File under: #WorkFromHomeProblems
Working from home isn’t as easy as it sounds – especially if you have kids.
No wonder a hilarious clip of political science professor Robert Kelly’s live BBC Skype interview getting crashed by his kids has gone viral. Many work-from-home moms and dads doing double-duty as employees and parents feel this guy’s pain. More and more people are starting to work from home. About a quarter of the U.S. workforce telecommutes with some frequency, which is a 103% increase since 2005. And it stands to reason that many have kids. So who hasn’t had their toddler throw a tantrum during a business call, or taken an hour to write a simple email because their kid needs juice, a snack and their attention?
When you're trying to be serious on Skype – but your kids have other ideas… pic.twitter.com/B5QC9hokb2
— Jim Taylor (@jimtaylor1984) March 10, 2017
Jenny Gill, a management assistant on the upper East Side, has also had the Skype from hell thanks to her 6-year-old son, Jack, running into the frame.
“We were walking through logistics … and Jack just came in and said ‘Hello!’ to an entire video conference call,” said Gill, 41,
Thankfully, she wasn’t the only parent on the line. “Someone else on the call was working from home, and they went and got their baby to hold up in solidarity!” she said. “We all had a good laugh and then moved on.”
Off-camera parents confess to giving their kids death stares or waving them away during business calls, similar to Kelly’s backhand on the video.
“I have had my kids screaming in the background during conference calls, to the point where I lock my bedroom door – a.k.a. ‘The Boffice’ – and then go into a back closet, and shut that door,” Melissa Musen Gerstein, a mother of three and cohost of Sirius XM’s “The Moms”, tells Moneyish. She added, “The mute button [on your phone] is your best friend.”
The only predictable thing about kids is that they’re unpredictable. So Meredith Bodgas, the editor-in-chief of Working Mother, suggests letting everyone on a phone or video call know that you are working from home, and your kids could crash at any time.
“Work out a plan before the call really kicks off to decide what happens if your kid comes barging in: Is better for me to call back? Is it better to mute myself and wait until you need me? And is it OK that when unmute myself, that you might hear some screaming?” said Bodgas. “Set up those ground rules, and I think most people will be OK with it.”
She’s not above parking her son in front of a video for the length of a call, either. She also keeps a stash of new toys hidden away, which she can whip out as a Hail Mary pass.
“There’s no better distraction than a shiny new toy,” she said.
Natalie Iovino-Schoenfeld, 34, mother of a 3-year-old and 11-month-old in Islip, Long Island, agrees. “If you are lucky enough to find that the child or children are distracted by a toy, for the love of God, do not make eye contact,” she said.
So chin up, Kelly. You’re not alone.
“It’s becoming the new normal,” said Gill. “I’ve taken calls at the playground! And people are just like, ‘Yeah, been there!’”
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