I tune in to a topical webinar discussing the effects of the pandemic in the workplace, encouraged by what will be discussed which I plan to feedback to the team, when only a few minutes in, I am reminded that I have dialled in from home. The dog is barking at the Postie, the husband is calling my mobile and I glance down to see my daughter on the monitor trying to climb out of her bed during her “naptime” – this is the reality of working remotely as a mother, a wife and a manager.
The acceptance that we are living in a new ‘norm’ may not have entirely hit home just yet, but I am looking forward to finding two days that might be similar to call this normal. Consistency and routine (which as parents, becomes the backbone of your life) are now non-existent, but have been replaced by something quite refreshing – flexibility. I consider myself to be incredibly fortunate that my role can accommodate flexible working. In fact, it may be that this level of flexibility is welcomed by other parents looking for new opportunities, who like me spend more time in the evening in front of a screen than during the day.
It’s fair to say remote working for me with a young family and a husband (classified as an essential worker) is a juggle, but one that I am embracing! Like many parents, this pandemic has brought on a number of different challenges; from home schooling and flexible working to doing their best to think of new ideas on how to amuse their children – not an easy task! Whilst I am sure that every parent will be experiencing their own juggle, there is no doubt that spending this additional time with your family is a real positive to come from this bizarre working arrangement.
The past 4 weeks have no doubt been quite a learning curve and each day brings its own challenges. There are however a number of things I can think about ahead of each day to help create some order. You may be interested to see my 5 top tips:
- Shut the door! – Trying to concentrate on your work when you can hear “mummy” is no easy task. I am fortunate that when I am required (and my husband is at home) I can close the door and shut out the chaos that lives on the other side.
- Communication – Keeping the team informed of when I am available has been critical, not only to ensure cover is in place, but also to make them aware of why there may be any delays in my responses.
- Be organised (where possible) – Can I schedule my meetings during “naptime” today?
- Clear out! – Try to clear away all childlike paraphernalia from your immediate working vicinity. (Baloo the bear was successfully removed from my desk this morning)
- Technology - Learn how to put Peppa pig on the TV at a moment’s notice.
The words teamwork, multitasking and prioritising have never been so fitting as they are now. I am hugely grateful for the team we have who allow me to continue with my daily juggle and in return, I can focus on providing them with the support they deserve whilst doing all that I can to drive our business through this maze of uncertainty.