Besides many other things what has changed upside down during the Covid-19 pandemic is the dynamics of parenthood. Fathers are not only the breadwinner now, but they are also the bread bakers. The household responsibilities including childcare, education, have multiplied in the past few months due to the lockdown. Managing them is a task, especially if both partners are working. Unlike earlier, when it was mostly the mothers who were required to juggle work and child care, the present situation demands much more involvement of the fathers in domestic responsibilities.
Lucify.ch asks some of the working from home dads about their experiences with the changing dynamics.
Setting priorities right
Work from home has allowed me to be more involved in my children’s learning. I was supposed to teach my girls how to ride a bicycle. I had been postponing this for many months as I was always too tired when I returned from office. With the lockdown and working from home setup, I get sufficient time in the evening to be around my children, teach them new skills and play with them.
Working from home is perfect when it comes to striking a balance between family and career. However, it can also be a deterrent to professional progression as there is no face-to-face networking.
I have, however, realized that watching your kids grow is equally important. These are their crucial years too. Therefore, I would prefer to work from home until they are of a certain age.
Sony Vechoor, father of three girls (Zurich)
Child management is a new learning
Working from home has been a valuable experience. I save a lot of time on travel which is now devoted to my son, and we both love it. He is six years old, so it is easier to make him understand that office calls are important. He cooperates well. Sometimes he wants to step into my home office and sit beside me. I let him if he promises to be quite. It makes him understand the office setting and seriousness of it.
The new setup also helps my wife a lot as I can babysit him for long hours while she can have her time off to pursue her interests. Besides, working from home has been good for personal growth as well. I am back to my swimming and poetry. I love poetry, so while in office, it used to be coffee breaks, now I use this time for poetry break.
I think working from home does not affect career progression much as everyone is doing, including the bosses. It does not affect the networking if you have been working with them for long. For new persons in the team, there needs to be a weekly face-to-face meeting arrangement. That is why now the companies are trying to find a mid-way. They are asking employees to come to the office once or twice a week, depending on their feasibility. I think that is the best.
Kashif Mukhtar, father of a boy (Zurich)
Win-win situation for all
I do like to go to the office as it is an entirely different setup, there is a lot more interaction with the colleagues, you understand more about the project status, company developments. But working from home has made me realize that being more around your children while they are growing should not be missed. Also, it is clear now that working from home is as productive as working from the office. In fact, in some cases more productive.
Yes, there are times when everyone in your office call can hear your little ones screaming or laughing in the background. However, no one asks you to mute it anymore. No one is frowning or complaining about little noises. Work in being done even more efficiently. There is not much that has changed in terms of workload. What has changed in the kind of breaks we take from the work. Earlier it used to be coffee breaks or catching up with your colleagues after work. Now this time goes to children and your partner. I try to help my wife more with household chores and kids so that she is not over exhausted.
For me, the best arrangement is to go to the office once or twice a week because face-to-face team interaction is equally important. It offers the much-needed work-life balance and therefore, would be a win-win situation for all.
Mayur Daftari, father of a girl and a boy (Zurich)