A screen grab of Robert Kelly's BBC interview that was interrupted by his two children.

Little did professor Robert Kelly know that when he sat down for a BBC interview via Skype from his home office, it would turn into an internet sensation. In a matter of seconds, his two young children wandered into the live interview before their mother dashed in to take them away. For many of the roughly 25 percent of employed Americans who work from home, the video captured the daily battle of conducting business in the most personal of spaces. In this hour, we look at the pluses and minuses of working from home and hear tips on how to do it more effectively. And we’d like to hear from you: what are the challenges you face as a remote employee? What’s made working from home successful for your company? Have you had a ‘BBC Dad’ moment?

Guests:
Jody Brettkelly, Oakland-based writer and blogger, aboutlastweekend.blogspot.com
Nancy Rothbard, professor and chair of Management Department, Wharton Business School

  • Noelle

    Don’t tell my boss: working at home means I can comment on Forum website!

  • Kevin Skipper

    I hope the BBC Dad was able to install a skylight or maybe some sun lamps. Looks like he’s suffering from melatonin deficiency. Nice haircut though. The “Draper” seems to work well for many.

  • Lydia Hailu

    There is also a hilarious spoof of the recent BBC video – mom vs. dad thing – how mom would handle the situation – she even defuses a bomb!, http://tinyurl.com/moevsf9

    • William – SF

      Finally, some real news!

      • Kevin Skipper

        Fake News is more like it. Turns out that this video was captured during Britain’s recent nanny strike. Caribbean and Eastern European au pairs are demanding rights and better treatment. BBC has been stalwart in covering up this embarrassing schism. “We raised the kids all by ourselves, this week!”

        Search the outtakes. This was the only take where Prof. R. Kelly’s martini is off-camera.

        • William – SF

          How dare you begrudge martinis!

          • Kevin Skipper

            Just the opposite. There were several successful run-throughs of the segment. The only one the kids ruined was the one without a cocktail in the shot. Go figure.

          • William – SF

            Hazards of sobriety?

          • Kevin Skipper

            I can’t call it. Drinks are great. I would caution straight men of color when consuming it in the company of passive-aggressive energy-starved millennial vampires. They stay hungry for blood and if left unfed are not above resorting to knee-jerk racism and alienating demonizations. Want proof? Got it on video last night. From Oakland to SF and beyond the bar scene is run by the eugenics mafia. Just like Glasgow and Belfast, ’tis.

  • William – SF

    Weren’t his kids just a different kind of peanut gallery?
    (Haven’t seen video …seemed like an missed Oprah/Ellen? moment that I would chose to miss.)

    • Kevin Skipper

      It’s actually cute. Especially when the mom bumps the stroller into the doorway.

      Ah, BBC. Way to give an idyllic view of Anglo-home life. We all know, if those parents would have been black…. WHOOO HOOO!!!! It would’ve been “Precious” meets “Dennis the Menace to Society” by “Moonlight” on the way to a “Monster’s Ball” and back in “The First 48” with special guest appreances by “Bebe’s Kids.” Written by the late great Bernie Mac.

  • Noelle

    I do think a lower status employee would get less slack and would not be seen as professional. Bottom line is getting the job done.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Ms Rothbard, I agree. Seems like this was considered cute because the video was about a man. Honestly, the mom saved the day.

  • Robert Thomas

    If one works with teams in widely dispersed timezones, such stuff happens not at all infrequently. While at home, I’ve attended to dozens of conference calls held at midnight or small hours of the morning – somewhere. Not every attendee can always be in a sterile office space.

    This is extremely common – if not often seen on television.

    This amounted to a slight, amusing distraction that any thoughtful person viewing will immediately have understood and dismissed as an everyday sort of thing.

    I don’t get the hubbub.

    • Kevin Skipper

      SHHH!!!!! It’s an hour long coffee-break tantamount to 15 cat videos or 1/3 of the average conference call. Don’t ruin it for everyone else. Let’s me, you and William go smoke this doobie and come up with a plan to free “Paul.”

      • Robert Thomas

        You’re right. Sorry.

    • Robert Thomas

      I recall a meeting a couple of years ago when the video conference was crashed by an enormous Maine Coon cat – a family member of one conferee – who jumped onto the kitchen table (where he apparently was NOT allowed) between the man and his laptop to demand a little attention. This elicited a few chuckles but not the laughter that followed when an eight year old boy, determined to alleviate the embarrassing situation, began trying to wrestle a very reluctant “Diesel” (who was about two-thirds the boy’s size) back off of the table.

      • William – SF

        WWF – always a high point.

  • Heidi Eliason Young

    I fear that one of your guests will give employers the wrong impression: Not everyone is on Facebook or has trouble focusing while working at home. I am more productive and less stressed when I don’t have to sit in traffic for two hours every day.

    • Noelle

      exactly!

    • Kevin Skipper

      Remember, this is about MEN’s inability to focus. Office “culture” used to include alcohol, coffee, cigarettes and other vital stress relievers. Without these, we need a virtual Ludovico treatment to get into “The Zone.” No wonder Man Jose looks like it does.

      Women work more and harder, we’re just spoiled and ultimately fooled by the grace and composure that make it all look easy. Men aren’t working harder. The vast majority of us are just acting more effeminate to compensate.

  • Renee Hildebrand

    When transitioning to a remote employee, I didn’t realize I would be apologizing (almost daily!) for my dog’s snoring in the background. Every meeting is prefaced with an explanation that I have a French Bulldog who snores quite loudly and assurances that it is not a person. Fortunately, I garner more laughs than ire. (And my sweet companion can stay by my side, where he belongs!)

    • Kevin Skipper

      Throw a tennis ball at his bottom. Works for mine when she starts sleep-barking. That reminds me, I left my doggie in the bath!

  • msfanglet

    I have worked from home for 8 yrs. I don’t get sick. I don’t take unscheduled time off. I don’t have to endure office gossip. I can spend WEEKS not hearing from my boss. I think the secret is to have an actual office work space. Keep the interaction with the dog/cat/kids/spouse to a minimum during work hours. My company says I’m much more productive than my in office counterparts.

    • msfanglet

      I can also take my work and go on extended visits with family and friends

  • Another Mike

    Even in the cubicle farm, co-workers can be distracting. One place I worked, they made noise-cancelling headphones available. But I would get the bulk of my work done after 6 pm, when most people took off. I think a blend of working with team members and working at home is best for productivity.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Some of us are too anti-social to even telecommute.

  • rose allen

    Seems to me that in the discussion of the video clip with kids intruding there is an elephant in the room. While there was some discussion of how it would be viewed depending on the gender of the person working, I did not hear anyone comment that there was a man working and a woman retrieving the kids and removing them from view. This rang all kind of bells in my consciousness. Did no one else notice?

  • Kevin Skipper

    If those kids were Mexican and they busted in on a landscaping video, would it still be funny or would we ask to see everyones papers?

    • William – SF

      So besides jails, court rooms, nanny hangouts, ICE can now troll home offices.

      • Kevin Skipper

        That’s what the military money is for. Neighborhood ICE patrols. I hear the Scotts Irish are among the groups that they plan to target. I am totally and completely against that.
        NIMGH Not In My Ghetto or Hood. Pilgrim Lives Matter

  • Gem Socks

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