One Life. Live it Well

Automatic Summary

Navigating the New Age of Remote Work

In the last twenty months, technology has emerged as a unifying force, bringing together hundreds of women across the globe. Anna Deloy in particular, deserves a huge thank you for facilitating these connections. At the Women Tech Network, we've witnessed firsthand the powerful impact that women can have in the field of technology. We are here today to dispel stereotypes about women in tech and affirm that we are not just participants, but leaders in this industry.

My name is Iava Gil Cora, the founder of a global platform that supports Greek entrepreneurs and brands, and a campaign against domestic violence. I stand before you with a personal story, hoping to inspire you with my journey of self-discovery during these challenging times.

Transitioning to a Remote Work Environment

With most businesses switching to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to rapidly adapt to the changing work environment. Amidst the insecurity and ever-changing landscape of professional expectations, many of us found it difficult to strike a balance between work and personal life.

I initially anticipated an easy transition. I looked forward to the extra time I would gain and the money I would save by eliminating the daily commute. However, reality surfaced, and the stress from continuous connectivity, endless emails, and the absence of physical isolation between work and personal life became overwhelming.

Not only did my work increase significantly, but physical health issues arose along with struggles with depression. The weight of proving my productivity while working from home added to this tumultuous phase. Like me, many other employees sought empathy, support and understanding from their managers and human resource departments.

Surviving and Thriving in Remote Work

To combat these issues, I had to adopt a structured lifestyle. I identified four key pillars -

1. Healthy Eating

With diseases to my name and weight gain due to lack of physical activity, I decided to block out two hours a day to prepare healthy meals. I found solace in nourishing my body with good food and it was more than just a trend.

2. Adequate Rest

Aiming for a consistent sleeping schedule, I ensured 10 hours of sleep, which significantly improved my mood, concentration, and productivity.

3. Limiting Screen Time

I was alarmed when I discovered that I was spending 15 hours a day on social media. To break this unhealthy cycle, I limited these activities to only 2 hours per day, freeing up much-needed time for other fulfilling activities.

4. Stay Active

Whether it was walking over the weekends or just moving about more within the home, reintroducing exercise into my life made a positive impact on both my physical and mental health.

The Importance of Self-Care for Better Productivity

While it was a struggle at first, incorporating self-care routines into my work day provided me with a foundation for better productivity. I learned to set clear boundaries while simultaneously engaging in relentless self-care. As women in technology, it is critical to remember that if we are "burned out" or suffer from health issues, we cannot perform at our best. We have to understand that we are only human. Not perfectionists. Not robots.

Reach Out for Support

This journey has reminded me that it is okay to ask for help from colleagues, managers, and HR departments. In these challenging times, support, mentally and physically, is paramount for survival and success in our professional lives.

To conclude, I invite you to remember that we're all navigating this challenging terrain together. To all the women out there in the world of technology - stay connected, stay positive, and remember, united we win.

Connect with me, Iava Gil Cora, on LinkedIn for more insights and conversations on managing remote work and self-care in the age of technology.

Video Transcription

So it's uh it's the second time I participate in uh women tech network. And uh it's, it's an amazing experience. Uh I want to say a very, very big thank you to Anna Deloy because Anna has done this amazing thing.She has connected hundreds of women from all over the globe and she has connected us with a magic way, the way of technology. We all love technology. We believe that women uh can do miracles while they're working in these fields. And uh I'm sure that hello from Germany and I'm sure that we can do a lot of things if we just leave, leave behind all those stereotypes and all those um ideas we had the last years that men are better using technology. And um you know, we're just next to them. I think we are leaders now and uh women tech network proves that women can be real leaders in the area of uh technology. Well, my name is Iava Gil Cora. I am a founder of a global uh platform that started eight years ago. And the main goal was to support Greek entrepreneurs, Greek brands and uh share the methods that uh Greece has a lot to offer in the modern world. I'm also the founder of a campaign against domestic violence. And um during this 12 to 1220 months, my life changed a lot. I wanna say that today, I wanna, I wanna share my own personal story. It's not a formal kind of presentation.

