NextGen Know-How: Leadership lessons for working remotely while managing your kids

Empathy and flexibility—toward your employees as well as yourself—are the two skills we need most to be successful during the ongoing pandemic.

When CUES asked if I would focus this month’s article on advice for working remotely during back-to-school season, I struggled at first to think of what I could contribute. I want to preface my column with a caveat—I don’t know all the answers. I don’t have a magic wand to make things go back to normal. Every situation is different. But there is one thing we all have in common: Things are different. How we work and how we lead has significantly changed over the past six months. My intent is, by sharing a few things that worked for me, that you might glean an idea or two—or at the very least, that you’ll know you are not alone.

I publicly shared my own challenges when the pandemic hit this spring. I still struggle in many ways—having my three kids home for the past six(!) months has taught me that I am definitely not stay-at-home or homeschooling mom material. I’ve never been the mom who loves crafts. (In one weak moment in a Michael’s craft store last Christmas, I thought it would be a good idea to buy build-your-own gingerbread houses. Disaster.) I dislike Halloween—it’s just one more thing on my list of things to do. And during the holidays, I’ve been known to send my kids’ teachers gift cards and wine in lieu of homemade gifts. (But who doesn’t need wine and Amazon?)

So I’m pretty sure the biggest lesson I have learned through all of this is that I like my life to be compartmentalized into neat sections—kids in the morning, work during the day, a little bit of kids at night, and clock out of all parenting responsibilities by 8:30 p.m.

 

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