Checking in with a colleague: Pallant family

What’s been your biggest challenge working from home?

Definitely the hardest part of working from home has been juggling looking after our 16-month-old son Henry, particularly now that childcare is closed, and we are not ‘essential’ workers. We have had to split the day into shifts of working, with chasing Henry around the house. We have also had to set up a makeshift second workspace which is currently on our kitchen table.

What has pleasantly surprised you about working from home?

The silver lining of being home and not having childcare is that we’ve been able to spend a lot of time as a family and see Henry develop. It’s also been nice not having to sit in traffic on Glenferrie road, and not having to run across campus to get to back-to-back meetings.

How are you staying connected with Swinburne and your colleagues?

Our department is quite active on Teams. We have a ‘virtual coffee machine’ channel that we can have informal chats and a daily morning tea that people can drop in to catch up. It’s definitely not the same as bumping into people in the office but it gives us a way to connect when we need it.

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Jessica and her friendliest team member, Henry, connecting with colleagues in a meeting from home.

How do you switch off from work?

It’s definitely easy to fall into the trap to talk about work particularly because we’re in the same department and work on projects together. We have found starting and ending the work day with a walk replaces what would have been the daily commute to and from work and helps with the mental shift. It is also just lovely to get out and do some physical exercise. We have some really beautiful walking trails near us so we’re lucky in that aspect.

What are your lockdown recommendations?

For dinner, anything that we can all eat together and won’t take too much effort from the ‘One Handed Cooks’. Otherwise, take-away pizza after Henry has gone to bed. For podcasts, ‘No Such Thing as a Fish’. It’s a podcast from the researchers behind QI and they talk about random facts they’ve found each week. Jason also listens to the Ringer NBA podcast to get his sports fix.

As for TV, we’ve been watching Lucifer on Netflix and we just binged the first half of Season five and need more!

Have you stocked up on anything?

We bought a pod coffee machine before the restrictions started, and it’s in frequent use! We’ve also recently stocked up on outside toys and books for Henry – anything to keep him entertained.

Who is in your family at home?

Our 16-month-old son, Henry, and our cavoodle, Barkley.

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Barkley the cavoodle enjoying the sunny weather.

What is your best tip for juggling kids and work?

Try and find a routine as best you can. We have found splitting the day up into 1.5 hour blocks lets one of us get the immediate/essential work tasks done while the other looks after Henry and then we swap. It’s not ideal but it’s the best way we have found we can get through the day.

Tell us a story: the funniest/trickiest/strangest thing that’s happened with work and having kids at home

Henry frequently makes appearances in our meetings. The most embarrassing time was during a meeting with our Pro Vice-Chancellor where we had to apologise and quickly change a nappy…we won’t give too many details on that experience.

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