The secret is out. Work-at-home is a great way to increase free time for employees, as it eliminates the daily commute and reduces the amount of office-related distractions.
However, instead of giving that free time to their employees, some companies are keeping it for themselves and making people work harder than before. Organizations don’t always trust their employees to work unsupervised, so might check in more regularly or pile on more tasks, leading to longer hours, added stress, and unhappy workers.
At Activus Connect, our employees’ time is sacred—we’d never expect our teams to work outside of their contracted hours unless they choose to do so. For Kristine Serrano, our Controller, this promise has given her the freedom to pursue ambitions that were previously unattainable.
From Stress to Serenity
Before joining Activus in July 2020, Kristine spent almost four years in Public Accounting and over ten years in the food and beverage industry. Throughout her prior career, daily stress and long hours were pretty much guaranteed.
“Even though both roles were so different, they shared one common denominator: an insane workload,” she recalled. “I was so used to working a ridiculous number of hours that I just accepted it, lost focus on my passions, and spent my free time exhausted instead of enjoying myself. Looking back, it was a completely unsustainable way of life.”
Incredibly, Kristine didn’t spend Christmas with her family for almost a decade when working in the food and beverage industry, not to mention the amount of missed birthdays and vacations each year. “You really begin to miss out on life when so much time is consumed by work,” she lamented.
Since starting her SmartVirtual™ career at Activus Connect, her life has changed dramatically. “There’s this daily sense of relief that I have time to do what I enjoy, which motivates me to be productive at work too,” she said.
Fitness and Freedom
Kristine has always been a highly active person, so with her newfound work-life balance, she is dedicating much of her free time to physical fitness, with aspirations to train more regularly and prepare for the competitive circuit.
“Now that I have the time to train consistently, I’m keen to see where I can take myself on a personal and physical level,” she said. “I even have more time to be involved with the wellness community, volunteering for charities, and helping out wherever I can. It’s given me the opportunity to explore other activities that fulfill me, which is both exciting and refreshing coming from such a stressful and time-consuming background.”
Once the world reopens, Kristine hopes to take some time to travel overseas while continuing her career at Activus Connect. “There is a lot of flexibility that comes with remote work, so it would be amazing to go on adventures while earning a livable salary,” she said. “The Activus Family are highly considerate of everybody’s needs and our time is well-respected, which is very rare in today’s world. I’m very lucky to be part of this family.”
Embracing the SmartVirtual™ Lifestyle
As a Controller, Kristine has several responsibilities related to accounting, compliance, employee wages, and benefits, as well as the legal aspects of running a SmartVirtual™ company. Her work is focused in providing support in finance and accounting in the United States and our entity in Puerto Rico, where she is based.
“I’m currently more involved in setting up the Puerto Rico entity, getting the company set up, paying our Ambassadors, and ensuring compliance with local regulations,” she explained. “Laws and regulations vary from state to state, so we have to be sure we’re meeting them to operate in Puerto Rico without a hitch.”
With so many reasons to be out and about, Kristine performs much of her work on the road, answering emails, submitting documents, or taking calls wherever she is. In her experience, this “work-from-anywhere” lifestyle takes some getting used to, but with the right mindset and dedication to your responsibilities, it’s completely life-changing.
“To all our new Ambassadors I say embrace your new role and enjoy it,” she said. “It might be a little difficult to adapt to a virtual working lifestyle in the beginning, as it feels a lot more relaxed or might come with new distractions, depending on your living situation. Even so, if you organize yourself, make a schedule, and commit to getting the work done in a specific time frame, you’ll start to realize that you have more free time and more flexibility than you could imagine.”