Working from home during a pandemic HERO

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What working from home is really like during a pandemic

Ashleigh Joyce, October 05, 2020

It’s 2:45 am and I hear my two-year-old daughter’s voice yelling for me. I know I have to hurry up and grab her before she wakes up my three-year-old son. My feet struggle to find the floor as I try to wipe away the fogginess of what was a deep sleep and head down the hall to her room.

Tomorrow is my first day at Calendly and the anxiety of getting off to a sleep-deprived start begins to set in. I scoop up my daughter, give her some milk and rock her to sleep before crawling back into my bed at 3:30 am.

Luckily, my commute will be 20 feet from my bedroom, so I reset my alarm for 30 extra minutes of sleep while still leaving myself enough time to be camera-ready for my first Zoom meeting. This is the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before joining Calendly, I worked remotely for six years, so it's something I’m used to. What I’m not used to is having two toddlers at home while my husband and I juggle conference calls in between nap times.

When starting a new job, especially remotely, there’s an added level of anxiety stemming from the fact that you feel like you have to show you’re working since you’re not actually in an office. The concept of “butts in seats” equating to work getting done is still widely accepted across many organizations. Luckily for me, this wasn't Calendly's mindset before the pandemic, nor is it now.

Calendly shifted to remote work seamlessly, and they understand this is a unique time for all of us. It’s not about seeing if everyone is listed as active online for eight hours a day. It’s not about a colleague wondering why I’ve been away from my computer for over two hours to play with my kids while my husband works. It’s not about worrying that your boss is going to question why you didn’t respond to their DM or if you missed a meeting because a temper tantrum exploded seconds before the call began.

It’s about maximizing the hours in the day that you do have to be effective and efficient at your job. It’s about supporting one another as friends and colleagues as we navigate new challenges together. It’s about being authentic and open about what working life is really like right now and the struggles it brings so that others don’t feel alone.

That being said, it’s okay to let your kids sit on your lap when you’re leading a conference call. It’s okay to take calls as you take a walk and escape the house you've been in for weeks. It’s okay to reschedule that meeting last minute because your kid needs help with their online coursework.

We’re all in this together and with a little kindness and understanding, I’m confident we’ll all emerge from this as better people.

In closing, I want to say thank you to Calendly. Thank you for allowing me to feel safe and supported in sharing who I really am and how my life really is during this time. I am incredibly thankful to have joined this growing organization and to be part of a phenomenal team of kick-ass professionals who believe in Calendly—as we are today, and as we’ll become tomorrow.

Ashleigh Joyce biography
Ashleigh Joyce

Ashleigh Joyce is Calendly's Manager of Employer Brand. She's thankful for her two little ones, local West Midtown restaurants, and fermented grapes.

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