When home life and work life collide

The new normal

The last six months of life have been so very different for everyone. A new normal and new vocabulary of terms including: lockdown; social distancing; face masks; quarantine and so on.

In all the crisis though, there have been positives to come out of COVID-19. One of those, is that the pandemic has forced thousands of employers and workplaces to take working from home more seriously.

Working from home

Whilst there were companies out there that already had this nailed pre-covid, there were thousands of employers who made working from home difficult at best and impossible at worst. Isn’t it interesting that suddenly during a pandemic all the employers who said home-working was not possible suddenly made it possible?

I’ve worked at home since 2009. In that time I have:

  • Worked at home with one child in pre-school and one at home with me
  • Worked at home with one child in full time school and one in pre-school and a partner also working from home for part of the week
  • Worked at home with two children in full time school
  • Worked at home with two in full time school, and a baby at home with me
  • Worked at home with two children in full time school, one baby and one toddler at home with me and a partner working from home for part of the week
  • Worked at home with three children in full time school and one at home with me
  • Worked at home (very briefly in the months before COVID-19) with four children in full time school

Never, had I ever worked from home whilst simultaneously home-schooling four children in full time education AND with a partner also working from home. I have called this THE NEW WORLD ORDER.

Challenging times with new opportunities

Yes it’s been hard, but crikey, if I can somehow do that, every other possibility from here on should be a doddle right?

The truth is, whatever your circumstances this period in time has been challenging in so many ways. The juggle is real. However many children you have, whatever their ages, whatever your working situation, this has been a difficult time for people and a more intense juggle of responsibilities and time than ever before.

Given this, it does grate a little when you hear of all the Karen’s breaking the rules on childcare because they “can’t get any work done” – yes Karen, you and the rest of the parents in the world!

Parents all over the world have had to think about their work spaces. Dining tables across the globe have been covered in a mix of children’s school work and parent’s own work. Meetings have taken place via zoom, learning has been online, adults across the world have questioned how they passed their maths exams at school, and much wine has been consumed.

This collision of home and work life has thrown out the window anything we previously regarded as work/life balance or work/life blend and forced us all, however difficult the situation, to just get on with it.

Absorbing value from this period in time

My hope is that out of this intense period of working, living, and educating in the same space for six months comes some positive change.

I hope that those parents employed by companies who have previously made home-working impossible develop lasting policies for change in this area.

I hope that parents appreciate the value of our education system and appreciate teaching staff more than ever.

I hope that this time has increased parent’s resilience and that parents can be proud of themselves for wearing so many simultaneous hats.

I hope that one day our children will be able to look back at this point in time and remember it as a positive one. A time when parents were at home, a time when they baked and played outside together, a time when they had more movie nights than usual and I hope that those memories outlast the moments they didn’t enjoy.

Like most parents, I hope that having home schooled for months, homework in the future will seem like a walk in the park!

3 comments

  1. My daughter’s employer is a global entertainment company, where she works in the video games division. They were really good, gave every employee £1000 to buy work from home furniture or equipment (everyone already had a company laptop and docking station at home). They have been great about flexible hours during home schooling. I just wish all employers had been as good, as sadly that’s not been the case.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *