As a mum, working from home can often feel like the answer to your life’s problems. When you first have your squishy newborn you cannot imagine ever wanting to go back to the office and be taken away from your newest obsession. Then, as time rolls around and the reality of going back to the office draws closer, the need for you to be you for eight hours away from your new identity and security blanket starts to bring about panic and, or, the cognisance of just how expensive childcare actually is sees you resign yourself to the reasoning that if you could just work from home things might be ok. Better yet work for yourself from home.
It may be that you are already a working mum navigating school pick-ups, after school activities and the dreaded mum guilt and once again you turn to the ability to work from home to provide you with some relief. You could cut out commuting time, you could do the school run, not be so heavily reliant on childcare, work in your pyjamas after a bad night with the baby and you can be on hand for your little one.
After the recent switch to remote working, working from home is a real possibility however it is this recent requirement on mothers to work from home that has brought its many disadvantages into the fray, whatever your job may be. As a parent working from home you start to notice that the boundaries between work life and home life become blurred. Gone are the days when you shut up shop on a Friday not to revisit it until Monday. Once you bring your work home it is always there and it is always accessible. If you don’t manage to get everything done in your set hours the temptation is there to open the laptop of an evening or as you sit in the car during football training and pick up where you left off. If you are not tempted then chances are your colleagues will be. It suddenly becomes acceptable to fire across an email expecting a reply or to make a quick call to you outside of business hours.
Further, those at home do not always appreciate that you are working. You are not always seen as a working mother as you sit at the kitchen table and log in to your business trading accounts with swyftx.com or as you sit in a business meeting on Microsoft Teams with your latest client. You are still expected to be snack provider in chief, called upon to find things that seemingly only mum can ever find and be on hand for every waking need, whether it is really needed or not. The result is that your productivity of the working day decreases and then you find yourself going full circle and turning the laptop back on during family time hours.
This blurring of lines is not a healthy approach to work or home life and adds undue pressure on already stressed parents. While working from home may seem like the magic solution for mums the reality has seen it fall from grace and it poses the question, is the solution they actually need flexible working? Listen, as you hear mums agree the world over.