It's the way I, I found my own steps, the way I found my own steps to be healthy today during the pandemic and during all this insecurity, we all have to deal through uh COVID-19. So uh I'm going to share my presentation and let me say some things. Well, I hope you can all say still the slide. Um As an old, I used to say that we have one life and we have to live it well. So this is my main topic for today. Yeah. Um I don't know if that sounds, sounds, seems familiar to you. I used to work a lot of hours and I mean, a lot of hours I had no time to rest. I didn't know what the word balance or holidays or vacation meant. So I was trying to convince anyone, everyone around my working area and myself that I can do everything that I can um succeed in everything I was going to be. And this is, I think that, that, that comic uh reminds of me uh some years ago, even if, even if it's a comic when remote work started through COVID-19. I said, ok, that's amazing. Now, I will have time to stay home to cook healthier meals. I will save money and time. I I will, I will not feel obligated to be around, you know, metro trains and buses just to get out of my office. I will be home. I will, I will wake up a certain hour. I will wear my pajamas.

I will be productive. I I will be uh mentally balanced. But after all, I had to admit that remote work was not just a piece of cake. In a matter of fact, I love cakes. And uh during pandemic, I gained about £10. Well, it was not only uh the £10 I gained from my pandemic. I had problems with my autoimmune system. I got the leg problems. Uh I had depression and I was trying to understand what was going on in my life. Of course, this is something that hundreds of people had to deal with. But for me, it was, it was totally different because I was feeling 100 insecure that I can still be productive in my home and the issues, even if my managers didn't have the chance uh to check my job to check what I'm doing. So I was feeling a lot of guilt and all this guilt made me sick. The thing is that uh talking with a lot of managers, sorry, I have to be one slide before talking to a lot of uh managers. I understood that companies, no matter if those companies were small or big, they all had to deal with these challenging times. And the most important thing was to be next to the employees for us.

The most important uh feeling was only to know that someone was there for us, that someone was still uh thought that we can be productive no matter if we have kids playing around the house, no matter if we have kids uh scrolling around the living room and screaming, I want ice cream.

We had to prove to ourselves, we had to prove to our managers and we had to prove to all of the company that we are home, but we are working. We're not on Netflix. We don't eat pizza all the time. And that was like a circle that never had an end. So I, I started to work more hours. I started to work more, more hours than before. I had to check emails. 24 7. I had to send emails 24 7. And that was, that was an amazingly big trap for me. Uh I was wondering if my managers can help me if uh the human resources department can help all the workers and talking with a lot of people, especially women. I can, I can see that it was all about the empathy. Some managers knew that they should uh help the employees and some hr departments were totally absent in this uh big challenging times. Of course. Uh There were a lot of uh productivity tools that we, we could uh use and uh it was mainly their job. There are a lot of tech tools in order to help us. Uh personally, personally, I needed a daily check in. I wanted someone to call me and say hello, good morning. It's a new day today. Let's start from the beginning. Let's do some great brainstorming. Let's do some nice networking no matter if you're home. Let me see what you're thinking.

I was trying to be in contact with my coworkers. Uh And I was trying to, to make for myself a virtual office hour which was unbelievably difficult. Um I wanted emotionally and steady support. And first of all, I had in mind this, we work with people. We need people, we want people to be next to us to exchange our point of view, uh to exchange our ideas and get forward to all the plans we have in mind. So, what did I do? Uh with four diseases and a depression. I had to schedule my days and I started to block some hours of the day just to cook. I felt that I needed to be healthy. And it was a very nice opportunity while staying home to learn how to cook healthier, how to uh make my body uh healthier. And uh my mind more uh more clear. We all know we all know the good things about eating healthy. But for some people that they have diseases and those diseases were the gifts of COVID-19. It was more than a trend. It has to do with our life. I was very close to a lot of diseases. So I started to cook and to prepare my meals for two hours every day, no matter the emails, no matter how, um how many phone calls should I get? I was just preparing my meal and I started to, to sleep better.

The problem is that uh I used to hang around a lot of hours uh watching TV, scrolling around social media and I was going to my bed really exhausted. The next day, I had to wake up, wear my pajamas and starting to, to work 1012, 14 hours again and again. So I started to blog again some hours and from 10 o'clock at night, I know it's not easy for everyone, but for me, I started to sleep at 10 o'clock every night and every morning I was waking up. Uh I was feeling concentrated, I was feeling productive and I was ready to prove that I am still here. I still have ideas. I can make them, I can put them in action. And I am a very good uh executive. The bad thing is that during COVID-19, I lost some friends. And besides this very, very, very bad uh fact, I had to stay in touch with a lot of my friends and I denied to see them on camera. I didn't want an extra Zoom meeting or a messenger or a Viber or a whatsapp. I started to make phone calls. I wanted to hear their voice. Uh It has nothing to do with about, you know, a romantic kind of communication. I needed the right communication.

