to make some of those maybe more significant changes to, you know, to the way things are.

[00:04:44] Carlo Beschi: Uh, so yeah, I’m very, very happy overall. I was saying to a friend of mine last night because it’s not always easy. It’s probably, this is the, uh, the company I’m getting, which makes me every day, the most excited. And also, uh, do you say the most angry in English or the angriest or whatever it is, you know, so I, I get very angry every day, so it really pisses me off, but it also yeah, gives me a lot of, of good vibes. So it’s, it’s a weird combination.

[00:05:14] Yeah. It’s an interesting and problem dynamic to being actually isn’t it. Cause if you’re not angry, then you’re not really that passionate, but obviously you, you do want to make change. It really gets to you. So it gives you an opportunity to make improvements, I guess.

[00:05:27] so, uh, you may think about one thing about my own, uh, Growth, you know, as a professional, as a person, I do care a lot. I’ve always cared a lot. I know, I care a lot about things in general, but I do care a lot about, you know, work and the people I work with. So one kind of, uh, thing I’ve tried to learn over time is to, to have a right level of attachment, you know, because yeah, you need to be there, you know, especially for now role.

[00:05:50] Carlo Beschi: If you start to be like cynical, you not going anywhere, but if you care so much, , you take it home, you know, and now I’m working from home, but even if you’re not in the office, you’re taking it home, you know, mentally, you know, it can be really tough and everything. So you do need to be there, but you need to be able to, from time to time to detach or to have that right level, you know, of, uh, Hey, well, I’m doing my best. And at times, you know, you have to accept that some things you can change them, or at times you, you want to put all of your energy and everything, but then you have to realize, now I’m done and I need to take maybe, you know, a couple of hours or a couple of days off, uh, or, uh, you know, unwind with the work or whatever, because, uh, that’s impacting, uh, you know, your wellbeing. Which is, of course it’s very important and I’m very grateful. There’s, you know, over the last few years, I see more like attention to these in workplaces, but it also affects your, um, performance at work, you know, especially in our job, you know, because our job is very much about engaging with people, talking people, influencing people and they can feel it, you know, so when they can still feel that you are there and you’re positive and you know, and you’re able to drive the change, then you can still do a good job. Instead if you are too tired, and if you kind of, you know, I’m fed up with this, that’s all signal reflecting in, in the way that, that you are, you know, performing. So Yeah, it’s, it’s very, very, very important to, um, I guess, uh, Grow your, uh, self awareness, you, know, being mindful about, okay, where I am, this is the context, you know, this is my ability to operate in this context, which, you know, usually will grow over time, you know, because, uh, as in any know, you know, you stay there, you do get better, but as well as gonna be, you know, this is how far I can go now and then realize and say, okay, wow. Now. Yeah, there’s a lot to do. There’s always a lot to do, especially for people that care. But yeah, it’s a time, you know, to take it easy maybe. And now is the time to accelerate again. Yeah. 

[00:07:42] Si: you make a very interesting point there around, you know, taking it home, although we’re already at home, you know, so trying to compartmentalise, different mindsets when you are in home. and you also mentioned the fact, you know, like, look just being in control of it. As you say, you grow with your personality, you realize what you can and can’t influence and how to prioritize and make sure you got the right people involved. So it’s not, you know, when you’re having those conversations, they can sense that you are not fully in it. You know, that’s not a place you wanna be in, you know, you want people to appreciate that you care. I feel like your role in this company now is better suited.

[00:08:17] Carlo Beschi: Uh, yeah, thanks. And as you said, like take it home and I’m home that, uh, While overall I’m, I’m super happy that I’ve got, uh, so by the way, yes, we didn’t mention, but I’ve got a job now, which is fully remote. So, you know, there is an office in London where I can go to, but I rarely use the opportunity.

[00:08:36] Carlo Beschi: And all of my work is happening in the collaborations happening online. Uh, one clearly of the advantages among many that, uh, there were, when I was, uh, doing my job in an office, is that. Commuting time, you know, if you work as you take a train or whatever it does, you know, just helps you compare compartment compartmentalize. It’s a hard 

[00:08:58] Carlo Beschi: word 

[00:08:58] Carlo Beschi: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s a very nice one. Yeah. Should check the, know how to spell it, but yeah, I think we, we get a point and yeah. So, you know, that’s separation. Yeah. It’s, uh, it’s built in, you know, in a way, And at home, you, you need to build it, you know, so you, you need to be able to, different people will have different strategies, you know?

[00:09:16] Carlo Beschi: So, uh, some people will say, okay, don’t think about work on 10, 8, 40 starting when work disappear on 10, 4 30, go back to, to the family. I’ve got a much more, uh, I guess, granular and flexible approach, but, it is super important that, uh, uh, you, you are able to, you know, wrap this up, move it, do something else. Uh, go back to this. 

[00:09:40] Si: It’s probably a good time to go into that then. So can you explain like your home setup? You know, I think you call yourself a work at home dad. So can you tell us, you know, what your arrangements are right now?

[00:09:49] Carlo Beschi: So, um, I’ve got three kids now. Uh, so one is, is a baby. Uh, so, uh, I already had had two when I, when I started work from home. So I was already in a place. I really want to be there with them, you know, and be able to, to have a quality time with them. And now recently that, uh, part of my, uh, life has become even more, more important.

