While many have already received a dose of the vaccine or two, COVID-19 is still very much everywhere. Many people would not want to stop using masks despite getting vaccinated, still want to do some extra sanitizing or disinfecting, and would still prefer to continue working from home. Many schools have reopened, but that doesn't mean the kids no longer have an opportunity to get in the way of you and your productivity. If working remotely, you're investing most of your focus, time, and energy at home.
If you find yourself in this position, you can be frustrated and exhausted as you try to balance parenting, work, and everything else on your schedule. It's time to pause, take a deep breath, and devise a strategy. While it can be tough to be efficient when working from home with family, there are steps you can take. It is achievable to work from home with children while being productive! The key is to be optimistic and take charge.
Here are some ideas that might be useful:
The reality is that you will not accomplish as much as is expected in an office setting, so don't be too harsh on yourself or feel guilty. Set reasonable expectations to everyone who might be affected by this type of work setup:
● If you aren't truthful and rational with yourself about what you can and can't do in this new setting, you'll end up establishing unrealistic standards for the people in your life. When it comes to parenting, give yourself some leniency. