Work From Home Dad | Insights on Balancing Life & Working
The Knack Bags team is 100% remote, with team members located all over the United States (and a few in the United Kingdom). As a startup, it’s important for us to offer remote positions, because it makes the company able to attract top talent. We want to hire and work with the best people, and limiting recruiting to a specific city just doesn’t make good business sense.
As the Chief Digital Officer of Knack, I am much more concerned about what is getting done rather than where it’s getting done.
However, working from home does have its challenges, especially if you’re a dad. Below, I’ve shared some insights for my fellow parents who work from home.
The perfect trifecta: @allbirds, @knackbags and @starbucks. All digital nomad must-haves. #digitalnomad #remotework #workessentials pic.twitter.com/T0GFw6gGBp— Keith Bristol (@keithbristol) May 9, 2019
Family Life & Remote Work
My wife is a physician with a rigid schedule. Working remotely means that I have a more flexible schedule as we raise our two daughters (ages 11 and 9) together.
The nice thing about working remotely is that I don’t lose time to a commute. I get up in the early AM before my kids, and take care of emails and Slack notifications. Then around 7, the girls get up and I get them ready for school. Being able to get my kids to school, without worrying about my own commute, makes life much easier.
After school, I take the kids to their sporting events, and then work at night after they finish homework and go to bed. My kids are really into soccer, and I’ll take them to soccer practice. And sometimes I’ll work while they’re at soccer practice, either on the field (using my phone as a wireless hotspot), or going to a nearby coffee shop.
Working from home allows for extra flexibility when “parenting surprises” pop up. If one of our daughters are sick we don’t have to worry about who will stay home to stay with them, as I’m already there.
I can also volunteer in their classrooms. Once a month I teach Art Literacy at my daughters’ school.
The Importance of a Co-Working Space (WeWork Portland)
While I often work at coffee shops (I go to various coffee shops in my area, and love the local coffee shop Stumptown), they can be too loud for calls and meetings. Because of this, I’ve added coworking locations to remote work.
Over the years I've worked many co-working spaces. A few of my favorites in Portland include WeWork and Urban Office.
When you work remotely, it’s important to find ways to network and socialize.
Not Gonna Lie, Childcare is a Must
Working remotely, I usually leave the house from 3-5PM, when our (very) part-time Nanny cares for the girls. We hired someone from our neighborhood, and in the summer we also work with a college student. She helps the girls with homework, and also sets a good example. (My daughters think she’s “super cool.”)
“You’re Always Working”
One of the hardest parts about being a parent who works from home is hearing, “Dad, you’re alwaaaaays working!” This used to make me feel guilty, until I realized that they don’t understand that if I wasn’t working from home I would be working from an office – home a lot less.
Leaving home from 3 to 5 means I can get stuff accomplished, so when I come home I’m fully present. We make dinner and get homework done, and then I work for a couple of hours after the girls go to bed. Building a fast-growing startup takes a lot of work, but it is possible to do as a parent if you have caffeine on your side.
Extra Tips for Moms or Dads Working from Home
Calendaring is one of the main challenges, so we have a “Family Calendar” on Google Calendar. My wife and I connect our work calendars, and we put the girls schedule onto it. We add in household appointments, and use the Family Calendar to plan family trips and make sure that everything is covered. If there’s a conflict, we schedule some extra time with our nanny.
First Husker Football Game. #Huskers #GBR pic.twitter.com/52pS8dTKwM— Keith Bristol (@keithbristol) October 22, 2016
The most important thing is to use your time strategically. I’ll go through email once or twice a day to stay focused. I don’t usually schedule calls for more than 30 minutes, because you don’t need to unless it’s a team meeting.
Knowing when to “shut off” is the hardest part of working from home. You need to also be present with your kids. I love Knack, and I want to do it all of the time.
Using the Knack Pack as a “Soccer Dad”
My Knack Pack was great for a spring break trip to New York. We were visiting grandparents outside of New York City, and I took the Knack Pack when we went to the city. I was able to take my stuff with me, and expand my Knack Pack to throw coats/jackets for the kids. We also put some souvenirs in the back, no need to carry multiple bags.
Weekend in #NYC, checked out #oculuswtc, #thestatueofliberty and #moma. My @knackbags was a lifesaver while traveling on planes, trains and automobiles. I expanded my Knack and fit 6 coats during our explorations - better than carrying 6 coats in my arms #dadlife #workingdad pic.twitter.com/axeTzePb6a— Keith Bristol (@keithbristol) April 7, 2019
When I take the girls to practice as a “Soccer Dad,” I’ll take my medium Knack Pack with me and then go to a nearby coffee shop and work. We do travel some weekends for tournaments (especially in the summer), and I’m able to pack my clothes and toiletries plus my work items (laptop, phone charger, etc).
It’s great to have all my stuff in one place, so I can focus on being present. I throw some things in my Knack Backpack, and we get out the door.
Are you looking for the perfect Father's Day gift for the Dad who does it all? The Knack Pack looks great in business settings and on family trips.
Oh, FYI: The last day to order to receive your Knack Pack in time for Father's Day is June 6.
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