Teknoware's mothers take care of things despite the exceptional conditions

There is hardly any person or job in Finland that has not been affected by corona. Although our everyday lives have changed radically from what we are used to, we have to make things work. Like others, Teknoware has also been rocked by corona, but production continues on a strong footing, almost the same as before, and lighting and electronics leave from Lahti every day to be shipped all over the world. Nearly half of our approximately 300 employees in Lahti are women and many of them are mothers. We interviewed three of them to find out what their work and everyday life has been like during the exceptional conditions.

Päivi Jukakoski is a mother of four who works in the metal department of Teknoware. Light products are made by hand in the production facilities, so remote working has not been an option for Jukakoski. Her husband also works in production at Teknoware. After the closure of schools due to corona, the daily life of the family had to be rethought. ”This has definitely required quite a bit of scheduling. After breakfast, I leave for work with my husband and we take our youngest one to the day care centre. Primary school children are instructed in their tasks, but of course we are in touch by phone whenever necessary”, Jukakoski describes her daily routines during corona. At lunchtime, the family gathers to eat together at their home, which is a five-minute drive from work. In the end, after a tiny initial shock, everyday life has been almost normal.



 

In Lammi, about 40 kilometres from Lahti, Sonja Kuusanmaa's family has had a slightly different everyday life in the recent months, since the whole family has been at home. Sonja has recently returned from parental leave to Teknoware's documentation team and normally she commutes to Lahti for work. Kuusanmaa's children are two and five years old, and she is still on partial nursing leave. Both parents are working remotely, and during the exceptional circumstances Kuusanmaa has switched from working four days per week to working six hours a day. This way our everyday life works better. “After breakfast, the kids are playing and it’s easy to get work done. At ten in the morning there is a kids’ programme on Yle Areena called “Jyrkin ja Neposen hätäaputoimisto” that has really helped me to work”, Kuusanmaa describes her daily rhythm and continues: “After lunch it’s nap time for the kids and after that it’s already time for me to finish work, at half past two more or less."

 

Päivi Tuhkio, who works in Teknoware's marketing and communications team, has been working remotely for a couple of months soon. Tuhkio's husband and their three children have also been at home. Creating an entirely new everyday life started with practical activities, such as putting together workspaces at home for Päivi and her husband, as well as their two school-age children. The games and tasks of the youngest child, a daycare-age child, also had to be planned. It has been helpful for the family to have a family timetable, great distance teaching on behalf of the school, as well as good opportunities for outdoor activities and nice weather. “Finding daily routines to make everything work did require some patience and imagination in the beginning. Lately I have started working while the kids are still sleeping and then finished a bit earlier. The food is prepared in advance and the children spend a lot of time outdoors. Luckily the siblings have kept each other company and the school kids have taken turns in playing with the youngest one and coming up with things to do together”, says Tuhkio.

 

Great longing

Although work and everyday lives have gone well in the families of these three mothers, there have also been some hardships. Children's hobbies as well as visits to friends and loved ones have been ruled out. We have started to miss our parents and grandparents a lot, and explaining the situation to small children has proved difficult: they can’t comprehend what’s happening and how serious this is. Kuusanmaa and Tuhkio are grateful to the employer for the opportunity to work remotely, but good remote connections can’t make up for real-life connections. ”I miss my colleagues and the coffee breaks”, Tuhkio says. Social distancing has also affected the school-age children. Friends and the school environment no longer seem like this mandatory obligation, and there have been some signs of revolt. There have also been some particularly racking situations in the recent months: “We haven’t been able to see my old grandmother who has been hospitalized. The uncertainty, sadness and worry we feel is huge”, Jukakoski says sadly.

Surprising situations

When you have kids, life is never monotonously grey. Surprising and funny situations liven up everyday life on a daily basis. Tuhkio describes a scene that she experienced recently during an online meeting: “I thought I heard the door of the office being opened and someone entering the room. Suddenly I saw my five-year-old son standing next to me, fully dressed up as Darth Vader, with a light sword in his hand. I had some explaining to do in the online meeting after suddenly bursting into laughter.” During an online meeting, Kuusanmaa has received a drawing on her desk with a brown “pile emoji” with texts that suited the situation. Jukakoski, on the other hand, tells us about making some extra phone purchases after her 11-year-old tested the waterproofness of her own mobile phone in the “palju” hot tub, with bad success.

Everything is fine

The mothers we interviewed tell us that the everyday life during corona has not changed the basics of life or motherhood. “This has been different, for sure. But on the other hand I have been able to spend more time with the kids”, Jukakoski sums up the last months. The basic things in life, such as our health and loved ones, may have become even more important to us. “Now, if not before, we are really learning to appreciate what we have. We are doing just fine, really, it’s just all very strange. We are in good health and our work at Teknoware will not end”, Kuusanmaa sums up the thoughts of all three women.