Industry Thoughts

Pandemic Parenting: Remote-first culture helps achieve work-life balance

October 3, 2022

minute read

  • David Burke
    VP of Engineering, Inscribe

For any new parent, receiving a text message from the crèche (daycare) can set off a wave of anxiety.

That was the case for me in 2021, when my son Bobby’s caretakers sent a message letting families know that their facility would be closed immediately and potentially indefinitely.

As my wife, Ciara, and I scrambled to make alternative arrangements for the coming days and secure a more long-term solution, our stress levels — already raging in the middle of the pandemic —  hit a new high. And yet, we couldn’t help but think how lucky we were. Both of us had jobs that allowed us to work remotely and schedules that allowed some level of flexibility. For us, a sudden lack of childcare was a major inconvenience but not quite a full-blown emergency.

How remote-first organizations set people up for success 

The flexibility of working for a remote-first company is something that I was extremely grateful for last year and something that I continue to value to this day. For example, just last month, as record heat waves swept over most of Europe (yes, it was relatively hot for Ireland too!), I considered it a real perk that I was able to work from the comfort of my home office, fan running at full speed in clothes that I usually reserve for sport. When my final meeting of the day wrapped up just after 6 p.m., instead of packing into a sweltering tram, I just stepped outside my back door, turned on the hose, and filled up a small pool. Bobby and I spent what should have been my travel time a little more enjoyably – and, dare I say, wisely. 

As someone who became a parent during the pandemic, I have come to realize that there is a finite window within each day to spend true quality time with young children. The waking hours are few and if you want to spend an hour swimming or building or wrestling with your child, then you need to work around their schedule. Landing a slot on a busy founder’s calendar might be hard, but finding time that works for an infant is even harder.

 I, personally, am so thankful that during the first few years of Bobby’s life I was able to spend quantifiably more time (and more quality time) with him. I’m grateful that I got to be there for the milestones that so many parents miss – the first words, the first steps, the first time he threw a tantrum because he didn’t like his lunch. People often say that no one regrets not working more; that they won’t remember the fire drill project that made them miss a milestone at home. But, actually, I think the opposite is true: You will always remember the meeting that made you miss the moments that matter.

 To be clear, working remotely doesn’t mean that I bow out of calls or slink off during the day whenever something more interesting is happening down the hall. But it affords me a little bit of extra flexibility within my day so that I can maximize my time at home; it means that I can skip hours of commuting time and instead focus on my family and my health; it means that I can plan my day in a way that works for me and adjust it if and when that plan goes awry. 

As an employee at a remote-first company like Inscribe, I believe all employees — be them fellow parents, dog moms, hobbyists, athletes, artists, or part-time students — benefit from this flexibility and use it to live fuller, more balanced lives. 

Why Inscribe is a remote-first organization 

Our leadership team has selected some of the brightest, most ambitious, and creative minds in their respective fields; we aren’t so naïve to think that they need to be in an office to access their talent. We don’t require them to turn on at 9 and turn off at 6. We don’t dictate when, where or how people work. In fact, we believe that putting walls – physical or metaphorical – around our workforce stymies the creativity, passion, and energy that we need to keep our startup growing.

I believe it is a testament to our co-founders, CEO Ronan Burke and CTO Conor Burke (no, we’re not related), that they recognized this important shift in what the modern workforce wants, needs, and expects. Prior to the pandemic, Inscribe operated as a typical startup with many of our employees sharing space in Dublin and San Francisco. Certainly, there were efficiencies to be had working in a traditional way, especially in those early days. But now, the world has changed – and people are different too. While some members of our team may enjoy having a separate space dedicated to work, the majority favor the freedom and flexibility of working from anywhere. 

I’m proud to work for a company that was brave enough to learn from experience and choose to value results and outcomes over rooms and hours. More broadly, the decision to shift to a remote-first model demonstrates that Inscribe is willing to experiment and evolve. It shows that our leadership team is capable of critical thinking and bold enough to take decisive action. "We're kind" is one of our company values and I believe it can be seen in this decision. By allowing people to work from anywhere, our company is recognizing how important flexibility is for attracting and retaining the people we need to fulfill our mission.

 As a company, I believe we will continue to make the decisions that will create an inclusive, engaging, and empowered environment for our employees and that our clients and partners will reap the benefits of being served by a workforce that is set up for success. Because the reality is work from anywhere seems to be better for everyone.

Ready to join a remote-first organization that offers flexibility and values kindness? Browse our open positions today.

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