As everyone shifts to working from home, I’d like to share my excitement! No, I’m not excited that people can take conference calls in PJs or miss the rush hour traffic slog. Nope, my excitement is the enormous opportunity in front of us to normalize the fact that the majority of millennials in the workforce are in fact, parents too!
As a female founder who has 2 young children, the number of times that I have taken calls with investors, potential clients, and the media while nursing, changing a diaper, or making a snack, are in the hundreds. I’ve mastered the art of mute/unmute with lightning-fast precision. I’m ashamed to say that at times, I’ve succumbed to the pressure of perceived societal shaming and literally ran into a locked room with my screaming child on the other side of the door to take an ‘important call.’ Not proud of that.
Here is my ask for all of the new work from home parents. Let’s not hide the fact that we’re parents. We have small humans that we’re doing our very best to raise into big humans. However, while they are small they are at times loud, needy and, from time to time, fall down and need the immediate band-aid application.
Here is my ask to colleagues and managers out there. Let’s not make our parents feel like they have to hide behind locked doors to take a call. Much in the same way our colleagues with dogs and cats have the occasional background barking contribution, kids are much the same.
Now for clarification, I am not advocating that we have endless loud, disruptive kids derailing calls with Peppa pig disasters and yoyos that have mysteriously tied themselves in 10 knots. I am advocating for grace, understanding and normalizing that we are people with lives. We have kids, animals, elders parents and we need to stop feeling ashamed for any ‘overlap’ that causes while we’re home and when we return to the office.
Let’s use these uncertain times to bring our whole selves to work. Let’s not feel bad for the occasional conference call guest speaker (aka baby, Fido, grandpa looking for the remote).
Lastly, I want to ensure that I share how we at TiLT walk this talk on a daily basis. We are a 100% remote team and work from home on a regular basis. That means babies, toddlers, pets and elderly parents can sometimes be heard in the background of a demo with a potential client or contract negotiation call. Please understand, and this is critical- the way that our partners, clients, connections, etc. respond to those occasional background noises is a very large determining factor for us as a team as to whether or not we want to do business with that person/ company. I refuse to build a company where our people are made to feel guilty or ashamed for being their whole selves. And anyone we do business with needs to respect that same expectation.
I wish you well these next number of weeks as we all shift to working from home. I challenge us to be proud of our work, our family and every other part of our whole selves.