04 Sep Unshared Facts about Working from Home; The Experience of Professional Working Mothers
The phrases “work from home”, “remote working”, “distributed team”, “virtual working”, “working online”, “ digital nomad” etc. have become trendy both on the internet and in daily communication among professional folks. #workfromhome
Although remote working is said to be productive, apt for this crucial time, and a part of the new normal, the findings in this study revealed some of the challenges of working mothers and it’s implications on work, brands, health, and family. The study makes recommendations on how the challenges can be mitigated. #workingmother
Using a blend of investigative research and ethnography (complete immersion), STREAM Insight closely studied the experience of professional working mothers who have children 1 – 10 years and partly or fully work from home at the moment. #ethnography #investigative research
Between discussing and reporting to team members over phone and internet calls, we found some give-away of confidential information. Some unique selling points and trade secrets were unintentionally leaked to members of their household and sometimes neighbours. #USP #tradesecret
Distractions from the children occurred severally. Almost three-quarters of mothers were still responsible for some domestic chores while they worked. E.g making lunch for the family.
A few mothers had to isolate themselves within the house to get the needed concentration. This left an impression of “mummy is in the house, but does not have our time”.
Remote working was directly reported to be stressful because so much time is spent on calls. This impacted on the time to attend to other hands-on deliverables and made meeting deadline challenging. #remoteworkin
More than half of the working mothers did not have dedicated work stations, neither did they have the appropriate setup (e.g ergonometric chairs and work tables), yet they sat for as much as 8 hours or more per day. Many of them work on couches, at dining tables or other customized places. This could be injurious to the health, considering the long hours of sitting. #officesetup #workhours
A handful of mothers were found to be aggressive on their children whenever they stood in the line of their duties E.g playing around the house while the mother is on a call or when she needed the concentration most. This sometimes extended to other household members. It appears the regular tension in offices is fast penetrating the homes. #officetension
Nearly all the mothers were responsible for liaising with children’s online schools, receiving daily online assignments and submitting online. All these happened concurrently while they worked online and tried to catch-up with their deliverables. #onlineschool
Other regular challenges experienced were:
POWER SUPPLY: In more than three-quarters of the homes, power supply was a major challenge making working from home more difficult. #powersupply
INTERNET CONNECTIVITY: Internet connectivity was another major problem for most mothers, as issues ranging from weak internet strength on both ends, frequent time outs, and the cost of internet service caused significant setbacks and frustration. #internet
TIME MANAGEMENT: Due to the many home distractions, time management is more difficult while working from home.
WILL POWER: Sometimes, there is no will power to work for several reasons, including general stress, if a child in the house is ill, domestic challenges etc.
Here are a few direct tips to mitigate the challenges of working from home:
1 . Dedicated work stations and appropriate setup e.g work tables and ergonometric chairs are recommended. This is important for good health and productivity.
2. Ensuring to observe lunch break is also good for health and work-life balance.
3.Keeping household members informed about when at work and when free will help them understand and manage their expectations.
4. Essentials meetings should be done in a private room and in low to medium voice tones to prevent divulging crucial information that could endanger brand health and also to manage stress as talking loudly drains energy.
5. Cheap power alternatives could be considered (E.g Pay-As-You-Go solar power) since most of the devices required to power have low energy requirement. #PAYG #solarpower
6. Employers need to make working from home more conducive by providing or assisting to provide some basic amenities E.g office set-up and internet access.
7. Employers need to understand the peculiarity of their business and adopt the best models of working from home while managing their expectations.
Above all, credit to all working mothers for their multi-tasking ability.