Working from home with children Interview <NorthAM edition part 1>

jennysowyrda
Community Manager

Hi Community, 

 

Welcome to the fourth 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 NorthAM region. Our first interview is with our Self Service Senior Manager.

 

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Bruce Chang

Self Service Support Senior Manager : Remote
Child’s age: 5 and 9 years old

 

 

 

 

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

 

I generally wake up around 7am.  Pre-coronavirus, my son (age 9) had to catch the bus at 8am, and my daughter (age 5) had to go to day care, so my pre-work mornings are spent getting both kids ready for school (a team effort with my wife).  Now with both kids at home, the mornings are less hectic.  If I can, I'll try to catch up on email/slack a bit before starting my work day.  

 

The bulk of my work day is meetings.  My wife bought a family whiteboard and uses it as a daily-view calendar.  We both draw out our meeting schedule so we can visually see where either of us can be free to make lunch and take care of kids.  Our son also has a few Zoom calls with his teacher/class, so his schedule is also on the whiteboard.  When our schedule allows it, we all try to go out for a walk around 3:30pm.

 

In the evenings, we cook and eat in.  Occasionally we'll order takeout depending on our energy levels for food prep.  Kids have some extracurricular activity that's now done via video chat - Chinese lessons, drum lessons, dance lessons.  After that, there's some family play time; lately that's been multiplayer Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch.  After kids go to bed around 9pm, I'll get back online to catch up on email and get back to any action items from meetings.  I usually go to bed around midnight.

 

 

How has been your WFH with children experience? 

 

I am fortunate that my kids are older and more self-sufficient.  My son’s school issued him a Chromebook and sends daily coursework via email.  He receives some instruction from his teacher via a few Zoom calls during the day.  For much of the work day, he is working on his school work.  My daughter's day care has been preparing a weekly activities packet which I pick up from the facility early in the week.  While these do not cover the entire day, they have certainly been helpful breaking up bouts of screen-time.  Both kids will go out and play a couple of times as well.  My daughter (age 5) has learned how to ride a bike, but I am still a bit wary of her riding on the main street.  If my meeting schedule permits, my wife or I will go outside to supervise.  Usually that's not possible, so both kids are out there on their own.  I'm worried about their safety, but at the same time, I remember biking freely around the neighborhood unsupervised at age 5, so....

 

What are your challenges about WFH with children? 

 

We are both fortunate to still be working, but that means less time spent on parenting.  My son will get distracted from his school work, and often whichever of us frees up first from meetings will discover a kid or two not doing what they're supposed to be doing.  Time between meetings where I used to be able to do some work is now exclusively on monitoring kids.  We often don't have time to make lunch, so meal quality has definitely taken a hit; yesterday the kids had breakfast cereal for lunch.  Then they will snack on whatever they find in the pantry between meals.  My daughter, not having a full day of school work, will spend too much time on her iPad.  We have time limits in place, but admittedly when she walks in on my meetings to ask me to unlock more time, I just do it.  There's been some tension between my wife and me regarding how much we should be sacrificing work meetings to do more for the family.  Some days are smooth; some are pretty bad.  Today (Friday) is going to be good since we have few meetings and have more flexibility with parenting (see attached photo).

 

 

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

 

card/board games, iPad, Nintendo Switch, outside play

 

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Kristin Kimmons

Channel Consultant : Remote
Child’s age: 11 and 16

 

 

 

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

 

My job is to help our Solutions Partners become successful, so I am meeting with clients all day. Lots of time on video calls and extra time digging into things for my partners. I don't have much downtime.

 

How has been your WFH with children experience? 

 

For my 16-year-old, we haven't had any issues. I'm letting him play video games and use his phone when he's done with school so that he can stay connected with his friends. For my 11-year-old, it has been more of a challenge, as he needs me for his social interaction.

 

What are your challenges about WFH with children? 

 

Despite trying to implement a "closed door" policy for when I am in meetings, my 11-year-old will (quite often) come in whenever he is bored. He has appeared in several client calls. He was a very social kid, and he is having a hard time adjusting to being at home all the time. He has become more needy, and while I want to be there for him as much as possible, sometimes I have to focus on work. I try to schedule cool things for us to do 1:1 outside of work hours, which has helped.

 

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

 

Netflix, reading, and video games (I had to drop my issues with screen limits - not the time to be worried about that).

