Jessica Peters is a reporter at the Chilliwack Progress.

Jessica Peters is a reporter at the Chilliwack Progress.

COLUMN: Navigating working from home during these pandemic times

This is a chance to work in the best conditions possible. In your sweat pants, on your couch.

There’s a video that still swirls around the internet that perfectly illustrates the challenges of working from home.

And you’re thinking of it already, aren’t you?

A man in a business suit in an uninteresting office setting is doing his best to look professional whilst providing his opinion to a television news show host. That is, until his toddler enters the room and steals the limelight, followed by a woman attempting to hide from the camera and wrangle the kid.

This isn’t unlike my experiences working from home as a reporter while my troops were very young.

While video calls weren’t part of my work-from-home repertoire, non-stop phone calls were. And I’m here to offer a few tips to the masses, who may be trying to find a balance between letting a child wail in the background about a sippy cup, and hiring a full-time nanny who is comfortable with television cameos.

Hold, Please

The first step is to find the mute or hold button on your phone, and perfect its use. This is the ultimate tool in defeating a cranky toddler or anxious teenager. Practise interrupting people and politely saying “can you hold, please?” so you can turn on the parent voice and deal with whatever travesty has befallen your offspring.

Stay mobile

Invest in a headset. Children get more anxious the more calm you look. To head them off at the pass, conduct all your business while doing household chores. You can connect with anyone, really, while washing dishes and listening to them.

Tip: Before trying this on clients, patients or customers, practise on an in-law. They are your toughest audience and best critics.

Dress for work

This is horrible advice. Don’t do this. How often will you be sent home to manage your company’s affairs? This is a chance to work in the best conditions possible. In your sweat pants, on your couch. If you’re feeling extra fancy and the budget allow — after all, you’ve managed to keep your job during a public health crisis — then splurge on some nicer day pajamas. Think Hugh Hefner. He did okay in his pjs, after all.

Tip: If your work day involves video conferencing, Skype interviews or your want to impress the mail carrier you’re finally going to meet, dress for success from at least the waist up.

READ MORE: EI expansion answers B.C.’s request for Ottawa coronavirus assistance

Keep regular hours

As tempting as it will be to finally attempt to make a souffle on your lunch break, trust me, you’ll get burned. Either you’ll fall asleep from the extra effort to create a masterpiece during what is actually a work day, or you’ll forget entirely and the fire alarm will go off in the middle of a call.

Put the whisk down. Instead, grab a coffee on your breaks. Take a walk around the block at lunch. Just remember to go back to the ‘office’ at some point.

Train your children and pets

When my sons were small, I made my calls when one was at elementary school, one was soundly sleeping on a bed in my office, and another was mostly docile. I trained that middle child to walk in gently and place his hand on my shoulder for my attention. I rewarded him by saying “can you hold, please” into my headset. We would then talk about a great many childhood mysteries, and I’d send him happily on his way before returning to my call.

The long-term benefit is he is now also the kind of person who places a hand on you while he speaks to you. And now that I think of it, maybe sharing too many germs along the way.

And as for dogs who may bark at inopportune times, repeat after me: “Oh, that darn neighbour and his dog!”

You will bond over the shared contempt of this dog and bad dog owners, and then you’ll spend a half hour consoling him or her later.

And that reminds me. Stock your workplace with treats as a failsafe back-up, for you, your children and your dogs.

Best of luck out there. Stay safe and healthy.

READ MORE: Chilliwack’s Cottonwood Mall businesses shut their doors as COVID-19 worsens


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Column

Just Posted

The Shuswap River in Enderby draws in people from near and far in the summer months of each year. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
RDNO ends lengthy attempt to bring new boating regulations to Shuswap River

With no consensus among stakeholders or remaining funds, the regional district is moving on

sdaf
Lake Country home destroyed in large blaze, 11 dogs rescued

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

Fanny Chapman doesn’t just serve up Mexican flavours at the Kal Lake Food concession at Kal Beach, she also teaches Spanish. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernonites asked to share funniest Spanish translation stories

Mexicans living in town holding a contest to offer free Spanish classes

Central Okanagan Public Schools is assisting with the distribution of a donation of $500 to every Grade 12 graduating student in the school district. (File photo)
Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads get $500 surprise

Anonymous donor gifts $500 to every Grade 12 student

The Kelowna school trustee by-election takes place Saturday, June 26, for the Central Okanagan School District. (Contributed
Meet the Kelowna trustee by-election candidates

Four candidates look to fill vacant seat on board of education

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

Most Read