[00:10:14] Carlo Beschi: So I wanna be super sure that I’ve got, uh, time and energy for, for the family. uh, you know, and we also went for the, for the pandemic altogether and everything. So, uh, How I cope with that and what I did decide to change. Well, one thing maybe simple, and I know others have done the same, uh, we moved to, to a bigger place.

[00:10:34] Carlo Beschi: So, uh, we know we, we are expat. So we live here in a rented place. We, we had a place which was good for us as a family, but with the idea that, you know, You kind of, you know, you also go to work, you know, there all the time, you don’t necessarily need, uh, like a dedicated space maybe. Uh, so, uh, we move to, a house which is a bit bigger and it’s got some space outside as well.

[00:10:53] Carlo Beschi: Uh, and, uh, I do not have, uh, single dedicated, uh, Part of the house, you know, a room or space that I use for work. I do not have that. So I’ve got basically, uh, three areas where I use to work. So one is one of the rooms upstairs. Uh, one was where I, I am now is a part of the kitchen. So we’ve got nice, uh, uh, quite large kitchen, uh, with, uh, yeah, it’s just a good place to be.

[00:11:17] Carlo Beschi: And then I’ve got also, uh, I mean, it’s it’s London, so you can’t really be outside all the time, but we’ve got a nice little garden and I do spend some time outside. Uh, so for me, the key here is that, um, there’s different spaces for different people in the house, you know? So you kind of don’t step into, into each other all the time.

[00:11:36] Carlo Beschi: Uh, which was definitely a challenge when I start to work from home, like force by the pandemic. And I was really like, basically, you know, Sort of locking the door of a room and the kids, you know, trying to push it open. So I did, you know, with stuff like, you know, putting, uh, things in the way or, you know, trying to get the kids out of the house, uh, because I had important meetings.

[00:11:56] Carlo Beschi: So I think some of that’s been just, uh, um, physical space, you know, and having something that, uh, Uh, I, I believe, uh, you know, if it’s better and if it’s better with my approach to, to this, uh, which I appreciate, you know, it’s, I’m not suggesting everyone should do like that, but it, it, it does work well for me.

[00:12:13] Carlo Beschi: And, um, I, uh, have, uh, just embrace the fact that the kids are there. So, you know, and I think, you know, we, we probably lot of in the early days scenes, so it’s so funny because the BBC journalists got the kid coming in during the interview or something. Now for me, that’s just, uh, it does happen and it doesn’t bother me.

[00:12:34] Carlo Beschi: So I feel very comfortable with that. And people that I work with usually also, you know, they don’t, uh, it’s, it’s not an issue, you know, so, uh, it, it needs to be managed. So, you know, if, if you’re doing something you really wanna be focused on, If you think about interactions we’ve got at work, we also have interactions.

[00:12:50] Carlo Beschi: You know, you’ve got someone that’s lucky you you’ve got someone coming in in the office because they need some help with something. So it’s different types of interaction. You know, if my daughter is a sip of water and I’m chatting with you, but it’s not a big deal. Okay.

[00:13:02] Carlo Beschi: If my kid wants half an hour of attention and I’m in a meeting with the board, that’s probably in a good time.

[00:13:08] Carlo Beschi: So that’s kind of a meeting that needs to be protected, you know? so that that’s part of the, The arrangement, you know, so a little bit more of, of fluid fluidity and less, uh, stress about the fact that those, uh, boundaries are not so clearly, defined, you know? Yeah, So especially now, so one of the kids is six, one is three. So both of them have gotta be more of also because, you know, you keep doing it. More of a perception that is working. So they, they know and they try, you know, to, to not come unless, uh, uh, there is not some actual need. On the other side, and this is, uh, for me is, uh, I guess, uh, among all, maybe the biggest, uh, benefit, the biggest kind of, uh, things I, gained from, from working from home and being dad at home is, uh, my ability to be reactive.

[00:14:00] Carlo Beschi: Okay. So especially with the little one, but also with the other kids, they may have some need that you can’t forecast. Okay. You go to the office, you’re not expecting them to have a fever at 2pm. You know, the school is, is calling because the boy fell down, stuff like that. Uh, so I’ve got, uh, Planned ability to flex. Oh, okay. I do. I do school runs, you know, this is helping a lot with my, you know, my wife, she’s got the baby to take care of. So it’s, it’s very easy and I enjoy that, you know, and I was, wasn’t really complicated to, you know, to, uh, to, to sort out my agenda work agenda, uh, around those.

[00:14:35] and that’s like planned in. But then there is the unplanned, you know, you can really think about if people think about work and from a work perspective, it’s kind of similar, you know, you plan it in a way, then you review your plan, but you also make space for mixed space for, uh, for unplanned things.

[00:14:50] Carlo Beschi: And, uh, I, I think the combination of the role and the company. It does give, give me a lot of, um, space in that, you know, so, uh, I don’t have, you know, lots of, uh, I dunno, HR red tape or expectations from my manager. I, you know, we did set some of that as well, but I could really say, oh, I’m not working, uh, this afternoon because, uh, let’s say, oh, Fingers cross. My wife is not too well and I need to stay with the baby. Well, I can do it in like in five minutes and I’ll probably cancel a couple of meetings, uh, clicking a button, send a couple of slack messages and that’s it. And that’s, uh, it’s both. Um, Important from a practical point of view. And I mean, for us that we, we, we are expat. We don’t have like a large support network here that that’s really critical in terms of, you know, being able to, to be happy as a family. But it’s also from a psychological perspective, it’s super powerful for me, you know, because I’m here and most of the times that’s not needed, but that one time, which is needed while I’m.

[00:15:49] Si: Yeah, you covered so much there. And a lot, I do admire the fact you’ve got multiple spaces to work in. I think there’s something that we could all try and adapt to as well. I mean, I’m in my typical working office now. Um, but the other day I thought, you know what? The weather’s nice. I’m gonna go and sit in the garden and, you know, have some video calls out there and it, it changes your mindset in the way that you communicate with people. People can see the, the, the relaxed version cause you you’re getting to enjoy the sunshine, but also actually I’m not gonna be able to do all that multitasking text, massive screen thing, but let’s just have a chat.

[00:16:21] Si: And as you talk about you, how are you getting outside and making the most of this? It feels like you’ve got a really healthy position like that, but have you ever found that you need to be in a specific space for a specific type of work or do, is it quite flexible in that sense?

[00:16:35] Carlo Beschi: Uh, yes. So I, I, I do have a preferred location here, which is actually the one I I’m now that I, you know, I just like, uh, make sure I got my big screen and my laptop screen and headphones and some paper notes and some additional things. And I, and I close the door. That’s usually like the one that I use for, um, concrete example would. Uh, I’m a hosting or presented at quite a large meeting, you know, all hands or, you know, important sessions. So I wanna be like, uh, you know, calm and protected and quiet and really focused. Uh, but what I’ve learned over time is that, uh, I was basically, let’s put it like this defaulting to this a little bit more heavyweight approach for things that don’t necessarily need it, you know?

[00:17:21] Carlo Beschi: So while I’m sitting here, if I’m actually just, uh, uh, slacking on the phone, I can’t just be outside, you know? And, also, uh, so then there was a thing about, oh, because it’s remote, you know, lots of, most of these conversations are happening via a video. At least that’s that’s, That’s what I’ve seen and what others seen, but does it need to cause for some of that you really adding value, but some can really be just a text feed.

[00:17:45] Carlo Beschi: So there’s more be more of that texting and some of that can be audio, you know, it can be slack, hard can be another way can be. Um, we actually tried with, um, uh, some of the colleagues, um, uh, one to one while walking. It’s a bit tricky. So in some areas work better than others, but you know, okay, well we are having a one to one, the calendar.

[00:18:06] Carlo Beschi: Should we try just to go both for work, actually with some people’s work very well, you know, because you know them, so, you know, it’s not about building a connection or something. It’s people you work with. You really wanna have that chat and talk about a few things can be quite relaxed. You know, it’s not like a action driven kind of meeting or, or.

[00:18:24] Carlo Beschi: Uh, a weird one where surprises can happen, but you still wanna have that chat. Oh, and it’s a nice day. So you can even, you know, last minute say, oh, by the way, I’m I think, you know, when we talk in half an hour, it probably runs for a walk. Do you mind if you just have it, uh, uh, you know, over WhatsApp or, I mean, can be whatever WhatsApp, the phone or whatever, and, uh, you know, and then you, I’m, uh, I’m working here in, uh, you know, uh, central London and, uh, and someone else is working in Paris or south of London and we haven’t that nice chat.

[00:18:53] Carlo Beschi: That’s also, you know, Maybe a tip, something can be, uh, can be tried. So for me, definitely, uh, having a good mix, uh, of, uh, media I, I I’m really trying to be deliberate about this because it really changes a lot in terms of our arrive at the end of the day, you know, see if I do like seven or eight hours of video calls, I really get very drained and, and, and the work we do is very much about, you know, collaboration interactions. I do not write code in the role. So, uh, there are times where I’m in front of a screen, but do I need to, so yeah. Uh, I try to do more of this being born mindful about what are the options of there, you know, and not just default to the one that is maybe is more and try, you know, one of these people we were trying, and it was always working in a very, a busy street and say, well, sorry, unless you go and work somewhere else. It just doesn’t work. because just have an idea you can, but yeah, that that’s, uh, that’s the thing. Yeah. 

[00:19:51] Si: It’s a great idea though. Cause I think I remember reading something on the super manager’s podcast about this concept of changing up the one-to-one environment. You know, like you say, you can go through a walk and have a chat or, you know, virtually or actually in person. I don’t, I dunno if you’ve got many colleagues nearby you in, in, in the actual location wise.

[00:20:09] Si: But when I do go to the office, I try to make sure, you know what, we’re not having a video call today. We’re actually gonna have a chat in person. Cause it makes the conversation a lot more healthier and natural, but then not. Is, I think a lot of people have actually gone into protective mode. You have lockdown using video calls to hide behind a camera.

