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Kate Hawkesby: School holidays make juggling kids and work near impossible

Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 9 October 2019, 9:28AM
Distractions at home are one of the reasons some employers now do psychometric testing on whose suitable to do it.

I wonder how many of you have kids home on school holidays at the moment and are still trying to work.

Juggling kids and a job is hard at the best of times, but it steps up a notch when school holidays hit.

I thought this yesterday as I got my laptop out and tried to do some work while dealing with a needy dog and children wanting attention.

It doesn’t help that one of the kids has homework – how cruel to give homework during the school holidays – not just for the kids but also the working parents!

So I was juggling my ability to work, with my daughter’s ability to search up New Zealand’s worst disasters. “Mum, how many people died in Erebus? Mum how does a hot air balloon crash?” and so it goes.

So I feel for you if you’re at home doing the same and shouting “google it” back to your kids every 5 minutes.

How lucky they are to even have Google.

I note, unsurprisingly, there's been a surge in rentals of ‘hot desks’ as parents trying to work, have to flea home and get some space these school hols. I almost hit google myself to find out where these spaces were and if they had room for me.

“Mum, in the Wahine disaster, were there any children on board?”

“Google it.”

The hot desk rental spaces offer a desk for just a day or a week, some of the spaces even have a barista.

Caffeine straight to the bloodstream, just what any tired working parent needs.

Distractions at home are one of the reasons some employers now do psychometric testing on whose suitable to do it.

I interviewed a woman the other day who runs a company doing just that, she tests employees personalities to see if you're suited to working productively from home or not.

I'm definitely not.

And in a survey of 15,000 people from 80 countries around the world, when asked what distracted them when they worked from home, 62 percent said family demands.

So I'm not alone.

But as more companies look to be socially conscious and family focused, as more employers try to be malleable – something the new millennial workforce demands, there’s more pressure to allow employees to manage themselves more flexibly.

50 percent of NZ employees have flexible work hours already, a third work from home, according to Stats NZ.

Many of our small and medium enterprises are run out of the home office.

So for those of us struggling these school holidays to concentrate for more than 10 minutes while we work from home bear in mind that thankfully, the kids are back to school next week.  

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