This pandemic has created many challenges for us all, but has also provided many opportunities to see life from a different angle. Some of the challenges have been especially great for those of us with kids (I have two boys, aged 5 and 2). I discussed this with other the other parents in my team…
What challenges have you faced?
Explaining to two little kids that I have to work is hard because they see me in the house and want to play with me or show me stuff, they don’t understand that even though I’m home I need to work and can’t be with them. It makes it harder to concentrate on my work and ignore my kids while they talk to me because I feel bad for that; also, staying at home makes me feel that I should help more my wife taking care of the kids so she’s not carrying all the charge of them.Manuel Padilla, Engineer
For us parents, balancing between work and parenting has become even more tricky whilst working from home. Like Manuel, all of us also find it hard to strike a balance between spending time with the kids ands getting some work done. And we worry about how our kids will feel if we “ignore” them.
It helps me to close the door whilst I’m in meetings, but be flexible with my attention if I can be. I also start work very early and finish around 4pm, which allows me to spend time with the kids in the afternoon.
What about the upside?
I can do much more and feel comfortable in all my roles: as a woman, professional, mother and wife. Not spending too much time commuting, I can exercise, have time for myself, spend quality time with my family, play with and educate my son, spend time with my husband, cook, do all the house chores with the help of my husband when his boss let him work from home (we work as a team) and still be able to work full time.Ilham Moutaharik, Engineer
Time saved from commuting has helped us all connect more with our families. In addition, being home to have lunch as a family has been a huge gain for me and many others. In general, I feel the pandemic has connected me more with Ellie and the kids, we have become a stronger family for it.
Another benefit that Priscila recognised is that we are all now more aware of what we do, our partners and kids can see what we do at work, and we can see what the kids are learning at school (unbelievably, schools in Mexico have been closed for in-person lessons for nearly one year now!!).
What have we learnt?
When you work at home with your children, the ability to fully concentrate becomes a challenge and I think that is where I have developed the most, being able to prioritize my attention and really focus on something no matter what is happening at home. It is difficult to ignore things that happen around you and you feel the need to intervene but you have to learn to keep your attention on what is important at that moment.Daniel Urruela, Lead Designer
Planning our days around our family has really helped, many of us now start work much earlier and set expectations with our families on when we are available for them. Having a room with a door is also really important!
I’ve learnt the importance of family, our connection with our partners and children is so important and should never be prioritised below our work.
I have learned that change is the only constant and that we need to be more adaptable. I have also learned to be respectful with my working times and our spaces. And I think both of us have learned a lot from each other through spending more time together.Priscila Hernandez, Chief Strategy Officer
Priscila hit the nail on the head again, change is the constant. If we stay optimistic and adaptable then things will work out.
What’s one thing you can change right now to improve your work-life balance?