As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, professionals who are used to working 9-5 in an office are suddenly faced with the reality of a new normal - working from home.
Boris Johnson placed the UK on lockdown, meaning that bars and restaurants are now closed while people have been asked to avoid all non-essential travel and work from home when possible to help slow the spread of the virus.
Additionally, schools across the country have closed their doors to most children, with the exception of key workers children, meaning that the majority of families are now going to be spending huge amounts of time stuck in the house together — working, home-schooling, entertaining, etc.
For many, working from home seems ideal. However, the reality of having to juggle work commitments and a hectic family life all at once can prove to be quite the challenge!
Tori, our Head of Social here at WorkClub has pieced together a few tips and tricks she has up her sleeve when working from home with kids. In her case, working from home with a very cheeky 7-month old baby girl.
Communicate a plan
In a household with both kids and parents doing their best to maintain a semi-normal lifestyle, it’s important to be realistic about your working situation and the strength it will take to succeed – and that means taking time to explain what’s happening to your kids.
Scheduling is hugely important, but when it comes to setting out your timetable, don’t try to mimic your exact day at the office. Why? The current times have changed and it’s important for both you and your kids to acknowledge that. Instead, create a daily plan for the entire family that includes work and school schedules, and make it easily visible to everyone.
Take advantage of nap-time
Take advantage of nap time for staying productive while working from home. Whether your kid sleeps for 30-minutes or 3-hours, use this time to finish tasks that require your complete focus and concentration. Pro tip — schedule your work-related phone calls that you don’t want to be disrupted during this time.
Separate your parent-role and your business-role
If you don't learn to keep your roles as a parent and a professional separate, giving each your full concentration for a set amount of time, you'll never feel like you're doing either well — and we all know that feeling all too well. To separate mentally from the rest of the house, set up an office area. Create a kid-free zone that allows you to separate yourself from the chaos that awaits you once you finish your work. Plus, if you can’t see those dirty onesies on the floor, you’re less inclined to switch mom-mode on and start cleaning.
Plan for interruptions
Every work-from-home-parent can relate to this one — you’re on an important conference call and your little one wants to read a book or has suddenly realised he/she is hungry. Uh-oh. Your colleagues are left listening to to an unhappy little one in the background of the call. Pro tip? Hit the mute button ahead of each call so when s*** hits the fan, you’re well ahead of the game.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
You may think working at home means you can skip out on childcare, however, you will have days when you need help — and that’s totally fine (as long as you or your sitter aren't under self-quarantine).
Your significant other can also be a great source of support. Swap kid-duty based off of each other’s schedules. Once he/she is finished with their work, they can take the kids to the park and get dinner sorted while you finish off with your work-related tasks. Alternatively, have your partner help with bedtime — you can easily fit in an hour of work before the kids start screaming for you.
Juggling work and childcare is an intense but survivable experience. Many remote workers successfully navigate this reality every day. While your situation is different from families who regularly work at home, you can build a temporary structure for your circumstances. With a little bit of planning, lots of discussion, and an adaptable attitude, you’ll be able to better weather your COVID-19 stint at home with the kids.