“Okay, let’s then proceed with th-”
The sentence is cut off by my daughter charging into the bedroom, wielding a vacuum cleaner head and perilously swinging it around the room. I apologize for the distraction and continue the Teams meeting in normal fashion after I manage to shoo her back to the living room. Moments later, one of the meeting participants asks me a question.
“BABABABABA TEE-HEE TEE-HEE BRRRRRRR”
Thankfully I have worked with this team for a long time and we are quite casual with each other. I am able to joke by saying the random noises just described our new position on international degree student tutoring. The people with children chuckle sympathetically, while the others sound a bit more tense.
Working from home has become normal for many people this spring. For me, its combination with the day-to-day life of a rambunctious toddler has been quite an experience. Her mother is still on maternity leave, so we are all home, all of the time. Like kids do, she fills her days with all manner of activities, some more chaotic than others. Thankfully, I have managed to schedule many of the most important meetings for the time she is having a nap or playing outside. Working in Excel or writing stuff is not too bad even if there is a little extra background noise. In fact, I have learned to decipher total quietness as the calm before the inevitable storm.
Aside from a few mishaps and troubles, spending days in the home office has been great. You don’t have to spend time commuting, so once you close the laptop you can relax right away. We have talked about taking breaks during the workday extensively during the spring. Indeed, the breakroom debates and laughs are a welcome addition to usual office business. However, reading Spot books, building block towers and playing the xylophone is an even better way to briefly distance yourself from work. Having a kid, you quickly learn to fully live in the moment.
I am, however, looking forward to going to the office once again after the holidays. The backing track of humming photocopiers and booming air-conditioning does not seem like such a bad thing anymore.
I am in deep thought, browsing the new coronavirus guidelines when I am startled by a massive crashing noise. It’s like hearing someone drop a crateful of glassware from a five-story window. The laundry rack has tipped over, so I move it to a safer spot and continue working.