Q&A with Martin: Working remotely while homeschooling during quarantine

We talk with our Financial Manager about his year working remotely while educating his two daughters at home. Here's how he balances it all, and why company values are key.

March 13, 2021

Meet Martin

  • Currently lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • I'm a Financial Manager

  • I started at The Remote Company in July 2020

  • Why I love my job: I love our company culture and values. It’s amazing to start each day knowing that I will learn something new and that I’m sharing this journey with talented and collaborative people. I’m also proud to be part of a company that builds innovative solutions to empower people's projects.


How long have you been working remotely? What made you decide to look for a remote job?

I've been working remotely since 2006. My first job was in a bank and after a few years, I realized that I didn't want to spend the rest of my life stuck in an office from 9 AM to 6 PM, or even later.

I wanted to build a life with the flexibility to spend time with my loved ones and take care of myself, without them being in conflict with my career.

I had heard about some companies promoting remote work, which was an uncommon and innovative practice in Argentina at that time. I applied for a remote position and got the job!

Since then I've changed roles and companies, but being able to work remotely is my #1 priority.

Your kids had to stay home in 2020 and only recently started going back to school. What does a typical day with everyone at home look like?

Last year, quarantine started exactly one week after our kids' classes did. They had to stay home since then, so this past year has been quite a challenge!

Despite the fact that I was well-trained in working from home, suddenly the four of us (my wife and our 11 and 9-year-old daughters) had to do all of our activities from the same place, sharing resources like devices, personal space and even bandwidth!

During a normal day in our household, my wife would have video calls with patients (she's a psychologist) or teach a class to high school students (she's also a teacher). At the same time, our children take classes in a Google classroom or a dance or painting lesson on Zoom. Meanwhile, I'm trying to focus on my job.

We had to carve out additional time to support our daughters' workload. Also, it became a priority to take care of our family's mental health. It's hard to be isolated from friends and family and live a very different life than the one you're used to.

How did you adapt to homeschooling and working full-time?

I joined The Remote Company in mid-2020 and in this company, I took my 14 years of remote work experience to the next level.

I'm responsible for my deliverables but I have the freedom to organize my own work schedule. I have the right tools to communicate with the team at any time, and we avoid unnecessary meetings.

This enabled me to adapt much better to this new reality. I have the flexibility to be there for my family and achieve my job goals simultaneously, even when facing new challenges like getting used to these new roles (parent, teacher, etc.).

In our family, we had to develop extra skills and adopt new technologies to manage all of our activities and appointments. Things like shared calendars, to-do lists and memos became crucial to keep track of classes, commitments, school schedules, and who is and isn't at home. The FamCal app helps us a lot!

Overall, I've come to realize that working remotely is a big step in terms of flexibility, but it's not enough in itself. The key is being part of a company that really understands and embraces remote work and knows how to be efficient in an asynchronous working environment.

These times have been challenging for everyone. How do you keep your own mental health in check while also raising your kids?

These are unprecedented times that shocked everybody's world.

We were isolated from our extended families, unable to do many of the activities that make us happy. I would again say that being part of a company with values that promotes flexibility, creativity and wellness was super helpful.

Additionally, I discovered cycling as an activity to do during the pandemic. Having the chance to leave for a ride at different moments during the day is priceless.

I also tried to find different activities to share with my daughters. For example, I love reading and last year I read the complete Harry Potter saga with my youngest daughter Lucy. Potterheads, grab your wands!

Looking back on a unique year, how has your family dynamic changed?

We definitely learned to appreciate things that we used to take for granted. We improved on sharing and optimizing resources within the house and we had to master several new technologies.

I still hate Zoom birthdays, but a positive aspect of the pandemic is that humanity gained several years of digital transformation in just a few months.

Megan

I’m Megan, Content Writer at The Remote Company. You can find me in Berlin, NYC or somewhere escaping winter in Asia. I have helped many start-ups grow their online visibility. Blogging has always been my thing—from running artist fan pages as a teenager to now discovering upcoming talent on Sign This Kid.

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