In the fourth and final installment of our “Working Through a Pandemic”, we speak with Elizabeth, a Financial Analyst who has “mostly” worked remotely full-time during the pandemic while also caring for a two year-old and one year-old.
Elizabeth, Financial Analyst
On the very real fear of her young children falling ill…
My biggest concerns are my family’s health and risk of bringing something home. Did I wash my hands well enough? Did I take the necessary precautions? With taking them to daycare, my concern is will they pick something up from there? Are they healthy enough to kick it should they eventually get infected? And the guilt! Is this the best I can do for them? Honestly, I don’t know that employers can fully address these concerns. Ca they do better, in terms of social distancing, cleaning common areas, protecting the employees with several people and contractors coming in and out? Yes, but how much is enough? Too many factors.
Becoming desensitized to the ongoing pandemic…
We have all forgotten, become numb to the numbers, statistics and gone back to our 8-5. The situation becomes realistic when someone we know and have been in contact with reports that they are positive. We don’t sanitize, clean or wash our hands enough. I ran into a friend I haven’t seen in almost a year and shook their hand. It didn’t hit me until I was driving off!
The challenges of balancing motherhood with remote work….
It’s hard being a working parent with young children. If a child has a fever or any of the Covid symptoms, they are required to be watched at home until the symptom goes, then stay home for 72 hours before returning to daycare. It’s not unusual for children to run a fever, but how many three to four days in a row can one call in absent to work? How many bosses are understanding? And how can you be expected to be 100% productive while at home with kids? In reality, parents are burning both ends of the candle and having to make tough choices.
Dealing with the economic fall-out from the virus….
I am very fortunate to have a great work environment. However, these are unusual times. In my position, I see numbers that are very stuck. Leaders have a challenge making long term decisions. With fixed costs, there are contracts that can’t easily be broken, and deadlines that can’t be negotiated. Employee costs are a big number against shrinking to nonexistent income. Hard decisions will have to be made. However, I feel that leaders should also be tactful and encouraging. Threatening people with job loss is not something I would do.
*All responses in this interview series have been edited for length and clarity.