[00:20:25] Si: Oh, this is much more comfortable. I don’t need to be on camera, but actually are you getting good quality conversations out of those? One-to-ones it’s 

[00:20:32] Carlo Beschi: Yeah, no. Yeah, yeah. AB absolutely. so just the current, um, uh, this point in time. Uh, I don’t have lots of people that I can just meet, uh, you know, in real life face to face, but that’s absolutely powerful and it’s something I definitely encourage people to do, you know, just meet in the office, meet somewhere else if you can, for, for those kind of, uh, one to ones or for some sessions and things now, I also have a been thinking about another thing, which I, I believe is been more controversial, but that’s kind of the way I’m seeing it now. So it’s actually quite controversial even in my own mind, but I’ll, I’ll try to explain it is, uh, uh, the idea is, uh, you know, the there’s, uh, there’s been quite a lot of focusing also like, um, uh, social activities, you know, online, you know, drink, uh, whatever.

[00:21:23] Carlo Beschi: So I’m not a big fan. and I totally appreciate the fact, you know, that as a human being, you need those things, but, uh, what, I’m this point in time trying to do more, which may be completely wrong. So I don’t think this is the thing to do, but that’s what I’m trying to do is, so for me is like work is what happens online.

[00:21:45] Carlo Beschi: Okay. So that’s clear and you know, and just that the company work, uh, for now, it does need to be there. and as a person, I do need those social interactions, but they don’t may not need to be with the same people. So basically I’m leveraging more on the. Kind of really thing, you know, so I, I wanna go out.

[00:22:04] Carlo Beschi: So because before It was, was very kind of simple, you know, you’re in the office with the, with the colleagues, you go for lunch with colleagues and maybe for a beer, you know, and that part is so important, so powerful. And I appreciate yourselves, uh, uh, bond with them, you know, but in a way, can I still, you know, work well with people?

[00:22:22] Carlo Beschi: Bonding, maybe a little bit less with them, but still bonding with people, you know, because I’m a human being. So I don’t wanna, you know, my whole day is just working and then going to sleep, but I’ve got nice neighbors, which I didn’t know very well before. I know better now, you know? and, uh, you know, I spend a bit more time maybe, you know, with the extended family or other people.

[00:22:40] Carlo Beschi: Cause, uh, I’m not saying ban virtual beer and beer, 12 games, but, uh, maybe. think it a bit, you know, because, oh, it still this amount of hours. Okay. This week we’ve got the game online, but how about the other week? You’ve got the game with someone that you can, I mean, you can be the neighbor or the friend or something, you know, but someone that you can meet face to face because, uh, yeah.

[00:23:02] Carlo Beschi: You know, those are. purely in terms of, uh, recharging, you know, and being fulfilled as a person, you know, that that serves you well, it’s probably, you know, is gonna limit a little bit your, uh, bonding with, with, with those people, you know, that end up be more just, uh, professional relationships, but yeah, it’s uh, so maybe I’ll let you know next year, how I’m doing on this.

[00:23:26] Si: I need to know how that goes, but I do agree with you. I think as humans, we, we should have a natural connection with, you know, people nearby. I know it’s not for everyone. Some people are really much more comfortable on their own, in their own company, on their. Space and all this, but, um, as someone like you, I, I definitely thrive on the energy of people.

[00:23:43] Si: And, uh, that’s part of the reason I like to make the effort to go to the office and see my teammates and bounce ideas off them. Because my wife noticed when she went back to work and left me at home after lockdown, my social skills just went to pot. So I, I definitely need to be mindful of that. And I dunno if you’ve been in a similar situation through lockdown or with the kids at all.

[00:24:05] for sure having the kids help us have all, you know, all the time, even lock down a very lively environment, you know, and a lot of energy and a lot of good vibes in house, which I, you know, I got quite a few friends, friends that really struggle because they were, you know, all by themselves.

[00:24:23] Carlo Beschi: Uh, but I. Did, get. You know, when things started to open up again a little bit of, oh, it’s so hard. I wanna be by myself, you know? So the first time I went to the office offices, no, no, I’m not going today. I just going, just making it up an alibi. Cause I didn’t wanna go. And then feeling the, the weirdness of, uh, You know, the kind, the smell of the people and, and that physical presence.

[00:24:46] Carlo Beschi: So, uh, I think, uh, that, uh, you know, if, if someone was asking me was the Right. uh, balance, you know, of a working remotely versus meeting people face to face, I do believe that, uh, If you got a chance, a mix, it’s absolutely the way to go. You know, they say, no, you got a chance to go to the office once per week and then work from home the rest of the time.

[00:25:09] Carlo Beschi: That’s amazing. You know, now I am being very, in a way, just, you know, optimizing for my specific situation where I say, well, I’m going much less because, uh, I wanna spend as much time as I can, you know, especially with the little one just now, but already, you know, in my mind, you know, I’ve got. Uh, my daughter, she, she started going nursery in September and the baby will grow a little bit.

[00:25:32] Carlo Beschi: So I do plan to go a bit more to the office, uh, because, uh, you know, it’s, uh, I think it can be win-win so, you know, you are there and something’s just, uh, nicer there. Some things are easier there. I think there’s, something about the, initial connection with people, you know, and, uh, you know, some even stakeholders, it’s just, you know, it’s so much easier than to build it face to face online.

