The View from my Office – the incredible vale of a flexible workplace

Bradley Boveinis joined the SixPivot family a little over 6 months ago and knows first hand the value of a flexible workplace. Read his story….

You would be forgiven for thinking that’s not much of a view, let alone one worth writing about. It’s not the view from a luxurious high rise building overlooking the bay, it’s not a cool chill out area with a Foosball table, drinks fridge, and fancy coffee machines. It’s just me, on the recliner, in my lounge room. Rather boring, actually. But that’s my view, it has been my view for the last 5 weeks, and I wouldn’t trade it for all the free energy drinks in the world.

Now, like many people who work from home, I have a home office. In my home office, I have my comfortable leather office chair, a large desk, a fancy mechanical keyboard, stereo system, 3×24″ monitors, noise cancelling headphones, emergency whisky, and all the other little luxuries one requires for a highly productive, distraction free, work environment. My home office, however, is currently completely useless to me.

You see, 5 weeks ago, I was in a remote part of Queensland on holidays with family and friends. We were in what was considered one of the ‘back paddocks’ of a 150,000 acre cattle station. A rough, rarely visited part of the property with paddocks full of dense mulga forests interrupted by the occasional dirt track. We were about 1 to 1½ hours’ drive from the homestead, and another 2 hours from the nearest town, depending on who was driving at the time, of course. It was late on a Thursday afternoon, sunset wasn’t far away, we were on our way back to the quarters when I was involved in a fairly serious accident. The short story is, I managed to roll a quad bike, and in the process, put an 8cm deep hole in the upper part of the calf of my right leg right through my gastrocnemius and into the soleus muscle behind it. On top of this, 350kgs of angry quad bike decided my knee was a nice resting place for the back tyre when it came down to settle. This little stunt of mine landed me 3 nights in hospital, a flight with the Royal Flying Doctors, surgery, a free set of crutches and moon boot. Oh, let’s not forget the ongoing weekly physio appointments.

My leg had swollen to about twice it’s normal size, with all different shades of purple, blue and yellow. I had gravel rash on every part of my body, with the worst being on the right hand side, and of course there was the hole in my leg. My head was fine, I was wearing a helmet, luckily.

It was 3 days after I was discharged before I could manage to hobble around confidently with the assistance of crutches. It was week and a half before I could get around without crutches, relying entirely on the moon boot. At 2 weeks the moon boot came off and the stitches came out, and I was back to relying on crutches again until I built up the strength in my ankle. It was around week 3 when I could hobble about the house without the need of crutches or the moon boot, and progress since has been measurable but slow. I still have swelling around my knee that prevents a lot of movement (at last physio check-up, I could only bend my knee 65 degrees).

Tomorrow marks week 5, and I still have to keep my leg elevated. If my knee falls below the level of my heart, the blood gradually fills all the contusions in my leg increasing the swelling and discomfort. Even with the compression bandage, once elevated, it can still take hours to drain back to a comfortable level. I still haven’t had an uninterrupted night sleep since the accident, averaging around 4-6 interruptions each night as I try to find a new comfortable position to lie in. Every day activities I used to take for granted are still a challenging task, but they get easier with each passing week. However, I’m still unable sit in a chair for more than 10 minutes at a time without experiencing great discomfort.

But, for all the physical impairment, I have only needed to take one day off work – a day when the pain was too great and I was unable to sleep the night before. This is possible because of the arrangement SixPivot has with our clients. It was also something I never saw mentioned when reading about the benefits of working from home. How many people plan to spend 10 weeks, stuck at home, recovering from an accident resulting in unplanned surgery? I certainly didn’t. How would it affect you if you were unable to work for months at a time? For some employers I have worked for in the past, I don’t think I would have a job to go back to after my holidays had run out. This would have forced me to return to work early, which could be disastrous for my recovery. I have income protection, sure, but that could take months before it is paid out, and by that time I would be selling off assets and investments just to make ends meet.

I have read that working from home can equate to the same happiness as a $55,000 pay increase. I’m not sure how someone came to that figure, but I can say it offers something worth more than that. Working from home has allowed me to maintain a stable income, when I would have otherwise not been physically able to do so, and when I needed it the most. We’re a single income household. While my girlfriend finishes her engineering degree, all financial obligations fall on my shoulders. It has also helped me stay occupied and focused when the limit of my abilities was to lie in bed with my leg on a pile of pillows. There were days when all I did was work, or sleep. With nothing but the usual necessary hygienic rituals in between. I was unable to do anything more. Now I can hobble around a bit more, and I’ve graduated to the recliner in the lounge room, but I would still be unable to work on site. If I could last the duration of the commute, I have not worked at a client that catered for people who needed to keep their leg elevated at all times. At least at home, if the discomfort becomes too much, I just go take a break and rest it until I am good again. I can recover at my own leisure, and the stress of urgency to return to work is lifted off my shoulders.