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Office Optional Series: Laura Burns

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People and Culture Team

Last fall, Cogito announced our plans for a truly Office Optional workplace, one where Cogicians are empowered to make choices about where they work – whether in a physical Cogito office or not. 

In this edition of ‘The Anywhere Office,’ we introduce Laura Burns, who works on our Legal Team as Commercial and Contracts Counsel. Laura joined Cogito in 2020 and works remotely from Saint Louis, Missouri.

Where is your ‘home office’? Anything fun about your setup?

I’m based out of Saint Louis, and my home office is located just outside of my kitchen. I often get asked if my background is real—and yes, it is! We redid our kitchen in 2018, which I designed, and I love everything about it. The only downside is that my home office is incredibly close to the kitchen with all the snacks (as my kids would say).

Tell us a bit about what you do for Cogito

I work in Cogito’s legal department handling various types of agreements from NDAs to vendor and client contracts. As a member of the deal desk team, I assist our sales team in crafting proposals that meet an individual prospect’s needs and then translate them into a contract. It’s always interesting to see where something started, versus where it ended.

What are you most excited about as we move to an ‘office optional’ workforce?

I was hired as an ‘office optional’ employee, so I’ve been remote since day one. When I first applied for the position last summer, I was excited for an opportunity to work with a company that I previously interacted with—my old employer is actually a Cogito client and I negotiated the contract on their behalf. Prior to COVID-19 and the transition for many companies to hybrid work, I felt limited with options outside of St. Louis, so Cogito’s ‘office optional’ workforce was a big attraction.

What is one thing that surprised you about working remotely when the COVID-19 pandemic began?

I think the thing that most surprised me was how easy it was to transition into my role. Coming from a large corporation, it was often frowned upon to work one day or two days a week from home. When COVID-19 hit, I think we all surprised ourselves by proving that we could be just as productive, if not more, working remotely.

From a personal perspective, what is the biggest perk to working remotely?

Time. I’m able to drop my kids off in the morning and still be at work before 8:30 am. I also have newfound time that would have been spent commuting before pickup that allows me to prep and/or cook dinner for my family. Since the pandemic began, we have been much better about cooking meals each night as part of a way to wind down and spend time together.

From a professional perspective, what is the biggest perk to working remotely?

The ability to work from anywhere. If my husband were to find his dream job in a different city or state, there would be nothing stopping us from moving to pursue it.

What are you working on that excites you this year?

New client templates. This may sound a bit nerdy, but I’m genuinely excited to revamp the old templates. I love taking something old (and likely wasn’t working) and transforming it into something new, fresh and user-friendly. I can’t wait to see how our clients react to them!

What old or new hobbies are you spending more time on lately?

Since the pandemic started and we’ve worked from home, my husband and I have started taking our dog on walks during lunch. It allows us to get in a little exercise and sunshine in midday, while taking a much-needed screen break.

What tips do you have for other people whose companies allow remote work for drawing the line between home and work?

Know when to say no. If someone tries to schedule a meeting outside of your normal working hours, it’s okay to decline and propose a time that works best for you. If it is important and your presence is required, they will find another time.

Interested in joining our anywhere office? See our open roles here.

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