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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni received some good news about an expansion to its emergency department on Jan. 15, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
B.C. health ministry commits $6.25M to hospital expansion in Port Alberni

Plans for larger emergency department have been on hold since 2015

A Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation guardian took this photo of dozens of vehicles parked along a forest service road in the Kennedy watershed. (Submitted photo)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District looks at enforcement of illegal camping

ACRD currently does not have an existing bylaw service to tackle the issue

Ucluelet local Geoff Johnson snapped this photo of a Risso’s dolphin that washed up near Chesterman Beach in Tofino on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Geoff Johnson photo)
Washed up Risso’s dolphin offers glimpse into “whole other world” near Tofino

“It’s like a UFO crash landed and you can come look at it.”

(B.C. government)
POLL QUESTION: Would you report a neighbour in breach of COVID-19 regulations?

Would you report a neighbour in breach of COVID-19 regulations? READ MORE:… Continue reading

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Most Read