 

 

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Sarah Caruthers

Channel Account Specialist : Remote

Child’s age: 4 years old

 

 

 

 

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

 

Mondays & Tuesdays are my toughest days as it's when I see the most volume. Those days I'll be online from 7-5 PM with 2-3 hours of either taking a break to watch my daughter or being disrupted by her and needing to go give her some attention. I then hop online again from 8:30 - 11 PM to finish my work for that day. As a member of the CAT team, we've been dealing with a lot of COVID escalations, my workload has doubled for the past month. 

A "usual" day looks like:

Working on emails and forecasts updates from 7-1030ish while my daughter has breakfast and plays with some toys or does some drawings. 

10:30 is snack time and I’ll play with her for 30 minutes if I haven't already done so.

11:30 is lunch time and I take an hour off here to make lunch with her, eat outside and let her play outside.

1:30-2:30 is her "quiet time". Most of my calls with customers have been in the afternoons so I considered my 1-4 PM block Mama's quiet time to just crank through calls and work. 

I try to be off by 4 PM cause otherwise, my daughter really starts to have meltdowns at this point because she is officially sick of Mama still working. 

Then depending on the day, I'll go back online for another 2-3 hours to finish my day or forecasting.

 

How has been your WFH with children experience? 

 

The beginning was really rough. We were trying so hard to get her into a routine and it just wasn't happening. I think now, my husband and I have found a new norm for our work days and are just making it work. I make sure I over communicate with my team so they are always in the loop. My husband and I review our calendars every day to make sure someone is free to watch our daughter when the other one has a meeting.

 

What are your challenges about WFH with children? 

 

She is an only child and very much an extrovert. She doesn't understand patience or waiting so when she wants something or needs help with something asking her to wait just results in a melt down. 

She sadly doesn't like any of the content that is online, HubSpot Kids lessons, dance classes, music classes, yoga...she really just misses doing all of these things in person. 

We realized the TV was an easy out for us to be able to get work done without interruption but it was turning her into a demon zombie, to say the least. We told her the tv was broken and honestly her behavior has been so much better. 

When I have a call or a meeting and she is begging for attention and nothing else works, I'll give her my cell phone to play a game.

 

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

 

We rotate her toys every couple of weeks. We find less options are better for her. She loves to draw and cut paper into tiny pieces. She has a large tote filled with rainbow rice I made that acts as an indoor sandbox. She also loves playdoh.  When the weather is nice, she loves playing on her swing set and in her sandbox.  We try to eat lunch outside every day as a family as long as the weather allows it.

 

 

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We hope this content will help those who are in the same situationSmiley Happy And please feel free to share your own experiences and tips here too! 

 

We will publish another interview soon, stay tuned!

 

4 Replies 4
pinnacle1234
Participant

Thanks for sharing - this is an interesting read! Cool to see HubSpot's culture shine through even while you're all working at home.

 

Working from home while "teaching" my kids during this quarantine has been an interesting challenge for sure. Good to see what an ideal day looks like, but I'm sure (like everyone else) your days are full of memorable oops moments. Kiddos asking for snacks during team meetings? Why not! Showing their art projects to my boss - who wouldn't want to see my daughter's sunflower painting?! And (most embarrassing) my daughter asking my coworker what that decoration on her sweatshirt was ... it was a coffee stain. Sigh...If you can't laugh, what can you do? 

 

0 Upvotes
bchang
HubSpot Employee

Being a remote employee, I've been using Zoom for meetings regularly for a while now, and I noticed that Zoom implemented virtual backgrounds right around when most of the US started social distancing and started to rely more on Zoom.

 

Those virtual backgrounds have been really useful to me.  I can now work freely around the house without revealing to everyone the mess.  They have also been useful hiding the kids as they walk up to me to try to talk to me.  While we're all pretty forgiving these days of crying babies and cats crawling on heads, it's kinda nice to have some distractions masked.  I rotate out my background on a weekly basis with either my own photos or some pop culture reference.  They've served as nice icebreakers at the start of meetings.

johnwilliamcook
Participant

A good noise canceling ***mic*** on your headset is invaluable.

 

We use the David Clarke headsets specifically for this reason (they're the ones that make you look like a helicopter pilot).

 

Not cheap, but it's a big deal when your kids can scream outside your door and no one can hear it on your call.

ADazusa
Member

Same trouble is inflicting your scripts together with bureaucracy.Hubspot.Com from loading in Firefox or any other page, Chrome and Safari (browsers detecting it as an invalid CORS request and blocking it), because of this our lead captures from bureaucracy aren't running.

0 Upvotes