Work from home is one thing. Work from home with your kids is another. The switch from office life to taking care of business with your children has been a challenge that many of us have been forced to face.
Whether it’s keeping toddlers entertained or helping school-aged kids navigate the world of virtual learning (we’ve all learned so much in the past few months), CosmoLex parents are here to share their experiences and their suggestions for a more manageable work/kids/quarantine life.
Take it easy on yourself
Wrangling kids, making snacks, and fielding constant questions while working? Certainly not quite “business as usual,” as much as we all try. The good news is that people are more understanding than ever before, especially now that we’re all in the same boat.
So if you’ve ever had your kid do something unexpected that gave you a brief “this is so embarrassing” feeling and made you wish you were off-camera during a work call, you can relate to the CosmoLex parents that have found themselves in the same predicament.
Laurie, CosmoLex’s Director of Client Relations, has eight-year-old twins and remembers when her daughter interrupted an on-screen meeting to get virtual money for the virtual pet she had to have immediately (that truly sounds like a sentence from the future, doesn’t it?). Laurie also recalled when her daughter saw the same familiar faces she sees when she participates in the team’s weekly trivia games and joined in the meeting saying “hi” to everyone. Except it was 9:00 am on a Monday morning and NOT Friday happy hour at 5:30.
Another parent had their child run into the room while on camera sans clothes, while another had the unique experience of dealing with a flooded toilet that overflowed into the recently finished basement. And the new couch. And the rug. And the other furniture.
Safe to say that working at home with kids is no walk in the park!
Getting work done?
Trading treats for silence isn’t always the norm, but this situation isn’t the status quo. Our Data Migration Manager Joji has three children, ages 12, 18, and 24, whom he doesn’t have to make trade-offs with as they stay up and sleep late – letting him work without interruption until noon or so.
But for those with younger children, the accommodations can be a little different. Ryan, an Account Executive with a third-grader, says ice cream isn’t out of the question as a negotiating tool. And giving her one year old pretty much anything she can get her hands on so she can get some work done has been a solid strategy so far for Afaf, our Director of Technical Services. Headsets, computer mouse – anything is fair game.
For other parents, it’s making a deal. Dhaval (CLI Head) and his eight-year-old daughter both have an agreement to not walk past the camera when class or a meeting is happening. Although that doesn’t mean there isn’t the occasional on-screen appearance or army crawl across the floor to avoid getting caught by the camera.
Keeping your sanity & making time for family
Among all our employees, there’s a general theme when it comes to how to balance work and family when everything is happening under one roof.
With a computer nearby at all times, it can be tempting to just check your email one more time or send that last report so you don’t have to do it tomorrow. But Ken, Senior DevOps Engineer, has some wise advice based on past experience: “I’ve experienced burnout in prior jobs where I spent too much time working, so I’m pretty diligent these days about making sure I don’t over-work. It’s also starting to get to the point where I’m more aware of the kids growing up too fast kind of thing, so I do my best to make as much time to spend with them as I can.”
As Data Migration Specialist Corina says, “It has been an adjustment. You have to purposely turn off from work because you never really leave the ‘office’.” And that’s exactly what you should do. Scheduling breaks and stopping points for the day, along with proactively making family time a priority is a necessity.
Sophia, Sales Operation Manager, says once the laptop is closed that’s it – she makes sure not to go back for any small issues. Laurie does the same. “When my computer is closed it is closed. I try not to open it unless it is an emergency. We are so accessible through Mobile Apps and email that it allows me to do that.”
Joyce, our Sales Manager, also schedules time for family. And we approve! Family and maintaining a sense of balance in what’s happening is so important, and we fully support our team in making that happen.
We know that this transition has been a challenge, but thanks to our ability to quickly transition to mobile, remote work, and our team’s excellent adaptability, our parents are taking it in stride.
Want to learn how to unplug after a long day of working from home? Read our post, Digital Detoxing for the Work-from-home Lawyer.