New Normal Series: How UMassOnline Staff Manage Working from Home During COVID-19

During a time when many parents have to adjust to working from home with children due to covid-19, I’m fortunate that UMass Online has always been flexible with allowing me to do this when I needed.

I have to admit, I don’t miss the stress of waking up early to get the kids up and ready for school, rushing out the door to make sure they make it in time. Not to mention, my commute to work has dramatically improved working remotely wink.

Working remotely, I enjoy still being able to connect with my colleagues and continue to be productive and successfully do my job. I must say that I do miss seeing everyone at the office. It is always nice to connect and catch up with my colleagues in person. Since we can’t be in person right now, we make an extra effort to connect via Zoom to celebrate each other’s birthdays and to catch up.

Being a full-time working parent with two children, the most challenging part was transitioning the kids to remote schooling. My first thought was, “How am I ever going to get my own work done when I have to help both of my children with their schoolwork?” My son was especially affected by this transition. Being 8 years old, it was hard for him to understand that even though he was home, he had to virtually attend class and do his homework. After about a month, our son was able to adjust to his new normal.

Not only was my routine flipped upside down, but so wasn’t my husband’s. Luckily, my husband was able to adjust his work schedule so he could work remotely in the mornings to help out with the kids and their schooling. Thank goodness for his job flexibility!

What worked for us was creating a schedule which the family could stick to in order to keep everyone organized. It definitely helps that I am naturally a very organized, structured person. Together we created a schedule that works for the family – helping us stay focused and productive.

During this tough situation we are all facing, I love that our family is able to spend more quality time together. I went from having a cute little office nook to an office set up in the kitchen for the entire family! Our kitchen table is now our family "office".

It's pretty cool to work alongside my kids and see them work so hard while they get to see mom and dad working hard to take care of and provide for the family. My kids are learning invaluable life lessons on the importance of having a good work ethic and what it takes to be successful at what you set out to accomplish.

To switch things up, sometimes we work outside. When the family isn’t in the “office,” we are staying busy by enjoying the outdoors more, going for walks around the neighborhood, riding bikes, working on puzzles, crafting, and so much more. We stay connected with family and friends through FaceTime, text, calls and social distancing drive-bys.

Continuing to stay positive has helped my family throughout this pandemic. We are all in this together and we will get through this together.

Stay safe and well!

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