Best of Both Worlds podcast: Working from home, no childcare

One of my first bits of advice for anyone pondering working from home is that you definitely need childcare for any kids too young to watch themselves. While yes, you are physically in the house, odds are you’ll wind up constantly distracted.

Of course, when COVID-19 closed schools and offices, many people had no choice, and wound up dealing with just that issue.

Today’s guest, Susannah Quinsee, runs the educational technology and development team at her university in London. That meant, when the university went virtual in March, that her workload exploded…at the same time that her kids all came home too. In this episode, she talks about how she and her partner split the care of their four kids, and what she learned about productivity in the process.

Her family has also kept their old Legos organized by color so sets can be easily remade…you might want to listen to the episode for that bit alone!

4 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: Working from home, no childcare

  1. It was interesting to hear about a couple who made sharing childcare work. I can not say it worked for us during the 7 weeks we had our son at home with us. My husband went into work 2-3 days/week so I was on my own at times and when he was home, it was definitely not 50/50. But we both work in financial services so need to be working from 7:30-4. It wouldn’t work to do a split shift and have one person start work at like 5 and the other start at noon or something like that. But we are in a unique industry that is so driven by market hours. And our son has a VERY strong preference for mama. So it was extremely difficult and I am so very very very very glad he’s back in daycare. Everyone is so much happier!!

    1. YES! I was lucky enough to be able to reduce my hours while our daycare was closed, but they reopened this week and I was able to work for the entire day and not worry about keeping a toddler alive. I felt like a new woman!!!

  2. This was our reality from mid-March until last week, down to both of us working in higher education. I think the memories are too vivid and fresh for me! The stress has been unreal, and it’s going to take us time to recover from the massive juggle on all fronts. Technically, we made it work, but it was grueling and I hope that we never have to attempt that again. The hardest part was that the situation was constantly changing, and we both needed to be available at all times to push out information to students, faculty, alumni, etc. Splitting shifts was not realistic during the first couple of weeks, although we eventually got there. But our “split shifts” looked more like 1 hour on, 1 hour off so that we could be responsive. We both lead teams and the information was being funneled through us — due to the speed of information, delegating was actually very difficult. There was so little time to interpret information and decide on the best course of action. OK, I’m realizing that I may have a bit of PTSD from the whole experience! 🙂 Our youngest daughter started daycare again last week and it was a relief for everyone.

  3. This was a great episode. We had our first week with childcare for our three year old and it was amazing. Definitely a difficult time period – we were lucky to do some split shifts but often I just worked super early, super late to get more in. My daughter came to any virtual work meeting with mommy that I could let her join. I think most of my company now knows her!

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