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

The Village of Salmo has told Cody Puckett and Ashley Nelson that clearing land at this property doesn’t constitute building a property according to a bylaw. Photo: Submitted
Work in progress? Salmo family, village at odds over property construction

Cody Puckett says he’s being evicted from his own land, which the village disputes

Interior Health has set up a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar doctors and mayor urge residents to take COVID-19 seriously as cases are confirmed in the city

“Your doctors would like you to understand we do now have Covid cases here”

Finn Lydon. Photo: Submitted
UPDATE: Winlaw boy reported missing has been found

Finn Lydon was was located last evening

There are few details but neighbours a Second Avenue house in Chilliwack say a huge police presence descended on the home after shots were heard. (File photo)
Robson search warrant yields fentanyl and weapons

Search warrant was part of an ongoing drug trafficking investigation

Youth Climate Corps members April Gariepy, Summer Monkman and Linn Murray at work in West Arm Provincial Park, fall 2020. Photo: Submitted
Youth Climate Corps members April Gariepy, Summer Monkman and Linn Murray at work in West Arm Provincial Park. fall 2020. Photo submitted
VIDEO: Kootenay youth climate group works to protect Nelson’s water supply

Youth Climate Corps members spent five weeks thinning forest in West Arm Park

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

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

Melissa David, of Parachutes for Pets and her dogs Hudson and Charlie are trying to raise money for a homeless shelter that will allow pets and are seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘My only wish:’ Children asking pet charity to help their furry friends at Christmas

Parachutes for Pets says it has received 14 letters from children in the last week

Melissa Velden and her chef-husband Chris Velden, stand in their dining room at the Flying Apron Inn and Cookery in Summerville, N.S. on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. The couple is hosting holiday parties with appropriate distancing and other COVID-19 health protocols in place at their restaurant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Celebrities, Santa and Zoom part of office holiday parties being held amid COVID-19

Many will send tokens of appreciation to workers or offer time off or cash

Richard Reeves examines a painted film strip in his home studio. Photo: Aaron Hemens
PHOTOS: Pandemic inspires creativity for Creston animator Richard Reeves

For more than 30 years, Richard Reeves has been creating abstract animated short-films by drawing and painting images onto strips of film.

Good Samaritan Mountainview Village located at 1540 KLO Road in Kelowna. (Good Samaritan Society)
First long-term care resident dies from COVID-19 in Interior Health

Man in his 80s dies following virus outbreak at Mountainview Village

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

Most Read