The Unexpected Advantages of Working at Home

Ilya Kats, Senior Manager Software Quality Assurance Engineer – Cortex XDR

I am Senior Manager SQA (Software Quality Assurance) Engineer for our Cortex XDR group and I’ve been at Palo Alto Networks for almost 2 years. My wife, Maya Kats, is a Head Nurse (with a capital “N”!) in charge of the Neurology Department but since COVID-19 her responsibilities have shifted to a supervisor role at Assuta Ashdod Hospital to support COVID-19 patients.

This is the first time, as an adult, married with children, that I am lucky enough to spend more than a straight week at home with my family. With two kids who are 9 and 12, the routine is much more complicated and since my partner is going into work, I get to be in charge most of the days. There are many unexpected advantages during this period and I’ve realized that this is probably a once in a lifetime experience.

We didn’t manage to arrange the home office in time, so usually, it’s a sofa in my backyard or sometimes in my bedroom. I don’t want to lock myself in some room, it feels too claustrophobic, so I like having some space where I can work.

Between what feels like endless Zoom meetings that are interrupted by “Dad, I want to eat,” or “Dad, I’m bored, let’s play,” I’ve found that what works for me is not splitting up my time into work hours and home hours, it’s combining the two and balancing both responsibilities throughout the day. For me, I’ve found that it’s very important and efficient to connect over Zoom (the closest thing to an in-person conversation considering the current situation) versus connecting over emails or Slack messages.

I’ve learned, or to be more precise, I was reminded that my biggest problems and complaints are minimal compared to real-life problems and what my wife deals with on a daily basis at her job. I’ve realized that I am capable of many things I never imagined I could do by myself. Since COVID-19, cybersecurity now more than ever is important, and in many ways, the work has become more intense. However, my team has shown again that they are a very responsible, committed, and hardworking group of people, who are striving to get the best results in spite of so many obstacles. And last but not least I’ve learned that our Tel Aviv site is capable of doing anything and everything we decide to accomplish.