Working from home is not a very common concept in lovely Spain. I could write a book about the office culture of “if-you-are-not-visible-behind-your-desk-in-the-office-you-are-not-working” but let´s just say that they still have a long way to go before flex working can really get a chance here. Part of this is due to the fact th
at a lot of people get more evaluated on hours than on output, however another big part is also because “we” remote workers screw it up for ourselves and therefore the concept of “working from home” is more seen like a joke and definitely not as real working. Some people use working from home if their child is sick or if they don´t have a sitter and on these kind of days obviously not too much gets done.
Despite being in a Spanish company, I have the luck that my team is pretty northern-European and therefore working from home is the most normal thing in the world. The mindset is that as long as the work gets done they don´t really care when and where you do it. (Obviously, there are certain tasks you need to be in the office for, and especially in Spain some stuff needs to happen face2face if you really want to achieve something) So of the 4 days my workweek consists of I usually work 2 days from home. A lot of my Spanish colleagues think that if I am working from home I am actually taking care of the bichin and make statements that I am so lucky that I don´t need to arrange childcare for those days. But seriously, only if your baby is a serious napper and gives you some long sleep stretches during the day you have something to work with, otherwise I don´t think you will do a lot of actual working. The average naptime of the bichin is 30minutes so if I would be home alone with him, not much work would get done. And that´s fine if it´s one day every once in a while but not if it´s 50% of your workweek. I mean you definitely get more efficient after having a baby (try showering, getting dressed and somewhat presentable, putting the laundry and unloading the dishwasher in that half hour nap) but not that efficient that I can do a full-time job in my two office days.
So also on the days that I am working from home either his dad is home and takes care of him (every day until midday) or he is at his grandparent´s place. So in the mornings my breaks often involve some nice cuddling and shit still gets done. Win-win.
However, I have to say that since I got back to work the mute button on my phone is my new best friend because even if I am in a different room on a conference call if Lucas is really screaming then this won´t be missed by my colleagues. And although shit gets done I still don´t want my Spanish-minded colleagues to think that I am not really working but just babysitting. (Although my direct team knows that dad is doing the care still if they hear crying on the background they immediately ask if we need to reschedule the call or if I want to go to the bichin and call them back afterwards)
And then there are always the exceptional moments that during a workday from home
dad has to quickly sneak out for a call or for some paper work (mind you, in Spain we´re not that digital yet that bank errands etc. can be done without the actual paper work and going to the bank in the 3hour time slot that they are open) and that requires some planning. The fun part about babies is that they don´t really do planning, so although he might take a nap every day at 10am and I know I will be home alone for an hour so I plan my concall at 10 that will of course be the day that it will take until the end of the concall to make him sleep. So if before I thought I had quite a challenging job, on some days I am taking it to a whole new level now: try making a baby sleep while he is trying to pull the headset out of your ears (let me know if you need tips on how to put on headsets with having the least possible cable visible) and the glasses of your face while him having to be quiet the moment you need to unmute yourself and making sure you at least get the main highlights of the call…..