It’s safe to say that none of us were ready for the widespread effects of the global pandemic, at least of all working parents with kids in school or daycare. Working from home is a challenge on a normal day (i.e. when no one else is home), but throw a couple of school-aged kids into the mix and it feels like an impossible feat. Here are some survival tips:
- Block Out Your Time. If possible, condense your work into blocks of time. For example, it’s easier to plan on working from 8 AM to 10 AM, 1 PM. to 3 PM, and 5 PM to 6 PM. It may be more productive to focus for two hours on work than when you try to multitask through interruptions and distractions for eight hours. Plus, it’ll be easier for your kids to get on board with respecting your work time if they know they’ll have your full attention at other times.
- Establish Work Space Boundaries. Whether you have a dedicated home office or not, you can establish physical “work” boundaries with your family members. If you don’t have an office space with a door, you can create a visual boundary, if needed. Reward kids when they respect your workspace so they pick up the habit faster.
- Know You’re Not Alone. Know that this situation isn’t unique to your family right now. Millions of people all over the country are unexpectedly working from home with their kids around, so be upfront and honest with your employer, clients, and coworkers about your work-from-home life. Confirm when you can be at your “desk” and what work you expect to complete each day. When you join a conference call, tell the other attendees your kids are home and they may hear background noises. Set clear boundaries about work hours and if you’re not planning to answer emails outside of normal business hours, say so.