Released On 10th Aug 2020
Katie's blog: Still embracing it!
I wrote my last blog for Cityparents back in April at the start of lockdown. At the time I wrote about how I had decided I would embrace lockdown and how I planned to stick to a routine. Reading that back now has really made me laugh as the reality was very different to what I had envisaged. I must have been crazy to think I would be able to stick to a routine at home on my own with a 5 year old, whilst working full time!
I found the first few weeks of lockdown incredibly difficult. I switched all of my physical meetings to zoom calls but didn’t allow for the fact I would have a child at home. The trickiest thing was needing to give him lunch and dinner at reasonably set times (let alone entertain and try to educate him). Whilst I can happily skip lunch, a 5 year old can’t! I found some days I had booked so many zoom calls I had to make my son a packed lunch at 8.30am and get him to help himself to it at lunchtime while I was on a call. I spent a lot of money on LEGO! I also quickly learned that if I didn’t do school work first thing it didn’t get done at all. I also felt bad as I was struggling but also knew I was incredibly lucky to be able to do my job from home and still get paid. I was actually envious of friends with kids who were furloughed.
We did eventually get into a nice rhythm though and I actually really enjoyed spending extra time with my son. I didn’t feel like it compromised work at all and thankfully the novelty of zoom calls soon wore off for him, so after a couple of weeks he was less keen to join in. My work were brilliant too; as well as setting up Kid’s Korner (online daily activities for children and colleagues reading stories) they launched a penpal scheme. We were matched with a boy a year older than my son in North Carolina – they have been emailing and zooming! Our rhythm changed again when he went back to school on 1st June. It was great to have a few hours uninterrupted to focus on work but I had to take 9-10am and 2.30-3.30pm out every day to drop and pick him up from school. That was tricky to manage with work but it did mean I got some exercise on the school run, having barely moved or left the house for the previous 2 months!
We are now into the school holidays and I am making the most of holiday clubs and sports camps. I am also starting to feel slightly guilty/anxious as I am enjoying working at home more and more, in fact I’m going to say it….. I prefer it to working in the office. As well as not missing the commute, I am finding I am far more productive at home and (probably because I am an introvert) I am not missing the social interaction too much. I feel like I am finally being a good parent as well as being good at my job.
There is a lot of talk about the new normal. My hope for the new normal is that where you work will be completely flexible but most importantly flexible working will become culturally acceptable. By acceptable I mean you won’t be judged for choosing to work at home some days. You will still get the same career opportunities as those who are seen in the office every day. And it should be ‘normal’ for meetings to take place with some people physically together in a meeting room and others dialling in remotely. Here’s hoping!
Katie is a Managing Director in the insurance industry and single parent to her 5 year old son.