As a mom now working from home because of COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place orders, I was interested in learning how other moms were managing this situation - what tactics was working for them and what wasn’t. I specifically wanted to speak with a mom with younger kids whom may not understand “shhh…mommy is working.”
Kathleen is a Director, Special Projects for a tech company in Silicon Valley. She works arm-in-arm with the CEO in a high profile job. Her typical pre-COVID 19 days would include several meetings, calls with executives to drive major projects to execution, and managing a team of project managers. Kathleen and her team provides day to day operational support to the executive leadership team. Since working from home, her days are much the same (back-to-back meetings and calls) but with new challenges.
Kathleen is married with two young kids, a daughter who is 7 and a son who is 3. Her husband is now also working from home, so they are able to team up to wrangle the kids while also managing their work responsibilities. Her daughter, in elementary school, is distance learning using Google Classroom and her preschooler is no longer attending classes also because of the shelter in place.
Kathleen’s day starts early. She’s up around 5am before anyone else. She puts on her workout clothes (so she’s ready and can get her workout in when she can), some makeup (to be video meeting ready), and then sets up her daughter’s laptop with Google Classroom logins and class materials for the day.
On weekends, she meal preps to make things easier during the week, meals they can easily grab from the fridge.
Many parents working from home don’t have the luxury of a home office, and if they do, then both parents are likely sharing it. Kathleen is fortunate that they have a guest bedroom that doubles as her office. Her kids have learned that when the office door is closed, she is busy or is in a meeting and they shouldn’t come in, but when it’s open, it’s ok. Even the 3-year-old has grasped the importance of not bothering mommy while she’s working. One tricky thing however is the bathroom is next to her office, so the kids hear the door open and they run to her thinking she’s free or is done working but sometimes, she just needs to use the bathroom. She’s still working out how to open the door quietly without detection.
Kathleen’s daughter has begun slipping notes under the office door, often asking when will she be done. It’s become an endearing way to communicate with one another even while working. She also started using her Apple iPod touch or iPad to send her text messages to check her status and to reminder her about their plans.
I asked her if she feels as productive working from home as being in the office. “I definitely feel more productive, in fact I feel like I’m working more,” she says. Especially since working from home cuts out her long commute.
Kathleen’s strategy of creating a schedule and setting boundaries has been successful for her. But she also uses a device most people don’t think about when remote working, a document scanner. Kathleen typically manages several types of documents in her daily routine; contracts, project management forms, employee onboarding applications, and routing of executive signatures. It helps to have her ScanSnap iX1500 and iX100 right on her desk to instigate the sharing of these documents.
“I took for granted how much I depended on my ScanSnap iX1500 in my office. When we had to work remotely due to the shelter in place, I didn’t initially have my scanner in my office at home,” said Kathleen. “It’s was an obvious struggle the first two weeks while I was adjusting at home until all my office equipment was sent home to me. Now, I can use my ix1500 for more robust scanning, but sometimes I can take my mobile scanner wherever. And I can scan my kids notes and artwork to save as keepsakes.”
For many now working from home, a scanner was probably one computing device you might have missed. The usage for moms juggling life as a remote worker with their kids at home is one computing device you may not have thought of, but should consider.
So cheers to all the moms working from home who have battled the challenges of being an employee, mom, and house CEO, with grace and calmness (and maybe a glass of wine or two) during these trying times.
Happy Mother’s Day!