I needed somebody to talk to me, not just to see me uh by screen. I was enough with all those screens. Uh One day I was on my couch and you know, I have a little device on my smartphone. Actually, it's, it's really a smartphone and uh it was terrible feeling to see, to see that. Uh I was scrolling social media for uh 15 hours, 15 hours. Yes, I was dealing without 15 hours because I was stressed. I was depressed and I was uh I was feeling uh confused, sorry about the phone ring. I was feeling I was feeling depressed. So I had to block uh my devices. And when I was trying to sleep, there were no device next to my bed, there was no TV, no smartphone, no laptop, nothing. I was trying to gain time. I was trying to live in the moment. And you know, to be honest, I had to deal with this fear of FOMO fear of missing out. Um and I have to admit that was, I was addicted to social media. So for me, it was very difficult to live a different life. Like the one I used to live during pandemic. So for me, I had to put a limit of two hours every day, scrolling social media no more than two hours. And I had to move my body.

I had to, I had to admit that those £10 I gained during pandemic, uh they were destroying myself, they were destroying my body, they were destroying my mind and I had no energy to work and to be productive in the way I wanted to, to, to be. And uh I started to walk every Saturday and Sunday. I was not on social media. I was preparing my meals. I was sleeping, I was reading a lot, which is, it was essential for our body and our mind and I was trying to move as much as I could do. It was the only thing that kept me uh mentally in a good condition. A lot of uh a lot of friends are complaining about the kids, you know, they have to work at home and the kids are uh are are all over at the same time that they have very big and serious meeting through a Zoom platform. So my friends uh told me that yes, I have Children and listen, what what I have find out just to keep me do my job. I involve my kids, my kids in my planning. I create a structure but flexible schedule. I put the timer. I set a task and I give them a reward. I make them part of this remotely uh work game. I make them see it as a game. Mama now is having a meeting.

When mama stops the meeting, we will do this, we will eat, we will go for a walk. If you leave me alone, I can give you that. I don't know if, if, if this is right or wrong. it's only what my friends, my female coworkers told me it was the only solution that they had to, to find in order to work in peace. The most big uh challenge I had to face was myself. I had to deal that I was not sure about my abilities. I was trying to prove everyone that uh I am. Um I'm very good at my work and uh if I work the double hours as I used to work, so I will be, you know, I will be the best person ever in a company. And that was, that was a big mistake because in times like those that we have all faced, all we have to do is to adapt our own attitude. We have to embrace our feelings. I had to embrace my feelings that I needed sleep. Good food. My friends, no scrolling around social media for hours. I had to read and I had to be focused on my working goals no matter if my manager was in the screen if he was not, that has nothing to do with my own ability, with my own way of working. Uh I understood that I'm not perfect.

Perfection is something that doesn't exist anyway. I started to feel, to love myself better to engage in my self care in all ways. And in the end, every night I used to say it to myself. Yeah. Again, you, you've done the best thing you could do. There's nothing more you can do right now. It's the best thing. So, enjoy your nap. Enjoy a nice movie. It was a nice productive day. Uh No matter if somebody was uh agree with that or not, you really, you've done your best. Uh That's me. You can find me in uh linkedin and I wanna say just a last phrase if we are burned out. If we had, if we have serious diseases, uh if we die, we will be replaced because uh there's someone always out there that will do a better job, the same job. And uh we will have lost our, our health. So it's very crucial to understand that we have only one life. We have to live it well. And uh we have to understand that we've done the best we can. So don't be afraid to, to talk, don't be afraid to admit that sometimes you feel weak and don't be afraid to ask for help from colleagues, your manager, your a hr departments, it's their job to help you and your coworkers because it's an amazing time that we're living and we all need support, mentally and physically.

So, thank you very much. I think that I am uh I am on time and uh I will be glad to be connected with you uh through linkedin. Um Sorry about the, sorry about the ring, you know, I was trying to, but the ring, it's a, it's a home, it's an office too and those, those things sometimes happen. Uh Thanks God, we are alive. Um We have adopt our mindset. It's a new time, a new challenging time. Technology is here to help us and connected. Women connected, we can do a lot of things, as I always say, women united always win. So yes, we need support, we need support and we have not, we don't have uh the need to be strong 24 7 because we, we are people, we are not robots and the last 20 months the whole planet got totally crazy. No one who is ready for that, even the strongest people. So thank you very much. Thank you Nicole. Thank you, Annie. Thank you Sophia Sophia. I would like to be connected with you too. Thank you, Carlota. So it's time to leave the stage and give this uh the space for another uh female speaker. Bye bye.