Remote Work Secrets from PSP Members

Onboarding a new role remotely for the first time? PSP members have tips for a smooth transition.

Balancing work and taking care of your kids full-time? Also check out WFH without childcare: Top tips for making it work.

Not yet a member of Park Slope Parents? Join us today and get connected to your community. If you’re a member who’d like to join the Working Moms Group, head HERE!

One member asks...

“​​I'm hoping to solicit some advice from the group as I'm about to begin a new job (remotely) at a large corporation. While I have many years of experience in my field, I have not ever worked in the big corporate sector. I experienced a lay-off right after maternity leave (mid 2020) so I have not yet adjusted to working remotely OR being a FT working parent.

I'm hoping to get advice around:

- beginning a job remotely

- transitioning from smaller workplaces to a large, global company

- both parents working FT with a toddler (We have childcare with which we are really happy, so no stress there luckily!)

Thanks in advance to any insights this group can provide!”

Parents recommend…

Take time to perfect your tech and physical set-ups. “Invest in your set up. Even if work doesn't give you a stipend for it, you will be spending HOURS at home working, and your environment is key. It is so much more comfortable to have a real keyboard/mouse/monitor (if that applies) and an actual desk chair. There are all different scales for pricing for office equipment, so it is possible to do it affordably. From personal experience, I had an awful desk chair, and I've upgraded it with a real office chair from Costco for $125 and it has made all the difference!!”

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“Not only set up your work station, but get as familiar with all the different tech, systems, websites, passwords/PIN #s etc needed to navigate all the admin stuff that are associated with working with a large company. If you wait (like I did), you'll be less productive later. At a small company, there was 1 person I went to for personalized help no matter how silly, but at a large company, it's anonymous help centers, off shore customer service type support so it can take awhile to get issues resolved.”

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Create a schedule for yourself and, if you’re partnered, for your partner. “Set a schedule and keep a routine and most importantly outline your boundaries. Depending on your schedule, it could be flexible, but make sure you are keeping consistent to your schedule and routine. Block off the time you need to take care of your children, take them to daycare, or the evenings etc. and do this right from the get go. If you are working in a global capacity with other time zones, make these boundaries very firm and keep yourself accountable. I find that I'm the one who has the hard time keeping to my own time boundaries!”

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“My husband and I had a white board that laid out three columns - one for myself, my husband and daughter. Anything in blue was 'committed and super duper important' (i.e. a board meeting or client call for him/ myself, a music class for her, etc). We would then color code red in each person's respective column when they were 'on duty.'”

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Set clear boundaries. “Leave work at work. When you're finished, be finished. Be 100% present at your job during those working hours, but then do the same for your family. It can be easy to let the hours blur together when you're not physically leaving an office.”

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“Set boundaries and expectations with co-workers/managers. I blocked off time for day care pick up / drop off, pumping / nursing (when I was breastfeeding), and felt ok if I had to take days off when I didn't have childcare (ie: snowstorms, sick days). I also let people know which days I didn't have flexibility and which days I did. A couple days a week, I would log back on after the kids were in bed to work for a couple of hours. As long as I was upfront and communicated accordingly, my time was respected.”

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Take advantage of benefits for parents. “Be aware and take advantage of all benefits for primary caretakers! Large global companies typically have meatier benefits than smaller companies. My company had paid leave during COVID for primary caretakers (not just children), and have more flexibility for parents when we go back to the office (not yet announced), as well as tons of resources (ie: back up care, guides, etc). It was great to know they were available to me if I needed.”

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Prep for the week before it begins. “What I've learned since going back to work is that prepping for the week has made things much more seamless. On Sundays I lay out baby's clothes for the full week, whether she's going to daycare that day or not (she's in part time). I have groceries delivered, and meal prep lunches for my husband and I who also WFH. I keep dinners open, but still have a rough working plan for what we'll be eating each weeknight so there isn't much to think through at dinner time. Sundays are busy days at home, but it really allows me to let go of worrying about all those details throughout the week.”

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Find ways to connect with coworkers—and, if you’re in a leadership role, to connect the people who report to you. “It can be challenging to meet your co-workers and find a group while WFH. Schedule way more 1:1s that you need, always make sure you're trying to jump in on the calls you are attending. I also loved the advice of joining any community groups at work!”

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“Nothing has been more valuable than an outdoor meetup with coworkers during off hours.”

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“Regular check ins - I had 1 on 1s with each new hire a couple times the first week, and then weekly for the first month or so. This enabled me to get a pulse on how they were doing, and allow them to ask questions freely as they learned and met more people.  It also enabled me to learn how they like to work, and get to know them informally. I would set this up with your manager, if he/she doesn't initiate this.

Onboarding buddy / cohort - I assigned an onboarding buddy for each new hire so they had 1 go to resource as they learned. This person is typically a recent hire, so they can provide learnings from their own onboarding process, and the new hire had one person they got to know pretty well in the first few weeks. If you're not assigned an onboarding buddy, I would find one! Also, it helped to intro people who started around the same time even if in different functions - allowed them to learn together and leverage each other as resources.

Learning Plan - Each team member had to go through a learning plan that enabled them to meet cross functional team members, learn all the proprietary technology, learn all the necessary processes, and give them a list of things to do in the first 2-3 weeks. If there isn't one recommended when you start, I might put one together based on conversations you have with recent hires so that you feel productive and have direction in your first few weeks.”

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