Alexander Neves joined e.near in early 2020. He now shares his experience as a new father, teleworking for almost a year.
Alexander Neves, our International Business Manager, had a very special 1st year at e.near. About two weeks after joining us, the Covid-19 pandemic forced a lockdown in Portugal. Since that time, he’s been teleworking, just like everyone else at e.near. But for Alexander, it has been quite different. He became a father for the first time only a few months after all that.
Now, he shares some of his insights as a new father teleworking for months with a baby at home. Today we celebrate Father’s Day in Portugal, so we asked Alexander for some tips on properly managing teleworking with a newborn around.
#1: First of all, you’re part of e.near’s sales department. Can you let us know what do you do on a normal workday? And what would you think you’ll be doing, if the pandemic didn’t happen?
Firstly, whatever I do, I have to do it quietly otherwise Francisca, my daughter, easily wakes up and those first 2 hours of peaceful work are seriously jeopardized (laughs).
My mornings are for getting up to date with my e-mails and to follow up with targeted clients. Then, lunchtime. Usually when one cooks, the other must play with Francisca. She is very active – impossible to multitask. In the afternoon, the time of the day where I am mostly occupied, I usually deal with the prospection of new potential clients and Zoom calls with clients or colleagues.
Without Covid-19, I reckon the work procedures would be the same, but with less sleep (as I go by train to the centre of Lisbon) and less time with my wife and daughter. Though I must admit I miss that office spirit, colleagues, gatherings – you cannot have everything, right?
#2: You were working with e.near for only a couple of weeks before the first lockdown. Can you tell us how it was for you?
It was great, really. To get you in the loop, I was working for Edge, another company of the Connect Enterprises group. I was there for 4 months and as I had an international background/experience, it was with excitement that I embraced this move to e.near.
But, despite the pandemic, 2020 was a great year for you! A few months after you entered e.near, you became a father for the first time.
#3: How did you manage the whole adaptation to the company, to the new ‘normal’ and to becoming a parent – all pretty much at the same time?
It was the best year of my life! I do not want to be selfish and thank the pandemic, I know how it affected many families and businesses around the world. But the truth is, it allowed me to follow up close to Francisca’s first year of life. It wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
The whole adaptation to the company, from home, was amazingly easy. I owe that to my incredible colleagues, which helped me a lot. They are always available with a smile – not easy to do when you are busy and have to “babysit” someone.
My CEO, Inês Malheiro, she has always been very understanding as well. I remember at the beginning Inês sent me a text message even before I requested a day off due to family issues – “I already know what happened, do what you have to do, don´t worry about anything. Family is above all.” I would like this opportunity to thank everyone for making my adaptation an easy and happy process.
#4: And how has it been, having a young baby to educate and take care of during these challenging circumstances?
Like everyone else, sometimes I complain as it gets a little bit stressful and hard to focus with all the noise, cartoons on tv, crying, all normal stuff. But in the end, there are only smiles and laughter, as I feel it is rewarding to be working from home, closer to family.
Honestly, it is incredibly challenging but getting easier with time and it will be much easier soon. We are planning on organizing an office in our garage and Francisca will go to school in September.
#5: What do you think would be different if everything had been ‘typical’? Did you notice any good parts of having a small baby to raise while being forced to be at home almost all the time?
There are mostly advantages due to this abnormal worldwide situation when regarding “fresh” first time parents, such as myself and Ana (my wife). Having to raise a baby for the first time is incredibly challenging. By Portuguese law, as a father, you can take 25 business days off as parental leave, which is great as you can be around to help and support the mother. But to be honest (and I am not complaining) it will never be enough, even more so now the schools are closed, and children always ask for so much of your time and attention.
#6: And what about the downsides? What was (and probably still are) the most challenging parts of having a young baby to raise during the pandemic?
Definitely, the biggest challenge is the fact that Francisca does not have as much human contact with other people as she should, or we would like her to. We have always been incredibly careful with the covid-19 situation, so it breaks my heart that my mother always must be around her first grandchild with a mask on. It hurts, seeing in her eyes how much she wants to kiss her. It is not fair. But hopefully, soon we can live normally, cherish more these simple things which we thought to be granted.
#7: And do you think e.near has been supporting you properly through all this?
I have to be very thankful to work for a company such as e.near. The reason I am saying this is, I honestly feel and most importantly I can see how all the staff is so well looked after, as if we are all a big family. Let me do the right thing and rephrase this last sentence, delete the “as if”! We are all a big family!
#8: We’re guessing you might have some pro tips to deal with teleworking with kids at home. Would you like to share a few with us?
Patience is something we all have to practice hard, in order to have tons of it! (laughs). I am joking. I never tried yoga but should give it a go. Nothing is popping in my head right now, but one thing is certain, my wife is the rock of our little family. She is a superwoman with many superpowers – I have to make sure she reads this interview!
#9: You’re part of e.near’s family for about a year now. And what a year it was! How do you feel when you think about this last year?
Exactly, what a year it was! How do I feel… I have always been feeling great throughout the whole year. Anyway, I must admit that there were a few potential deals with potential clients where I was certain we would succeed. But, in the end, our prospect decided to choose another path. In the end, we both went separate ways. How I look back at this is, as my colleague Shafik said, “I give you 45 minutes to go for a coffee and be frustrated about it, then come back!”.
As cliché it may sound, in the end, I am strongly confident to say it was an amazing year where I have learnt many things not just professionally but beneficial for my personal life also. I must mention my new colleagues who played such a positive prominent role in this, too.
#10: Probably, this pandemic changed our reality forever and things won’t be exactly as we thought they would just one year ago. So, if you could think of anything to say to all kids growing up right now, what would it be?
As I will tell my daughter, make sure you cherish every single moment, a simple hug, a kiss, a walk by the sea. These things were made so normal throughout the years, but this pandemic made us understand how happy we were, and we were not even realizing it. Please start enjoying the natural beauty of every experience, as simple as it may seem.
I hope everyone will start to smile more often when we have our “freedom” back – we certainly should. 😊
e.near wishes a Happy Father’s Day to every father out there! Thank you for being the superheroes of the new generations.
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