How Flexible Schedules Help Wrike's Working Parents Make It Work

Do you ever wonder how working parents balance raising children and working full time? It can require quite a juggling act. For these three working parents at Wrike, flexible scheduling and remote work have made all the difference.

Over the last few years, the obstacles facing working parents have come to the forefront. More parents are taking advantage of the flexible work schedules that became prevalent through the pandemic. 

We interviewed three parents who work at Wrike to discover how they leverage flexible schedules to do their jobs and raise their children. You might even pick up a few tips on maximizing hybrid work you can incorporate into your own parenting life. 

Remote working eliminated one mom’s commute

Customer success manager Shawnee Michalski is a Wrike veteran, having joined the team in 2015 — long before her twin girls arrived on the scene last July. Before the pandemic, Shawnee commuted an hour each way to get to the Wrike office. Now, she works remotely full-time and regains those commuting hours to spend with her girls. 

Shawnee is based in California but works with customers on the East Coast: “Wrike allows me to work East Coast hours, but I'm on Pacific time, so I can get up early before the girls are awake and start my day.” Shawnee and her husband, who works in construction, rely on a nanny to take care of the one-year-olds during the day while they work. 

“I have a nanny who comes to the house every day to watch them. I save time because I don’t have to drive them to daycare or prepare their meals. It’s also a win to have them at home because they are only exposed to the nanny and tend to get sick less often. There are a lot of benefits to daycare and we will go that route when they are older, but making it work for us right now is having them at home with a nanny.”

“It’s just nice being able to get up early, start working, and have the nanny come take care of them. On my lunch break, I can spend time with them, so they see me a little bit.”

Working from home with a nanny watching over her girls means Shawnee has to make sure she has a space that’s separate from the kids. 

“With the kids at home, I do have to make accommodations, such as wearing a headset for my calls and making sure my office is prepared for the day with everything I need. I have to create strict boundaries and only come out of my office for my lunch break otherwise the kids will be upset if I pop in for a few minutes, then need to return to work. Also, sticking with a routine has really helped the kids know what to expect on work days and makes life easier for all of us.”

The early start means Shawnee and her husband can spend more time with the twins later in the day. “Their dad works and comes home by the time they wake up from their nap,” she said, “Then we’re both home with them, and we can have our evenings as a family.”

“Wrike gives me the ability to manage my day and my customers with what works best for everyone.”

A hybrid work schedule allows this dad to cook for his kids

As a dad to a five-year-old, a two-year-old, and a six-month-old, Shane Tallon has his hands full. The solutions architect for Wrike has a hybrid schedule that allows him to cook meals for his household, heading into the Wrike office two days each week.

“Breakfast is generally just cereal, but I make lunch, I make dinner. They may only be five and two, but they always ask, Dad, what are we having for dinner? They’re interested in what they’re getting fed, which I think is something we’ve tried to instill in them from a very early age. Traditional Irish, Indian, Chinese, or Italian, they’ve always been fed what we eat.” 

Shane took parental leave when his youngest child was born and said getting back into the swing of things took a bit of time. “It took a couple of days for the brain to really kick into gear. I’m the senior tech resource in the Dublin office. People come to me with questions, and normally I'd be able to answer the question quite quickly. This time I had to hop on a Zoom call so I could walk through the steps with the person. It took about a week to get used to the systems again.” 

That experience gave him a better appreciation for those returning from parental leave: “It’s not something I would have noticed in female colleagues coming back off maternity leave, but it certainly gives you an appreciation for the amount of time it can take to get your head back into gear after time off parenting.”

On the days Shane heads into the Wrike office, he makes sure to set his family up with sustenance. “I don’t do a packed lunch for them, but I’ll buy some ready-made stuff,” he said, “I try to do as much as I can to take care of them.” Sometimes that means a couple of snacks stolen from the Wrike office to bring home to his kids. Chocolate raisins are quite a hit! 

A flexible schedule provides more quality family time

As VP of Global New Business Sales, Donnacha Friel relies on calendar management to ensure he can spend time with his three kids. “It’s about prioritizing and managing your calendar in such a way that there are blocks of time that are non-negotiable. I coach my older boys’ soccer team, and they train once a week on a Thursday evening. I have that blocked on my calendar.” 

Donnacha has seen a big shift in the post-pandemic era that allows him to get more quality family time with his wife and kids, ages nine, seven, and four. 

“I’m in the office 70% of the time and working from home 30%. I’m fortunate in that I only live 20 minutes from the office, so I’m able to have meal times — breakfast and a lot of dinners at home with the family. If any positives have come out of COVID, it’s these kinds of small things. Prior to this, I never would have had any meals with them. That flexibility has really helped with my relationship with the kids, actually.”

“My partner and I have to juggle it between ourselves, so if my wife has something really important, I have to be flexible for her as well,” Donnacha explained. Part of that flexibility comes from the Wrike culture. 

“We’re really fortunate in Wrike that everybody understands the importance of school functions and other events that take place outside of work. It’s really important, particularly as leaders in this company, that when people have engagements outside of work that are equally important as their work life, we need to be flexible in that. It’s part of being a well-balanced person.”

Another piece of that flexibility comes from using Wrike itself. “The beauty of Wrike is that we do have fewer meetings, there’s more visibility into what you’re doing, and there’s an added accountability piece. You can give status updates within Wrike, and they’re visible for everyone.” 

Using Wrike to enable working parents to succeed

We’re thrilled that Wrike employees can leverage flexible work schedules to help them balance their work and personal lives. If you’re interested in helping your team become more fulfilled employees, it’s time for a Wrike free trial.

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