Working from home with children Interview <EMEA edition>

Community Manager

Hi Community, 


Welcome to the third edition of this series. As you know it has been more than a month since HubSpot temporarily closed its global offices and all HubSpot employees started to work remotely in response to COVID-19. As the world practices social distancing, we know many of our Community members are in the same situation. 


This time we’ve interviewed a few HubSpotters from our EMEA region. Our first interview is with our Technical Writer Specialist from Dublin.


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Sarah Armstrong
Role: Technical Writer Specialist in Dublin
Child’s age: 5 years old






Could you share your work and how a day looks like? 


I am a Technical Writer for the HubSpot Knowledge Base so my work includes documenting how our product works. Normally I try to begin work at 7am, my daughter typically wakes around 10 so before that I try to get a lot of my focus work done when I have quiet time. When she wakes me or my partner makes her breakfast, then when breakfast is done I set up some type of activity like painting, tv, game etc. that she can do alone. I alternate these activities until I take my lunch around 12.30/1. At this time we do a quick P.E. session together and eat lunch. HubSpot runs hour-long sessions for our kids with a qualified primary school teacher so my daughter has enjoyed tuning in to them each day!

I work in my kitchen area and for any meetings, myself and my partner sync our calendars to ensure we can take the meeting in private. I finish up work around 3-4 depending on meetings and then we sit down to do school lessons with my daughter. Since we have been working from home I try to get out each evening for a walk with my daughter, it really helps to let off some energy for her and clears my head after a day of working.


How has been your WFH with children experience? 


It was very difficult at the start because it was a big adjustment for us all. My daughter wouldn’t have been used to us being home and working at the same time so it was difficult for us to have to say no to her a lot when she asked us to play a game or do an activity. Thankfully this has eased as the weeks have gone on and we’re in a much better routine now. My daughter is 5 so she understands if she has to wait a few minutes to ask a question or get a snack. 


What are your challenges about WFH with children? 


Concentration levels are a big thing because you are getting interrupted constantly, whether it’s for a snack or to play. This is why I try to get up early before my daughter wakes to get some focus work done.

The guilt too is big because it’s not your child’s fault that we are all at home together and they don’t have their friends to play with.


What type of activity is working for your child while you are working, having meetings, etc?


Board games, an obstacle course in the garden, a picnic for lunch, painting, colouring, TV


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Karla Bohan

Role: Senior Customer Onboarding Specialist in Dublin
Child’s age: 6 and 9 years old





Could you share your work and how a day looks like? 


I wake up early in the morning to have breakfast and prepare breakfast for the kids. While we're having breakfast together or after this, I do admin and respond to customer's emails. I also give my kids some homework to do so that they "work with me" while I have my first consulting call. The structure of my day from 8-10am is going really well for everyone. After 10am, each day is different. I try to schedule calls with at least 30 minutes in between so that during these breaks I can go for a walk, play with the kids, answer their questions, give them a snack or lunch, help them with homework if they get stuck, answer emails, resolve issues with customers, do activities related to my customers, meet with my team for virtual events, etc. From 5 or 6pm, I try to disconnect from work and dedicate my time to my family.


How has been your WFH with children experience? 


Exciting, challenging, and scary at the same time.


What are your challenges about WFH with children? 


- Children need my help, advice or love all the time, not only when I plan breaks.
- Noise and distractions.
- Some days, it's challenging to focus and concentrate. An email that should take me 5 minutes to type, can take me 30 minutes instead if, say, my children call me, ask me a question, need something or are playing around and making noise.
- Kids are hungry all the time! I feel like I'm also running a restaurant at home Smiley Happy
- Safeguarding my mental health and theirs too!
- Balancing work, home-schooling to a certain extent (or finding activities for my children to learn and entertain themselves), family and self.
- Accepting that sometimes I do have to allow them to watch TV or play video games more than I would like to...


What type of activity is working for your child while you are working, having meetings, etc?


Picnics on sunny days, trampoline, projects that I give them to do, house chores e.g. tidy up the toy room, TV, video games, structured homework, lego, safe-cooking e.g. they do their own lunches (sandwiches, fruit,etc), I get them to think about a game so that when mammy finishes work I can play with them e.g. sweet shop.


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Louise Bernstein
Role: Group Product Manager, Flywheel Product Group in Dublin
Child’s age: 1.5 years old





Could you share your work and how a day looks like? 


My '9-5' day is 80% meetings so I spend a lot of time talking, and then do non-talking work after hours.


How has been your WFH with children experience? 


My workday has not materially changed as my husband is doing 80% of the childcare. His job wound down by 90% due to Covid-19 as it's community & school based, so it makes more sense that he takes the lead on minding Orion (our son) during the week so I can lean into my job.


What are your challenges about WFH with children? 


Guilt - My son knows I am home but he can't play with me most of the time. This is especially hard as he only has my husband and me at the moment. I am constantly concerned that I am choosing work over my son, but then again, my job is critical to our family so I know it's the right choice for him long term. I receive plenty of photos of what he's up to during the day, such as the attached one of him down on the beach!
Giving my husband a break - It is intense, entertaining, and feeding a toddler Mon-Fri. I will redesign my hours to relieve him more during the week if this progresses into May+.
Concern about lack of variety he has - We are doing what we can to keep his days interesting - buying new games/books, mixing up outdoor areas to walk to, crafts - but we can't replace play dates, playgrounds, group activities. And to be honest, we're terrible at crafty stuff!


What type of activity is working for your child while you are working, having meetings, etc?


Finding bugs in the garden. He's in love with all things crawly, which keeps him occupied for ages!


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Ben Harmanus
Role: Principal Marketing Manager EMEA in Berlin
Child’s age: 4 and 7 years old






Could you share your work and how a day looks like? 


I work in the EMEA region, especially France, Germany and English-speaking regions on thought leadership campaigns, storytelling for product launches and new content formats such as podcasts or virtual conferences.


How has been your WFH with children experience? 


It's a challenge. We have a lot of space and enough rooms to spread out, but the children see me at home all day - and yet I often have to say: "I have to make a phone call, I don't have time now". This is irritating for the children. It is a long time of the day that I ignore them, which they don't notice at school and kindergarden.
At the same time, it's nice that we always have lunch together. And so I also get to see a lot during the day, can watch them doing some things - and they can also ask me for help with the children.


What are your challenges about WFH with children? 


See above + some work shifts to the late evening hours. This costs energy and takes away the calmness that you otherwise have during the day.


What type of activity is working for your child while you are working, having meetings, etc?


My wife and I are trying to take turns, although at the moment she is mainly looking after the children. My son does mathematics and German homework in the morning. In addition, I help his school to conduct the lessons now virtually via Zoom. The children are very good at that on their own. Otherwise, the children have limited credit to watch a series on a streaming portal or to use the Nintendo Switch. We make sure we go out at least once a day. In the meantime, the children can play alone in front of the door in the meadow because my son has a GPS bracelet with a phone function. The kids do puzzles, play with lego for hours or paint and do handicrafts. Today my four-year-old made a video call alone with a friend of the same age via Whatsapp. She wanted us, parents, to go away and let her talk alone!


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I hope you find these interviews interesting and you are learning from our HubSpotters from different regions and countries. We will publish another interview soon, stay tuned!


Thank you & Stay Safe!


Sharon & The Community team!




2 Replies 2
Community Manager

Hi Community, 


here's APAC edition Part 1 and Part 2!

HubSpot Employee

Thanks for sharing everyone - it is really encouraging to read how other parents are handling the WFH + Kids balance.