[00:25:58] Carlo Beschi: And because then, uh, Yeah. You know, we definitely just appreciate each other as human beings. And then, you know, we, I think we’re more empathetic with each other and if you’ve never seen someone, you know, and you just try to work with them over email or something, it just doesn’t work.

[00:26:13] Carlo Beschi: Yeah. And, uh, yeah, maybe one thing that I can also mention in terms of the kind of. company, uh, you know, arrangement that I, I embrace. And then I, I find super powerfully is we do, um, retreat once per year. So we went to Majorca, uh, last year for four days. The all like tech product department and that’s, uh, super energizing and super fun. And, you know, it’s just about in building and having fun together, but that that’s kind of the, you build up, you know, a lot of, uh, energy and social connections and things.

[00:26:49] Carlo Beschi: And then, you know, last, last, last time. So, uh, we, we we’ve been seen, I think that, uh, cause we onboarded lots of people purely remotely since then that some of that. Sense of belonging is not there. So I think that there is a lot there about, uh, the physical presence and doing some Nice. stuff together that, that helps, uh, helps with that. Yeah. 

[00:27:14] Si: Yeah. Yeah. I I’ve heard a lot of startups are trying to encourage the retreat idea because again, you know, yeah. We can remote work remotely quite easily and technically effectively. Right. But the, the people connection is lost. So at least doing that on a semi-regular basis, maybe once or twice a year, bringing as many people together in the possible the same place and not talk work.

[00:27:35] Si: We, we even had a team social yesterday where we put all our kit away, went to the park and just played games. And it was like, no one go on Teams, no one look at your device because we want to spend some quality time together. And it worked. It was wonderful. And everyone said today, no, it was such a lovely afternoon where we didn’t have to worry about work for once. 

[00:27:52] Si: So, taking a while into consideration, like the balance between work and home life. Could you tell us about what your typical day might look like or some of the things you might have to do and how you organize those things?

[00:28:02] Carlo Beschi: Uh, yes. So, uh, all days are different, you know, as everyone probably with, with, with babies, we will appreciate, but. Overall. I, I tend to, to get up very, very early, like, uh, probably around 5:00 AM. So usually at this point in time, the baby uses you to wake up and I spend some time with her, but then she goes back to sleep.

[00:28:23] Carlo Beschi: So 4 35, uh, which means that then is, uh, is very nice, time of the day for me to have a breakfast by myself and start to organize my thinking around the day. Also talk, talking about a work day. Uh, so definitely, you know, think about, kind of go through my list of things to do and, uh, uh, you know, uh, my, my agenda for the day and, uh, 

[00:28:45] Carlo Beschi: Some days I, I do start to do some work as well. So the idea is that while I’m there, everyone else is sleeping, I’m in a good place. And I cannot basically, uh, move forward a little bit. So, you know, let’s say I do a couple of hours of work. I probably gonna take a couple of hours off in the afternoon to do something with the kids or, or whatever. Uh, so, uh, it’s optional.

[00:29:07] Carlo Beschi: It depends on how it goes and cause the variable is. When do the other kids wake up? You know, they usually wake up anytime between 6 30 and 7 30. So, you know, days, bit longer. That’s fine. I carry on. Uh, if they wake up, you know, I’ll have breakfast with them, spend some time with them. and then, uh, one kind of milestone, there is, uh, eight 40 school run, you know, so make sure the kids are ready.

[00:29:29] Carlo Beschi: uh, they both go, but one comes back, uh, and then, uh, Again, as I was saying, I, I do, uh, wanna be reactive and, you know, I make time if it’s needed. But, uh, usually the morning is where I, I do tend to, to focus more on just having, you know, quite, quite a few meetings and, and, and doing, uh, some significant work, Really depends. Uh, sometimes, uh, I do take a break over lunch or sometimes I have have a quick lunch. Uh, and, uh, and then I, I work few, few more hours in the afternoon. Uh, uh, again, it’s a mix of, uh, you know, video calls, uh, writing documentation. I think communication, I, uh, even before the little one was, was here and. I do usually take, uh, like half an hour here and there to do something, you know, either, uh, with the kids or something for, for the house.

[00:30:23] Carlo Beschi: Uh, I probably almost every day, you know, go and do some, maybe shopping some groceries or something, which is, it works well for me as well. Does, uh, I think there’s, uh, good, like, uh, downtime when you kind of, you know, keep thinking about work, but not actively working, you know? So that, that maybe is one of those examples.

[00:30:41] Carlo Beschi: And, uh, we we’ve got the, I mean, school running in the afternoon depends on the days, but usually it’s either three 30 or four 30. So, uh, I do that. So plan my, you know, my time around that. And after that, I usually don’t have schedule stuff. So it, by exception, there might be, but is kind of the, I’m almost done at that point in time.

[00:31:06] Carlo Beschi: And if I have some, uh, outstanding work, I tend to do it after everyone is to bed. So talking about after 8 30 9 and, uh, you know, I’ve got something I really wanna, you know, get out of the, here on the. Uh, I probably spend, you know, say one hour or a couple of hours, but I I’ve got a lot of autonomy in terms of managing my, my workload.

