How has the transition been to working at home? What have you noticed has been harder/easier?
About 18 months ago, I moved into a new house that we designed and built (with the help of architect/builder, etc.). In the design, we specifically required separate office spaces for both my husband and me. Due to the size of the lot and Austin’s building restrictions, we ended up putting those two offices in the basement. After moving in, I basically never used my home office. I think the main reason I never used it is because I was comfortable at work and used to my regular work routine. Needless to say, my office has been well-used in the last eight weeks. I also have enjoyed the attire requirements and the commute. Attending meetings on Zoom instead of walking to a conference room has turned out to be rather nice.
I have 3 young kids (9/7/3). The two oldest are supposed to be doing schoolwork during the day. The oldest finishes her work quickly and wants to watch a device for the rest of the day. The middle needs help to do her work and prefers to skip doing it in favor of device watching for the whole day. The youngest has taken over my bedroom during the day and has mastered the art of finding PJ Masks episodes on YouTube. The public-school teachers have set up one 30-min Zoom meeting per week for each kid to socialize with their classmates. The youngest has a daily 30-min meeting with his daycare class, but he has soundly and definitively rejected participating. I’ve hired a nanny to help during the day. She tries to get the kids off the TV and to a bit of homework. I’ve also set up the older girls have a one hour online Zoom tutor four days a week. Nonetheless, I have guilt that my kids are not learning much and are watching a lot of TV.
Do you have any new ‘co-workers’ (roommates, partners, children, pets)?
I am home with my husband, 3 kids, and a dog. Three weeks ago, we adopted a 6-month old chocolate lab. She is my “beauty school dropout.” The breeder had selected her to become a show dog, but she dropped out based on height and being too shy.
Tell us about your new office space – what do you like better, or is there anything you miss?
I have an automated standing desk, which is nice. I miss windows & sunlight (my office is in the basement).
If you’ve taken on an ‘teaching’ role for your kids – what are some tips that have worked for you?
Hire a tutor to help. I use varsitytutors.com. There are also free classes on virtualschoolday.com that have helped.
Do you have a go-to activity to help you de-stress or relax?
I’ve started walking every day during which I listen to a podcast or call a friend.
What is your best tip for working remotely?
Plan regular breaks and some kind of exercise.
What are you binge watching or listening to now that you have time?
I listen to “This American Life,” “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me,” and “Freakanomics” podcasts during my walks. I binged on “Little Fires Everywhere” on Hulu – it was an excellent book too.
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