In some way, whether drastic or moderate, COVID-19 has impacted employees in industries across the nation. Employees at Creative Financial Staffing are no different. We have experienced the challenges of working from home, all while being parents and attempting to home-school our children. Both of which are challenges on their own.
As many others face these same challenges, we spoke with a few CFS employees to get their feedback/advice on how they are juggling it all.
Question: What are some of the challenges you have encountered while working from home/having your kids home with you?
Julie Sorensen (Managing Division Director): I think the biggest challenge has been keeping everyone happy and occupied, while trying to find solid blocks of time to get work done. It seems like my kids are always having meltdowns or always need me while I am trying to work. Time management and coordinating with my husband (who also needs to get work done) has been difficult as well.
Meag Ventura (Managing Director, Executive Recruiting): The constant interruptions! While I am on the phone or leaving a message, my children are constantly popping up and arguing in the background. I think the biggest challenge would have to be trying to educate a 1st grader who wants nothing to do with homeschooling.
Ryan Glick (Managing Director, Executive Recruiting): Being able to balance being productive and homeschooling the kids and keeping them entertained at the same time. Every day is a new challenge.
Question: What have you done that has helped you stay productive during this time?
Pam Rodriguez (Senior Managing Division Director): Setting mini goals has been the most effective strategy for me — answer 15 emails, then grab some water — it helps me keep my activity up but it also gives me the break I need. My office is kind of in a closet, it’s an amazing space but there are no windows, so after a while my brain needs a break from the dullness to keep pushing forward.
Lauren Becker (Senior Managing Division Director): I block off times throughout the day for my meetings. To stick to the schedule, I will put a movie on for the kids or have them FaceTime with their grandparents. This helps keep them busy so that I can get some work done.
Question: What have you done to keep sane during this challenging time?
Candace Dancy (Managing Director, Staffing): Prayer, meditation, and going outside ALONE to take walks or simply for some fresh air.
Sorensen: Meditation, working out early in the morning, and making sure we all get outside every day. I also meal plan or do the bulk of the cooking on the weekends. I listen to a lot of positive and motivational videos/podcasts too.
Shannon Wagner (Managing Director, Staffing): I have been staying active and running a lot. I also watch Netflix at the end of the night, it helps me reset and simply not think about everything for a little while.
Question: What challenges have you faced with homeschooling responsibilities and working from home?
Ventura: Our city does not have Zoom classrooms, so we get an outline each week instead. We must teach it. It’s difficult to teach someone who doesn’t want to be taught – there are plenty of battles. You just feel like your kid is falling behind and it’s your fault. As a parent, I think you always feel like you can do better or that you are doing something that could have a long term impact on your kids (maybe not everyone feels like this, but I do). Homeschooling is a challenge, but when you are trying to balance work too, it is near impossible.
LeMaire: My son sits with me in my office to do schoolwork and he typically works on it all morning. According to the school, it should take about 90 minutes. I find that many of the assignments take much longer than expected.
Dancy: I have a 16-year-old and 9-year-old. Staying on top of them to get their work done and forcing them to leave the electronics alone has been very challenging. Technology has its benefits, but you also don’t want your kids on it all day! It is also challenging being at home, and trying to work, with a teenager who thinks they know everything and has a teenage attitude.
Question: If your children are too young for school, how are you keeping them entertained while you work?
Wagner: My daughter is 3, she doesn’t understand that I am working and can’t give her constant attention. To keep her entertained I set up a craft table and easel in my office. I also let her watch Disney+/TV, play educational games on the IPAD, and play outside to burn energy.
Ventura: This is so hard – especially when my child has more energy in his pinky than the rest of my family. I try to get him outside as much as possible. I also set him up with movies that he likes, but he will not sit still. He ends up watching intermittently throughout the day.
Question: If you could give advice to other working parents in this difficult situation, what would it be?
Glick: This is brand new to everyone, there is no one right way to tackle this. Try and not stress. Every day is different, just do the best you can.
Rodriguez: Take a walk after your workday and do this before you re-integrate with your family for the evening. Once I finish my day, my husband takes my daughter for a bike ride and I’ll go for a mile walk. It doesn’t matter the time or the distance, but you need a chance to decompress. Otherwise, you just feel overwhelmed and like you’ve sat in the same spot all day.
Dancy: Take it one day at a time. Allow yourself to feel or go through whatever emotion you’re going through. If you’re feeling down, recognize it and then do something to help yourself get out of that funk and move on. This too shall pass!
Becker: Be kind to yourself! I have always loved what I do and my career with CFS – and I have never wanted to get back into the office more. I know we are all doing our best.