[00:31:26] Carlo Beschi: So, uh, you know, I definitely don’t have to kind of check that I’ve done eight hours every day. So there’s probably days I work four hours and, and days I work 12, so that’s kind of the level of extreme, uh, but, That that’s because, uh, uh, you know, I, proactively prioritize where, where I wanna spend my time.

[00:31:45] Carlo Beschi: So an example would be, well, I’m not doing it today, but I’ve done other times. It’s a sunny day. My agenda is, is quite, uh, free. You know, I’ve got a couple of things I want, to do, but, uh, could I have done this early in the morning? Yes, I’ve done it Can I just postpone this thing to tomorrow? Okay. I just get, you know, I mean, maybe one of the kids is at school, so I just get the other one and we go and spend three, or four hours in the park.

[00:32:07] it sounds like you’ve got a wonderful balance though mean, obviously you’re not too much of a slave to the calendar. You know, you just have things that need to be done. Occasionally you do need to shift things around to accommodate, you know, what others’ needs and time, but, uh, I’d love to know your thought process of like how you prioritize your work and what, a good day sounds like to you or what looks like to. It’s a

[00:32:28] Carlo Beschi: So I, I, yeah, I look at this with these lenses, so there’s, uh, you know, kind of, I, I play on different tables, you know, so I, I, I, I help one of our, our teams, I’m part of a leadership team. I got a few more initiatives that are running. So you know, I’ve got all of my to-do, let’s say my, my things in a list, in a tool.

[00:32:47] Carlo Beschi: So I, I usually have a, a good understanding about what I want to achieve every week. So actually I start the week with some sort of, you know, three things for the week, some goals for the week. And then as I was saying, I, I do that, uh, check in on a daily basis. So I mean, things, you know, change over time, but usually that’s kind of the. my, my guidance in terms of, uh, okay, what, what do I want to, to achieve today? So, and then it’s usually, you know, those three tables, you know, this team, what do they need from me that maybe is where It’s a bit more, uh, well, I need to be there at specific points of the time in the day, because it’s their schedule, not mine.

[00:33:27] Carlo Beschi: And then I, you know, I’ve got this leadership team I’m part of that, most of that is async. So I know some things that wanna achieve there, or some, maybe I need to be bit reactive because there are some conversations happening, but, uh, some of that, because it it’s actually happening most of that, uh, right or wrong async, I can actually take work with me.

[00:33:46] Carlo Beschi: So that would be a good example, you know, of, uh, that granular compartment com. You say the word? Yeah. Uh, uh, because I can actually go to the park, you know, and I’m walking to the park with my daughter and we are there and we just working together. I’m paying attention, but, uh, she’s playing in the sand pit and I can actually check my phone and see, you know, is this something that is worth my attention now because she’s there.

[00:34:12] Carlo Beschi: And I, she doesn’t really need me that point in time. You know, I could just chill out. I could, you know, read the newspaper or, or just sun bathe, or actually there is a nice conversation I can chip. and, uh, I’ll be there, you know, in that conversation maybe for 10 or 15 minutes, and then I’m fine. And then, you know, after five minutes she’s done and we can go back.

[00:34:30] Carlo Beschi: yeah, and, and the initiatives, uh, is probably the one where it’s, uh, very much about. I got a lot of autonomy about, you know, where I wanna put time into that. So yeah, the type of work and the type of environment. plays a big part in term of, uh, giving me the ability to be so flexible.

[00:34:49] Carlo Beschi: And, I I’ve been doing this job for a few years, so I’m very confident about my ability to do it. So that probably helps a lot. 

[00:34:56] Si: It’s a good shout. And I, I love your idea of the, um, you know, what your goals for the week and then actively, you know, reviewing them on a daily basis. That’s something I’ve tried to get in a better habit of, you know, like a, with a weekly retrospective as well on a Friday afternoon, just look back and how that week went.

[00:35:11] Si: You know, what the highlights, frustrations, what can I do try next week? And then they kind of roll over into the following week, but the fact that you are more, outcome driven rather than just, you know yeah. Ticking through the day, making sure I look like I’m doing stuff happy days and clocking off. Now, it doesn’t feel like that’s your job anymore. It’s more like, yeah. What do you want me to focus on? I’ll work out my priorities and we’ll go through it from there.

[00:35:33] Carlo Beschi: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. The, yeah, the weekly retro is a great is a great, great suggestion. I, I, I times I do that, I don’t have, you know, the habit of doing it on a regular basis, but. Whenever I do it. It’s great. So totally. It’s a great shout and yeah, for me, the planning is, uh, is key for me, but I’m also using it to give visibility to some, some key people about where my time goes and where my mind is. so they know, you know, well, this is my, my priorities then. Okay. Would you like me to do something else? If so, tell me otherwise don’t expect, expect me to jump on index cause uh, I’m not 

[00:36:09] Si: True. And, and I guess the team know about your home arrangements. They know that you will be unavailable at points, but that’s okay because they know that you’re gonna be committed to it.

[00:36:18] Carlo Beschi: yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. I, I, you know, my calendar is there is open. Uh, I take time off for the kids. I just put it out of office kids. And I mean, I’m not, again, I’m not saying it’s for everyone. It’s for every company. In my case, it just works. this is also just part of the overall approach that, you know, people like me and you and others have to work and teamwork.

[00:36:41] Carlo Beschi: Something’s not working for you. Tell me, I definitely wanna hear it. You know, if you think that I’m not there when you need me, well, please tell me because if I’m not seeing it And you are seeing it, I need you to tell me, so, you know, totally, you know, kind of radical candor, please, absolutely. You know, I’ll just be happy to, to hear that, you know, this arrangement or this thing or something is not working for you. Yeah. 

[00:37:03] Si: And have you found, you know, do you feel in a better place having this flexibility rather than being, you know, that slave to the calendar or to teams that really dependent on you? Is it, is it feel 

[00:37:13] Carlo Beschi: Yeah, the 200%. So for me, I, I, so I got, I started to work as an agile coach down in Italy, roughly 10 years ago. And, uh, almost everyone that was doing this job, they were, um, consultants and traveling a lot. At that time. I didn’t have kids yet, but I had these friends and they were. , you know, I love my job, but I never see my family.

[00:37:38] Carlo Beschi: So basically they were living in hotels, you know, and just going back, uh, the weekend and I knew I didn’t wanna do it. So I pick up, you know, the first time I got a job like this in a product company where I could just go to the same office, it was amazing for me, but I was commuting like two hours and a half.

[00:37:52] Carlo Beschi: We didn’t have kids yet, but we’ve been very little presence for, for the kids, you know, at that time. Uh, uh, so over time I I’ve been trying to, uh, If possible, you know, because each of us is, I think you’re entitled to, you know, to, to put your own, you know, ambitions and goals. So for me, it was very important to be fulfilled at work, but have, you know, fulfillment beyond work, you know, and have time and, and energy for, for my family.

[00:38:17] Carlo Beschi: So, um, working in the office, uh, was good and, uh, I didn’t have a lot of time for I had one kid time and then two, but it was okay. you know, and overall it was working. Now, working from home with this level of flexibility. Uh, I’m very, very, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and, and I’m very, very glad of the situation.

[00:38:38]

[00:38:38] Si: Sounds like you got the dream opportunity. And I think we, in our previous discussions, you’re making points that you put family first over work rather than the other way around, which is difficult balance to get right. But it feels like you, yeah. You’re lucky that you’ve got a situation which allows you to be like that.

[00:38:53] Carlo Beschi: Yeah. It it’s not, uh, yeah, they wanna paint like that, uh, all perfect picture. Right. Some days, I, I, I get it wrong, you know, some days, uh, I do get stressed at work and it reflects, you know, maybe on interaction I’m having with, with my wife or the kids. Uh, some days I probably just, uh, you know, work too much because I care so much and I wanna finish some stuff when I should better, you know, just, uh, stop, stop now.

[00:39:19] Carlo Beschi: Uh, I have, uh, A great, uh, you know, mirror in my wife. She’s quite direct in telling me, you know, well, there’s something you’re not here, you know, for example, you know, yes, you’re here, but you’re not here. Or, but you said you were gonna finish at five at six 30. Uh, so things like that. So it, uh, can be, can hurt in a way, but it helps a lot, you know, because it helps, uh, keep you in check. That’s also yeah. That, that whole person, and it’s, you know, it’s an ongoing process, you know, you’re never done, but yeah, I I’m glad what I achieve so far and I’m totally, you know, committed to, you know, keep finding better and better ways of making this, this work. 

[00:40:00] Si: It’s a fair point about your wife as a, sort of a, as a warning sign as well. I’ve been in that situation in the past where I was all about the work and my wife had to remind me, you know, you do have two children here that are probably more important than your job and you know, not always, but you know, value wise. That should be the, the goal. And it, made me realize, so I got into a better place, but then I, I think we’ve shifted the other way now because of lockdown. My wife, as a teacher, she’s permanently on her phone, keeping up what’s. happening in the day job. And now I’m in a better place. I’m saying phone down. It’s, you’re, you’re neglecting your children. They’re actually talking at you and you’re not listening now. So do something about it. But the fact that we can bounce it off each other and, you know, watch each other behave in those ways. It’s helpful.

[00:40:44] Carlo Beschi: Yeah. Yeah. And, uh, and as part of this, uh, you made me think about another thing. So as part of this, uh, my work is through. Happen online, but what about, uh, the other interactions and other, you know, fun I get and other things. So I, I’ve been trying to be very mindful about how much extra time I spend online.

[00:41:07] Carlo Beschi: So, and I, I do spend, uh, Quite little time. So, you know, I probably compare to, let’s say average people, you know, I’m very much less on socials or on other things that are online. There are some things nowadays you, you know, you do do on, on the phone or on the laptop, but I’m, I’m really trying to move away from the devices as much as, as I can once the, the, the, work part is done. So, yeah. 

[00:41:29] Si: Yeah. And I, I agree with you. It’s I’m trying to, again, compartmentalize my social time on online. It’s not great. You know, doom scrolling through LinkedIn and Twitter is not great for. Mental health. But, um, as techies, we do like to keep it on top of things, you know? Right. And make sure that we have a bit of time on that.

