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A Day in the Life of a Mom Working From Home – Meet Yee-Min from Shield GEO

In our ongoing day in the life series, each month we’ve profiled one of our team to showcase how they structure their days, where they choose to work from, and how a flexible approach to work improves their work-life balance. 

We’ve seen how this allows working parents to structure their days around their children’s busy school routines, how serial travellers integrate sightseeing into their regular work schedules and how hobbies can take up more space in people’s days. 

Since widespread lockdowns and shelter in place initiatives have come into effect, we’ve seen routines changed, travel plans put on hold and working parents juggling many hats. There’s been a whole host of new challenges to staying motivated and getting through workloads without access to the usual activities and ability to change scenery. However, there’s been lots of positives associated with slower-paced living and extra family time too. 

This month, we’re profiling Yee-Min Law, one of Shield’s accountants who lives in Syndey, Australia with her husband and nine year old daughter Chelsie. 

Meet Yee-Min

Yee-Min is one of Shield’s accountants and she’s been with us since 2017 when she moved to Sydney from Hong Kong. 

Yee-Min & the Sydney Shield Team having Shanghai food at Eastwood

Over her time with us, she’s gone through a few changes in the way she structures her workdays. 

“At first I started with working in the office,” she says. 

At the time, all of the Sydney team worked together in a CBD office space. 

“Then my husband changed his hours and he couldn’t pick up [our daughter] Chelsie from school.” 

Yee-Min couldn’t make school pick up work while also commuting so she transitioned to working from home. 

“Tim was very supportive,” she says. 

“I think in other companies, especially accounting firms, they wouldn’t have allowed it unless you’d worked there for a period of time, like at least a year.”

From the beginning, Shield was an international team. Both our co-founders Tim and Duncan travelled a lot and they would work from wherever they were in the world. But Yee-Min was one of the first team members to work remotely from the same city as one of our office spaces. 

It really helped us to develop our policy of flexibility. 

“It’s a blessing for me because I get to do what I like to do and at the same time take care of my daughter,” Yee-Min says. 

This year saw Yee-Min switch her hours from part-time to full time and adding a few hours in the evening each day. 

Yee-Min and her husband

She was previously working from 10 am to 3 pm each day which meant she could do school pick up and drop off outside of work hours. 

“I still do 10 am – 3 pm and then I take one or two hours break and start again at 5 pm until 8 pm,” she says. 

That way she can share child care responsibilities with her husband so she’d able to get through her workload.

“He gets off work around five or six so it matches well,” she says. 

“I don’t need to cook which is good. He does the cooking, it’s good that we can share the responsibilities there.”

A day in the life of Yee-Min

7:30 a.m.Wake up, brush my teeth and get ready for the busy day ahead. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, is floor cleaning day, and every Tuesday and Thursday, I do the laundry in the morning.
8:15 a.m.Wake up my daughter, make and eat breakfast, prepare her lunch and little snacks for her school day. Also, wash and clean up the kitchen.
9:00 a.m.Walk to school. As the parents are not allowed to enter the school in the morning, I have some spare time to do some grocery shopping or quickly chat with some of the mommies. 
10:00 a.m.Start work, make myself tea to start the day.
12:30 p.m.Have a quick lunch. Sometimes I make sandwiches, sometimes I have leftovers from yesterday’s dinner for lunch. Sometimes soup with sandwiches, or instant noodles.
1:00 p.m.Continue with work.
3:00 p.mOff to pick up my girl from school. Sometimes I allow her 10 to 15 minutes to play with her friends at schools.
3:45 p.m.Get Chelsie ready for her shower, I will take a little break to do some chores before continue with my work.
4:00 p.m.Snack time and rest time for Chelsie. I will take a little break and do some simple exercise. 
5:00 p.m.Continue with work (sometimes helping Chelsie with her ‘homework’ from me)
6:30 p.m.My husband cooks dinner so it helps a lot. I don’t have to think about what to cook and I can concentrate on my work. Have a quick dinner and will do the washing. 
8:00 p.m.Back to work
10:30 p.m.Final check with the work mailbox and note things down that I need to attend to the next workday. 
11:00 p.m.Off to shower and get ready for bed.

Working from home during COVID-19

Yee-Min’s been seeing out COVID-19 shelter in place orders from her home in Sydney. She says working from home has mostly prepared her for a socially distanced life but juggling her normal workload with her nine year old Chelsie’s schoolwork was definitely a challenge. 

“The schools are still open but they encouraged the students to stay home to learn if they can,” she says.  

Yee-Min with her mom and Chelsie on a snow trip to Mount Selwyn

Yee-Min switched up her hours to try and fit in focussed work time around Chelsie’s work schedule, but it’s still not easy. 

“It’s very stressful,” she says. 

“I’ll be working and at the same time, I have to teach her things that she doesn’t understand. So my working time is stretching out.”

She tries to start work before Chelsie’s school day begins to at least get on top of the day’s priorities. 

“I try to work before she starts school, at least one hour before so that I can check all the emails and note down anything that’s really important,” she says. 

From there, she’ll work alongside Chelsie and take breaks to help her when she needs too. 

While it’s a difficult period, Yee-Min is still trying to maintain a positive outlook. 

“I’m lucky I’ve just had one child’s schedule to manage, I’m imagining if I had two or three at home the stress would be so much more!” she says laughing. 

“And this is the only time that I’ve had to stretch out my working hours, so I’m lucky there too.” 

Bree Cagiatti, July 2020

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