Why I wanted to work from home
In January 2019, I was made redundant from my full-time office job following on from my maternity leave. When I began searching for my next career opportunity, I established that full-time childcare for two children could cost almost 60% of my potential earnings.
I began researching home-based and freelance job opportunities. I’d been doing some ad-hoc social media and marketing campaigns on a freelance basis already, but I needed something with more regularity and stability.
Eventually, I was offered a position as Social Media Manager for a company, who hired me as a third-party supplier. I often found with this company that there was very little communication within the office, which meant I had difficulty establishing a connection with their narrative and the content I was posting on their behalf.
The lack of communication was very isolating, and I began to grow frustrated, often craving human interaction. I felt that with a little more collaboration, I would have been able to gain a deeper understanding of company culture, and provide content with a more personal tone that expressed the company's identity.
Innovation and opportunity at SMLWRLD
Dan and I had been friends for many years, and one evening while catching up at a dinner party we got to talking about our jobs and how things were going. Dan explained the rebranding from SmallWorlders to SMLWRLD, becoming carbon-neutral and the transition from being an agency to providing a SaaS product. All the changes were very exciting, and they were beginning to think about the need for marketing their new product.
Some days later, Dan contacted me, and after considering my position, felt that it would be beneficial for me to attend an interview for the position of Marketing Executive. And here I am!
My experience of joining a remote team
I was overjoyed to join the SMLWRLD team, as the opportunity meant I could look after my children and avoid costly childcare, whilst maintaining a career. I had always been conflicted between being a homemaker or having a job, and felt that by staying at home, I was losing part of my identity and financial independence. For me, a position where I could be ‘on the books’ whilst working from home was a perfect balance.
The majority of my new colleagues were also working remotely, but had worked together in the office previously. I was the first hire SMLWRLD made since going remote, and so was initially anxious about not being able to form bonds with the team.
My fears were put to rest due to the efforts the company goes to, and the tools they use such as the SMLWRLD intranet, to ensure that communication is a priority. Having the stand-up meetings via Microsoft Teams three times a week with their camera-on policy meant that I quickly learned everyone's names, and was able to put them to a face. I am generally terrible at remembering people's names on a first meeting, but being able to see everyone's names on their images within the chat was as if everyone was wearing name tags.
Due to my role within the company, I’ve had a lot of one-on-one conversations with people, which has helped me get to know more about my colleagues and settle in.
My advice for parents working from home
Firstly, it’s essential to set yourself up in an environment that’s suitable for your children, as well as you. It’s much easier with older children who can be in another room unaccompanied, or at school. My oldest is nine, but my youngest is nearly two, so isn’t as self-sufficient.
I work from my living room and have an area with lots of toys and books where he enjoys entertaining himself. We also have a routine for his nap time, and this is when I schedule any calls or meetings, so I know that I have a couple of hours where I can work without the disturbance of background noise.
Having a routine is crucial for planning your day effectively, and I’ve found it has helped my little one to adjust to me needing to work while he plays. Lunchtime is excellent because we have a big cuddle after his nap, and he’s always happy to eat. I use this time to give him lots of attention and interaction so he doesn’t feel ignored.
The older members of your family must adjust to you working from home as well. I am fortunate that my husband is as involved in household chores as me; however, it’s important to establish with your family that work is a priority in the hours you’ve set aside.
Whilst working from home means that you can be more flexible with your time, you cannot be expected to work whilst cleaning dishes, washing laundry and hoovering, particularly if you’re watching a small child at the same time.
Overall my family are happy to let me concentrate on my job. They are grateful that my being at home means they get more time with me, and I’m so thankful to have more time with them.