With the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic and our compliance to social distancing guidelines, many of us have transformed our homes into offices. Your home is an oasis, except when you are forced to mix your personal life with your professional life. Schools may have opened last June, but some rotate between online and on-campus lessons. It is a gradual transition that comes with the new normal.
The “no kids allowed in the office” rule no longer applies to us. Employees and business owners are now juggling their household duties with their workplace tasks. Some find it a struggle to create a peaceful environment free from the distractions created by their children, pets, or younger siblings. Just take a look at the video below!
TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN
It is important to talk to your children about what is happening around them. Ensure that you are explaining the situation at an age-appropriate level. Some children may understand the safety restrictions, while others may see the pandemic as an unreasonable limitation.
Explain to them that we are looking out for each other during this pandemic. Part of how we help each other right now is by staying at home. Sometimes, a change in perception is all that we need.
ESTABLISH A SCHEDULE
One of the benefits of working at home is flexibility. Write down your priorities for the day and set them within your working hours. If you’re married, you may explore alternating schedules in coordination with your partner and your children. This will help you manage your household chores and office tasks accordingly.
Have an agreed schedule with your employer to ensure that you are filling in the required number of hours per day. Given that most of us work from home, some employers may understand the need for non-traditional schedules.
FOCUS ON YOUR PRIORITIES
Prioritize your work by accomplishing important tasks first. There will be interruptions along the way and it will take longer than usual. This is why you accomplish urgent tasks in the morning and save the minor tasks later in the day.
Avoid unexpected yells and loud noises in the background by hitting the mute button during conference calls. Toddlers will not understand that they cannot always have your undivided attention. If your toddler seeks your attention during a business call, you may ask to reschedule if you can. Minor tasks such as replying to client comments on social media may be done while your children are sleeping.
CREATE SNACK AND PLAY STATION
Find a spacious corner in your home and assign that as the “snack and play station”. Prepare a bunch of snacks and drinks for your children and instruct them on how much they can consume per day. Aside from this, you may let your child’s creativity run wild through free-play. Provide books, art materials, and other learning materials such as puzzles and blocks within this station.
Tackle your workload while your kids are having fun and playing safely on the corner.
PLAN FOR INTERRUPTIONS
Think of alternative strategies to minimize the disruptions from your family members. Firstly, you can take advantage of naptime. Do bulk of your heavy tasks during this time. Whether your child sleeps for one to three hours, use this time to complete tasks that seek your focus and concentration.
You may also setup a virtual meeting between your children and your relatives while you work. Ask a friend or a family member for a favor to teach your children a new skill while they are chatting online. Connecting your children to their friends and their grandparents through Skype, Zoom, or Facetime can be helpful to their well being too.
SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Let us face it! There are no professional advantages to pretending things are the way they used to be. Reduce your anxiety and manage everyone’s expectations by being honest with your coworkers. Tell them what is going on in your home office.
Similarly, you must be honest with yourself when it comes to your abilities in handling your children. You cannot turn into a good teacher overnight. Be patient with yourself and your children throughout the process.