Working From Home Women
Back in the good ol’ days before Corona reared her ugly head, it would have been impossible to imagine the extent to which words like ‘lockdown’, ‘social distancing’ and ‘zoom calls’ could become such a part of our daily vernacular.
Nowadays, working from home is the new normal, and whilst for some people, this is a dream come true (no more commuting! pajamas to work!) for others, concerns around childcare, effective communication, and that all-important work/life balance has made the transition a little rockier.
As part of our ‘inspirational women’ series, we’ve spoken to four women from Solely Original HQ about the unique challenges they’ve faced, and some of the tips they’ve picked up along the way.
Working From Home Mum
With ever-changing rules around childcare and school openings, suddenly having to balance a full-time job with looking after kids is definitely a humongous challenge for both our workload and our mental health (and one that, unfortunately, women are often expected to bear the brunt of). We talked to Amanda about some of the ways she has navigated the balance between work and home life, and how she stayed focused whilst looking after her new baby.
‘It’s definitely a juggling act! I have friends who, especially at the start of lockdown, were working their regular 9-5 job whilst at the same time home-schooling their children. It’s unfortunately true that as women it’s often assumed we’ll take on the role of primary caregiver which can be ridiculously draining, and you feel like you’re constantly living in fear of dropping one of the thousand plates you’re spinning. For me it’s all about staying incredibly motivated – I can structure my day around when my baby is asleep and catch up on work after bedtime, but it is difficult to really maintain that distinction between your work self, your mum-self, and yourself. As there’s no real physical separation it’s so exhausting – when you’ve had a really busy, long day and the little one wakes up at 6 am, it’s so hard to find that time to unwind, get some mental clarity and actually take care of yourself.’
‘I think as well as taking time out of the day to focus on you, never being afraid to ask for help or support from your employer & team members (or from your partner/family) if you feel you’re struggling is so important.’
Working From Home CEO
Gravitating from IRL to virtual has challenges on an individual level, but those challenges are magnified when you’re responsible for building a company and managing a team remotely in one of the toughest financial situations for small businesses we’ve ever seen. We spoke to Iris (CEO of Solely Original) on the steps she’s taken to help her team collaborate effectively.
“Despite the challenging time it’s been for businesses to remain open, we realised quite early on in lockdown that we wanted to adapt to the situation and that the best way we could support our customers, as a wellbeing brand, was to remain active and ensure our customers knew we were there for them. It’s obviously an incredibly trying time for every retail business and we had to navigate demand for shoes disappearing almost overnight, as well as logistically making sure all our customers were still receiving their orders. Our team knew that in order to support both our customers and our business in the best way possible we needed to stay connected, motivated, and work hard through a very challenging situation. It’s given us the opportunity to focus more on the wellbeing aspect of our brand, and we’ve found creating meaningful content focusing on how our customers can take care of themselves has really helped us all pull together as a team.’
Working From a Shared-home
For many people, working remotely was a completely novel experience and one that happened virtually without warning. The pace of the transition took many of us off guard, and meant that we were suddenly adapting our bedrooms or communal areas of our houses into makeshift offices, and dealing with much more contact time with those around us. We asked Soleil about how she’s finding working alongside family members-
“We live in a small home so we do have to negotiate where I can work and not be disturbed while they relax, have the TV on, etc. During meetings in particular we are very understanding of each other’s circumstances and let each other know when the other person has to be quieter which I’m so thankful for – I know a lot of people really struggle with this!”
“During the first lockdown after work, I would go to the park, since it was so lovely and sunny and it felt so good to be outside. Now that it gets colder and darker sooner, mentally it’s much harder but it’s certainly a positive to be at home during this season and not having to rush home before it gets dark or starts raining! I can enjoy a few more hours of sleep and also get to spend a bit more time with my family which is always a bonus!”
New Working From Home
When the second lockdown was announced, Maddie was only two weeks into her new role. We talked to her about how she’s managed to feel like part of the team virtually –
“The first few days were very strange – I had just gotten used to a new commute, a new team, a new office… and then suddenly I was back home again which was a little jarring, and at first I was worried it would make it harder to bond with my new colleagues as I know how important those office chats can be. It’s definitely been a different way to start a new job but things like regular team meetings, instant messaging, and lots of support have really made me feel like part of the team!”
“I’ve also tried to make sure I’m having a lot of face time with my colleagues – particularly when building new relationships I know that the more face time I have with someone, the more they know how to interpret my tone in writing and the fewer miscommunications will arise. I personally know lots of friends who struggle with being talked over on zoom calls (usually by men!) so I think it’s so important for us to make sure we’re still getting our voice heard.”
Working From Home Tips
As always, at Solely original we want to help build a community of empowered, inspired women who feel ready to take on the world.
Our top tips for navigating WFH are-
1. Take advantage of the perks – no wasted commuting time! More time with your pets! Homecooked meals!
2. Get into your professional zone – whether that’s doing your make-up, listening to a podcast, or dressing in full-on business attire, whatever it takes for you to feel like the ‘work-mode you’.
3. Set your boundaries – take your lunch break, turn off your work phone at the end of the day, and differentiate between your home and work space – your mental health will thank you for it!
4. Get the support you need – call up your colleagues, start a group chat, attend those virtual after-work drinks, we’re all in this together!
5. Take care of your feet – This one often gets overlooked, but is so important! Our feet are used to near-constant support and structure, so removing that support in favour of our beloved slippers can lead to serious foot problems. Our exclusive range of ‘house shoes’ is designed to be a hybrid between a shoe and a slipper, giving you maximum comfort and support. Check them out here