Working from home as a parent
Have you ever heard of ‘common exception words’ ‘bossy words’ or ‘digraphs’? No, neither did I until Wednesday 25th March 2020, when I started to work from home for the first time in conjunction with the Governments response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working for Student Services at ARU for the past 5 years has proved that you often have to be adaptable and work in line with the ever-changing climate. These 5 years of ‘training’ to be adaptable did not fully prepare me for the roller-coaster I would face whilst working full time at home AND home-schooling our 6-year-old son Zachary. My wife works for the NHS, in a front line role with stroke patients, so she is also required to work full-time from home in addition to going out to see her patients either on the ward or the community.

I have realised a few things whilst working from home. Firstly, having two screens is not a luxury as everyone led me to believe… it’s a necessity for my role, it really is.

Secondly, 6 year-olds are way smarter than you appreciate. The boy knows more stuff than I do and constantly impresses me with golden nuggets of information and facts. Do you know that a meerkat burrows its tunnels exactly 5.6 feet deep? Zachary does.

Thirdly, home-schooling can be HARD whilst working. Constant work-related demands coupled with loud spouts of “DADDY! I GOT THE ANSWER RIGHT!” or his spouts of frustrations in unable to make sense of a mathematical or spelling tasks can be either a trying moment or a proud moment depending on the task I am doing at that particular moment for my job.

The school sends us weekly schoolwork to do so he is able to continue his learning during the lock-down. Luckily my wife and I are a strong team – we are both on the same page in regard to his learning and we can both accommodate when either of us need to go to the breakout (bed) room for daily phone/video meetings.

All in all, the working from home set up has had far more positive points than I could have imagined. Along with keeping up with the constant laundry, having time to go to the allotment after work, and not having to worry about cancelled or delayed trains, I have enjoyed spending this time with my family, helping my son learn to tell the time and explaining the concept of fractions. I have loved showing him just how proud I am of him about his capabilities and seeing his face beam with excitement every time I do.

The main thing that I have realised so far, is just how strong my colleagues and I are as a team. Considering that the UK has not seen or experienced anything like our current situation in decades, the ARU Temps team have really pulled together- we really have.

We have been able to adapt to work from home and continue our daily catch ups and ensure that we are still operating as a service even though we are all working remotely. We are lucky enough to be able to use and share the same database and documents from wherever we are.

This is one of the main advantages of using an online based recruitment platform. The current situation has enabled us to be stronger in our approach and communication, not only with each other, but with our candidates and our clients. When we get back to normal operation (whenever that will be) this experience will have proved to us just how strong we are not only as individual people, but as an amazing team – Where we will be able to cope with any challenges that are thrown at us.

Suneet Bakarania