Coping with Covid: Working from home with kids

The team at Engenie will be sharing our experiences of working from home under lock-down on social media, with a different topic every few days from across the business (you can find these on our Twitter and LinkedIn).

Engenie’s CEO Ian Johnston top tips for working from home with kids…

 

1. The Engenie team has adapted well to being a ‘remote’ organisation, a task made easier by the fact that all of our systems are cloud based and our workforce being young and dynamic by nature. However, there is no doubt that for the handful of colleagues who have young children the transition has been immensely stressful. In each case, the colleagues are in families where both spouses are working full-time which inevitably results in situations where both parents are on work calls whilst toddlers are screaming and in need of care and attention. My wife and I have had to sit down each week and plan the week ahead hour-by-hour, deciding whose videocalls are most important (tense conversations!), and who needs to concede on each occasion. But three weeks in we have a routine where the days are split into sections of one working and one parenting. An unfortunate reality of this is that once the kids are asleep, the task of dealing with the inbox really starts, so we have found that alternating between a night where we both work and then having a night with a bottle of wine and a boxset helps to break things up.

2. In terms of work calls I have found it useful to be honest about the situation you find yourself in at the start of a call. So instead of trying to hide the situation you find yourself in (or trying to muffle the screams), it’s easier to explain that you have a one year old clamped to your shins, or a three year old trying to prize the airpod from your ears. In most cases the people on the other end of line are a lot more understanding, but also you will be in a more composed state to deal with the subject matter because you aren’t focused on covering up the carnage going on behind you.

3. If you are lucky enough to do so, I think it’s important to have a working routine both in terms of your day and your setup. I always try to get ‘dressed’ for work to help the working mindset, and to make a call a video call where possible to ensure that I can properly interact with the person on the other end of the line, to have an appreciation of how they are getting on in these unprecedented times. I have also managed to hijack my wife’s dressing table as a quieter working space, away from Peppa Pig and the numerous noisy toys that I now regret people buying us over the years.