Disclosure: collaborative post
To help slow down the spread of Covid-19, many parents are now being encouraged to work from home, mixing their work and home-lives under a single roof. For parent’s who are not used to working from home and with many schools now closing to limit the spread of the virus too, this can seem like a very daunting prospect. The good news is that many parents balance working from home on a daily basis, and although challenging, it can be done. So if you’ve found yourself at home trying to work around your little ones, then here are some tips to keep you organised and productive.
Create yourself a workspace
If you don’t have one already, then one of the first things you should do is to set yourself up with a dedicated workspace. Of course, not everyone has a spare office in their house, but even commandeering a space at the kitchen table as a makeshift desk or setting yourself up in the corner of the living room will provide you with at least some segregation of work and play. Obviously, if you can, then having your work set-up in a separate, quieter room such as a spare bedroom, will help but the key thing here is just having a comfortable space where you can work from and where you can begin to set down some working from home roots.
Set yourself some working hours
Setting working hours is essential for all individuals that work from home and helps to ensure that you get your work done in a timely manner and then still have downtime during the day. Many businesses are sympathetic to the difficulties that parents are now facing in light of school closures and some are even offering more flexible working hours to enable their staff to work around their children’s schedules. If you haven’t already then it may be worth discussing flexi-time options with your employer as this may help you cover childcare arrangements, especially if combined with the flexible hours of your partner.
Try to maintain a sense of structure
Setting yourself working hours is the start to maintaining structure, but also try to schedule in regular breaks including time for lunch. Although you may want to grab productive work hours as and when they crop up, you also want to ensure that you are taking time to look after yourself.
Manage your expectations
Working from home with children is hard work, there’s no doubt about it, and you need to adjust your expectations. Whereas in the office you may have put in several hours of solid work at a time, now you will likely need to work in smaller bursts and to be more adaptable throughout the day. Manage your own expectations so that you don’t feel like you are failing, but also be sure to communicate clearly with your employer the challenges you will be facing.
Try to find support
Although it isn’t always possible to find childcare support, we would be lying if we didn’t say that it sure does help. Even if a family member could just keep an eye on the children for an hour or so a day, or you could hire a babysitter for a few hours a week, this will help you get your head down uninterrupted. It’s highly likely that other parents are currently in the same situation as you are, and even just having a sympathetic ear to talk to can make your frustrations feel heard.
If you’re working from home then the last thing you need is paperwork cluttering up your home, especially with wandering hands that may be waiting to help you misplace them. Try to go paperless and stay digital as much as possible. In the world of business, this s called a ‘digital transformation’ and you can read more about it here – https://www.intellectsoft.net/blog/what-is-digital-transformation/
Mindfully enjoy the time with your children
Finally, although you may not be able to be as productive as you once were, and there will be times throughout the day where your child’s needs will need to come first, it’s important to sit back and to appreciate how special it is to get to see more of your family and to have more of a presence during their day. The Covid-19 outbreak won’t last forever and before too long you may be back in the office and spending a large portion of your day away from your loved ones. So although it may be hard to maintain the same level of work efficiency over the next few weeks, take the time to sit back and enjoy the little things that may crop up throughout the day. And then have a large glass of wine, you deserve it.