Working from home? You’re not alone. Even before nationwide stay-home directives went into place, studies showed that 3.6 percent of the nation’s workforce, some five million employees, worked from home at least half the time. Those numbers have obviously increased substantially.
The newest change, prompted by the closure of school during this COVID-19 pandemic, is that moms and dads are now trying to work, conducting homeschool study sessions, and entertain their children, all at the same time. To help effectively balance this new home situation, here are four survival tips for ensuring productivity and civility.
1. Stick to a schedule.
For people new to working from home, the need to manage our schedule is a necessity. Luckily, pre-existing time-management skills will transfer into any work setting. The key is to start every day with a solid plan.
“Segment what you will do and when you will do it over the course of the day; provide yourself with breaks so that you are able to keep focused and avoid burnout,” says Bianca Miller Cole, a bestselling author.
2. Keep workspaces and hours sacred.
We all know that children are no respecters of space. They will seek to interrupt you at the most awkward times. Spouses, too, will often assume that since you are home, you are available to handle certain chores or tasks. During this time of remote work, it’s important to outline with your entire family designated work-only zones and specific work hours. This will help you, as a diligent employee, avoid distractions and unplanned interruptions.
3. Schedule adult “recess.”
Yes, you have work obligations, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to take breaks throughout the day; everyone deserves recess now and then. What traditionally might have been spent in coffee breaks in the breakroom or around the water cooler of your office should now be spent in some playtime with the kids. Grab some chalk and head outside for a game of hopscotch. Challenge your kids to a jump-rope competition. Or just sit outside near the pool and enjoy some fresh air for your lunch hour.
4. Practice patience.
We have reached a point where seeing children popping in and out of the background during video conference calls is almost expected. Now, more than ever, we must be understanding and patient when inevitable interruptions from little ones derail an important discussion. Remember, we are all in this together, doing the very best that we can under these unusual circumstances. Practice patience and embrace this new work-life balance routine.
Undoubtedly, working from home presents its challenges, all amplified when working alongside children. When we practice patience, plan for recess time, designate workspaces, and stick to a schedule, the rewards will prove positive and productive for everyone.