Reading Time: 8 minutes
Where we work, how we work, and even why we work is undergoing a transformation. Workspaces are changing and the days when each employee had their own desk are on their way out.
“In the future, people will be incredulous that we once insisted that everyone in a company lived in the same metro area, which often entailed spending hours commuting each way to an office park where they sat most of the day communicating by digital tools” Blair Reeves
We’ve come a long way in the last 20 years. Just the other day a government organization asked us to fax something to them. “A fax?” we all muttered looking around. “Does the new printer have fax functionality?” “Is there an online service for that?” (we ended up mailing it to them in the end). We don’t notice the creep towards the future until the past comes back to haunt us and we realize how far we’ve come.
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Recently, I’ve been researching what North American companies are doing for new mothers and, to be honest, my findings were extremely depressing. Articles about women working at the “top 100 companies for working mothers” were just sad. Highlights included being able to carve out time for the family between 5:30 and 8:00 p.m. and having the freedom to fly back and forth from a conference to a daughter in the hospital.
Don’t get me started on how far behind the US is on maternity leave. Stories about Deloitte and IBM providing new mothers with services for packing and shipping breast milk when traveling are framed as victories for new mothers. There are even Babies-at-Work programs where parents can work alongside their newborn baby for the first six months!
I don’t remember the last time ‘good news’ annoyed me so much.
Switching to working remotely seemed like a fantastic idea. It would be a win-win for everyone. You were so excited by how productive you were going to be without the usual office interruptions – no more pinging of everyone’s phones, no more trying to focus while people talk about the latest episode of Game of Thrones across your desk.
You’d be in control of your own destination (and thermostat – no more wearing 5 layers so you don’t freeze to death before lunchtime) and you dreamt of all the work you could get done now you really had room to spread out.
Unfortunately, reality hit and you began to realize how much time you suddenly spend: (check all that apply)
On social media
Doing laundry or dishes because you now actually have to look at all the chores you haven’t done.
Driving kids around to and from school/appointments/classes/friend’s houses
Answering questions from your kids once they get home from school
Motivation. What is it good for? Sometimes you have lots of it and sometimes you just don’t feel like working. What do you do on the days that feel like such a struggle? I used to beat myself up for not being as productive as I “should” be if I was having a down day. Finally, after years of being hard on myself, I came to the realization that I have periods of high productivity at work and other, shorter, periods of reduced productivity. And some days, I don’t want to work at all. There’s usually a good reason for those kinds of days.
Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way to help get me through those challenging times.
What do you do professionally?
I work with companies to build and implement their customer support teams and strategy. As part of this, I spend quite a bit of time looking at Trust and Safety for children’s online products also.
I’m also currently working on building out a company that will provide high-touch support for businesses who want to focus more on the product; allowing my team to become their customer care team.
I believe that it’s possible to find a J.O.B. that will allow me to continue using my entrepreneurial spirit. Here are some of the benefits I see to putting full-time self-employment aside (until you’re really ready)
Nikki Tate-Stratton on her life as a climber, author, sailor, and publicist.
What do you do professionally?
I write children’s books on a wide variety of subjects. I work with many different international publishers in a variety of formats. In addition, I produce audiobooks, work as a freelancer writer, a reviewer and as a freelance publicist. I also teach workshops; some online and some offline. The virtual classroom part of my work has really taken off recently.