Adjusting to working from home during the pandemic has undoubtedly been a challenge, even more so if you happen to have kids. We wanted to hear all about it, so we asked our colleagues how they manage to have two demanding jobs: software testing and being full-time parents.
How did you balance working from home and being a parent during the pandemic?
They could all agree on one thing – it was difficult but worth it. It took readjusting work schedules and compromising with their partners and in-laws, but they were happy to be there for their kids and be able to spend every short break with them.
One colleague sums it up nicely: parenting while working is having the door shut during meetings and taking breaks between them to spend time with the kids. Those are the breaks I always look forward to during the day.
What options did you explore? What has worked so far?
One colleague’s plan was the following: we adjusted our schedule, so there was always someone there to take care of him. For example, when I worked morning shifts, my wife worked afternoon shifts. If we couldn’t do that, my in-laws stepped in.
They were all extremely grateful for the extra help from the grandparents’ side. They were more than willing to help when mom and dad had to work.
And, of course, putting on quality cartoons to keep them distracted always works for short periods of time.
How do you establish boundaries between working and having kids?
The general answer here was – if the kids are old enough, they will usually understand that there is a time for playing and a time for working. The other scenarios involved grandparents stepping in when needed.
Here’s what another colleague had to say about his work-family time boundaries: I let my family know when I have meetings, and they know not to disturb me. If they come in, I easily get distracted and lose my train of thought, so we agreed for them to wait until I am out of my “man cave” (office room).
What are the pros and cons of working from home while having kids around?
- You have a flexible schedule.
- You’re always there, so you don’t risk missing out on the big (and small) moments.
- You don’t waste time commuting. You don’t wake up in the morning stressed, getting the kids ready while rushing to get to the office at 9 am.
- You can be there in case of an emergency.
- It’s hard to get back to work once you take a play break.
- Sometimes the crying and rowdiness make it hard to focus. A colleague recommended good noise-canceling headphones.
Were there any family dynamics changes since you started working from home?
A colleague said that after staying home all week, there’s always the urge to go outside during the weekend, either for an activity or to visit new places.
Another one said: Yes, the fact that I’m always home makes me more available for the people around me, so I get extra chores around the house. A tie between a pro and a con, we suppose.
Do you think it’s better for the child if you work from home rather than in an office?
The consensus was that it is better to work from home. If you have an office job, it’s tiring to commute, traffic can get gnarly, and there are always other stress factors that make you feel drained when you finally get home. Cutting these factors out leaves room for moments like these:
Of course, it’s better for the kids to have me in the next room, but now that our elder daughter is in kindergarten, she spends some time away from us. Taking her to and from kindergarten is a bonding experience, in which we walk and talk the entire way home.
It’s comforting to know that I can be there to help if there’s an emergency. Also, it’s best for the kid if he sees you all day instead of being gone a good part of the day. Working from home, I can see my kid growing – My wife summons me during the day to see things he’s doing for the first time.
Tell us a funny story involving work and your kids
As you might have guessed, they all involve children being loud or being where they’re not supposed to be. Here are stories from three other colleagues:
Sometimes he randomly starts yelling during calls, and it’s like he knows I’m busy because he’s usually quiet. I’m lucky my project teammate is also a dad. He knows to be patient until the baby eventually stops screaming.
She knows the rules, but she had a phase when she used to knock on the door and scream “daaaddy.”
My daughter sometimes comes in during calls and looks at the people I’m talking to if they have their cameras turned on. I find it funny and adorable, and we like to think that she is already trying to steal our business secrets. She is very well behaved, and she never interrupts. She just likes watching.
Despite the obvious advantages of working from home for both the professional and personal fields, it has its challenges, especially when it comes to being a parent. Our employees feel privileged to be able to work close to their family and children and not have to fear missing out on their children’s growth and important events.