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The Home Front: Zoompervising.

Up this week on The Home Front is our Engineering Manager, Josh. See how they’re “Zoompervising” (their word!) life and high-kicking their goals.

“Spending time with family is great, right? So, by extension, spending ALL YOUR TIME with family should be amazing, right? It certainly can be, but it’s much more work than it seems. As COVID-19 has given us all this opportunity to focus on home life a lot more, finding out what works, what doesn’t, and how to help each other cope has been a huge challenge. Ultimately, the hope is that we’re better for the time together, growing a bit closer along the way.

Perhaps the biggest thing my wife Shanin, my soon-to-be-9-year-old daughter Cora, and I have had to adapt to is an almost complete lack of personal time. To cope, my wife and I take it in turns to go for bike rides or walks while the other stays home with Cora. We also have started feeling more comfortable leaving Cora to herself while we go on walks together; this is a new thing for us and we’re getting better at it (we leave one of our phones with Life360 on it at home with her just in case). While this isn’t the same as pre-COVID where one of us would take Cora for a full day, leaving the other to do whatever, it’s certainly a help.

Redefining “normal” has been a challenge as well. Schooling took several weeks to become natural; since she was laid off right at the beginning of coronavirus, Shanin is able to help Cora do her classwork while I work from home. This has proven to be a good social construct for Cora; Shanin is also helping Zoompervise (our word for “supervise via Zoom”) Cora’s best friend (whose parents are both working full time) with her schooling, so Cora and she are on Discord, able to talk and send memes to each other (yes, she really is 8 going on 18!)

Cora’s taekwondo is a different story; she’s in training for black belt rank, and continued instruction is… less than ideal. Like so many other things, the instruction is done over Zoom, but the class sizes are far larger, so personal instruction is almost non-existent. This was a huge frustration because Cora gets so much less benefit and enjoyment from this new format; it’s become normal now, but it’s clear she’s not as invested in it now.

Screen time has also been a big point of conflict with us. When there are fewer alternatives available, there’s less reason in Cora’s mind for us to deny her screen time, especially since most of what she does is play Roblox and Minecraft with her best friend. Admittedly, we have relaxed quite a bit on this; we have actually been watching some TV during dinner a couple of times a week, something which only happened every other month or so!

However, even though we navigate through all these rough patches, I feel that we are closer. We have been doing a lot more family bike rides, family walks, board games, and just playing every now and then, something I rarely got due to my commute and time away from home. We go around the neighborhood and hide little plastic bugs for the neighbors to find, just to keep in contact with them. We’ve developed a routine for our days which helps set expectations. We are learning how to live like this, gradually.

Working from home has been a hard-earned blessing for me and for my family. Having the support for family life from the company has been an awesome boon; seeing the company come together and make efforts to encourage a continued work-life balance makes me feel valued as a person, as well as an employee. Ultimately, I will be happy when I’m able to get back into the office (and I’m sure my wife will be happy to have me gone for the day)… but with my commute, hopefully not every day :-)”

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