[00:41:48] Si: It just sound like you’ve got a better balance there as well. Um, what do you do for fun though? You know, what, what is your apart from the kids? Obviously? What else do you do just to relax?

[00:41:58] Carlo Beschi: Uh, yeah, so I do a little bit of gardening, not a lot, but you know, we got a little nice garden and I, I love spending time there. Uh, I love reading. I don’t do as much. I love doing it. This is part of that. Uh, can it just be done? Not on device. I tend to do it on books and not, uh, you know, eBooks, uh, and I super love writing, which I also don’t do a lot. I used to do a lot and, uh, you know, this kind of a, I think part of the. To keep improving because that’s kind of the things when I do them, I just, you know, feel very good or helps me go back and be in a Very good place. So, so I know, I know what those things are. So it’s about doing that. They, it is tricky to to find the time for everything, you know, because you, you want to be there with the kids and you do need to, to, to invest time and work and, you know, there some just, uh, housekeeping and stuff needs to happen. And, uh, you do wanna sleep a few hours per night, but, uh, yeah, the, the balance of, you know, having good mix of these things is important. So I think at this point in time, so I don’t do like, you know, sports or other things at this point in time. Uh, I could be another thing maybe for the future, but yeah, quite some time with the kids and, uh, little bit of gardening and some reading. Also listening to music. That’s something that I, I enjoy. I don’t do a lot, but that’s another thing that, you know, I got my very good favorite artist from when I was younger. So I’m not up to speed with the news, but yeah, I still love listening all them.

[00:43:36] Si: You’ve got a good mix there, there, and the garden is probably one of the better ones. Cause it gets you out. The house gets you into the NA nature and using your hands with the actual output. You know, it’s a lot more satisfying. I think I spend like normally about an hour every day trying to read fiction, nonfiction, really mix. But again, that just puts my head in a much healthier place before I get into work. I do that first thing in the morning before I, uh, clock on as it were. it it’s been really useful sort of, uh, insights to your world. Carlo. I’m fascinated by the balance you’ve got seem to have got about right. Have you got any, um, main tips, I guess, for any aspiring parents or anyone that’s struggling to get the right balance in place? Yeah.

[00:44:13] Carlo Beschi: purely in terms of parenting for me, uh, with the first kid, everything was new. So that can be really tough, you know? And, uh, so it’s amazing, but, uh, I know from at least my experience and other people experience, you may not enjoy it, you know, fully, uh, at the very moment because, uh, times, you know, you’re worrying about things that you don’t need to worry about.

[00:44:35] Carlo Beschi: Sometimes you don’t worry about things you should be worried about. Uh, but, uh, you know, it’s fantastic. And, uh, now, you know, with the second one, we, we knew a number of things with the third one, you know, been very comfortable in terms of, you know, lots of things we seen them already, but it’s, it’s more so , uh, they end up, uh, and, uh, yeah, for, for me is, uh, if, if you are working from home, you’ve got a chance to work from home all the time or some of the time that’s a great opportunity, you know, to you’ve got that the time to manage, you do need to manage it, but it’s there it’s available. Right. And, uh, overall as, uh, as, as a parent instead, uh, I mean, the joy the kids bring, uh, you know, this is just something the magic of seeing them, you know, born and grow up. It’s just unbeatable there. Isn’t another thing I think, as a fulfilling in life, I’m, I’m very, very, very, very proud of my kids. I’m very, very happy that I made this choice at some point to have kids. So can only recommend, yeah, it can be tough at times, but it’s totally, totally, totally worth. 

[00:45:41] Si: Absolutely. I, I vouch for that as a dad of a 15 year old and a nine year old, you know, it does take effort and time and a lot of tolerance at times as well, but it’s, it’s learning on the job as it were that we can get very agile in our mindset on this, how we iterate over time. Like I say, it’s been wonderful to chat to you. I appreciate your time and your stories. thanks very much.

[00:46:01] Carlo Beschi: Well, it’s been, uh, great to, to speak with you Si, uh, so thanks very much. Thanks for, uh, for inviting me and, uh, yeah. Hope everyone’s been enjoying listening to this. 

[00:46:12] Si: We’ll share some of your little tips in the, uh, show notes and, people can find you on LinkedIn, I guess is probably the best place or Twitter 

[00:46:18] Carlo Beschi: Yeah. Fantastic. Yes, please. Don. Yeah. Always happy know people will reach out. Yeah. I’m uh, I’m sociable. Yeah. 

[00:46:25] Si: You are, I can definitely vouch for that. Thanks mate. 

[00:46:27] Carlo Beschi: yeah. Thank you.

[00:46:28] Si: Huge thanks to Carlo for joining us this week, sharing his personal stories and life hacks to find that natural balance between parenting and work. I love the idea around multiple spaces to work depending on the context and especially how he is making it work for him. You can reach out to Carlo on Linkedin and Twitter to find out more and all those details are in the show notes That’s all for me for this week. Remember to like review and subscribe to the podcast. Reach out to me at OSI on Twitter or email. Hello at make life work, podcast.com. I’ll be back next week with another wonderful guest sharing their stories about how they make life work.