Tech Craic: Mums in tech - working remotely and COVID-19

  • Photo: Allstate NI's Suzi Murtagh & PwC NI's Alex Hughes

    This week, journalist Niamh Campbell spoke with two working mums in tech on their own experiences and tips in regard to working at home while trying to balance family life.

    Suzi Murtagh, Director of CTS (Claims Tech Solutions) at Allstate Northern Ireland is now managing over 160 people remotely and PwC NI’s Service Manager/Digital Accelerator Alex Hughes oversees all of the firm’s tech support operations.

    With a lot of articles circulating online on how to maintain the ‘new normal’ perfectly, it can put a lot of pressure on all parents that can lead to unnecessary stress on top of COVID-19 anxieties.

    That’s why it’s important to hear from real-life, local people to help ensure you are not alone!

    The podcast is also available here on Spotify and on iTunes/Apple Podcasts when you search Sync NI, along with all previous episodes. Make sure to subscribe/follow for updates on new episodes also!

    Some of Suzi and Alex’s top tips for working remotely with your children

    1. Don’t be too hard on yourself – or your kids – when it comes to having a strict routine and home-schooling.
    2. Simultaneously, don’t feel guilty about setting aside extra time in your work day to go over some schoolwork with your children e.g. Take two hours at lunch instead of one to help them with problems.
    3. Reach out to possible teachers, classroom assistants or student teachers to see if they would be willing to help out with a short Zoom session, even if it’s just once a week, to teach your kids something new and get some more social interaction.
    4. Prep meals the night before – making your children’s lunches beforehand will save precious time and enable better day-time structure.
    5. Try and separate work from home, as best you can.
      A lot of people have now had to turn their bedrooms into their new work offices, but this can tempt people to work late into the night, or open up the laptop to start working again right before bed. For your own mental health and productivity, set yourself a strict finish time!
    6. Have ‘retrospective’ meetings with your kids or family members at the end of the week. Reflect on what has happened that week and discuss what can be done better in the future, but also celebrate what you have achieved. For younger children, make some sticky notes with a ‘sad face’ and ‘smiley face’ and ask them what made them happy that week, and what could be done better.
    7. Try and turn the news off during the day.
      Even if you think your children don’t watch it or take it in, it can add unnecessary subconscious stress during this uncertain time, especially when everything is relating to COVID-19 all the time. It also won’t do any harm to switch off from it yourself for a while!

     RELATED: Find all other episodes of the Tech Craic podcast on Sync NI here

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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