A working parent’s secret weapons: workplace culture & collaboration solutions
Six weeks ago, I did something millions of parents do every day: I went to work. For everyone else, it was a Monday. For me, it was my first day back after a year’s maternity leave and it felt like I was going to work for the very first time.
Like every family, we are adjusting to our new reality. My daughter is getting used to daycare, my husband and I are learning how to balance work commitments, parenting commitments, and our commitment to each other. Even the dog has to adjust to being alone during the day again. She’s a golden retriever, so it’s probably hardest for her.
Of course, the week I felt I really needed to show up … and I was trying to work out how to take care of my daughter.
Everybody had warned me that once my daughter started daycare she would become patient zero for every germ floating around. I was prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for, was how to balance taking care of my daughter while still contributing at work. When pink eye struck on a Wednesday, the doctor said to keep my daughter home until Monday. Three days at home with a one year old, while still trying to work full time. Of course, this happened right when my new departmental director began, and our VP was in town to help with the transition. The week I felt I really needed to show up … and I was trying to work out how to take care of my daughter.
From the work perspective, I am lucky to have a couple champions in my corner. First, I work for a company that truly does believe in the importance of work-life balance. Work needs to get done, there is no equivalency on that, but it doesn’t have to happen between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. When I mentioned my daughter was home with pink eye, being looked after by my husband who had food poisoning (I swear I’m not making this up!), I was told to go home, be with my family and “we’d figure out the rest.” That weight, that guilt, for not being with my family when they needed me was immediately relieved.
My daughter was home with pink eye, my husband had food poisoning … and I was told to go home, be with my family, and “we’d figure out the rest.”
The second champion in my corner are the collaboration solutions I have at my fingertips. That company that believes in work-life balance also happens to make the best collaboration products in the world. And we practice what we preach. I can enjoy the flexibility of working from home on Fridays, or when a significant snow storm is coming, or even if I just need the quiet to get stuff done.
Being productive and staying connected while working from home is possible with our collaboration solutions – for me, specifically, Cisco Webex Meetings and Teams.
Instead of feeling like I wasn’t able to “show up” in this important week, I showed up via Cisco Webex Meetings.
What I didn’t appreciate fully, was how technology would enable me to be productive EVEN while caring for my daughter. Instead of feeling like I wasn’t able to “show up” in this important week, I showed up via Cisco Webex Meetings. And when my daughter woke up from her nap, she made her Cisco debut at our departmental all hands.
That’s not to say those three days were all unicorns and rainbows. There were challenges, meetings I joined but wasn’t able to participate in fully because my daughter needed lunch, and evenings spent catching up on work. But I was still present, still working, and still adding value.
That’s all to say that the combination of workplace culture and technology meant I was able to be productive when, without these two champions, I would have had to take time off work. Unfortunately, I know my daughter is going to get sick again. But I also know it isn’t a big deal – Cisco & our collaboration solutions have my back.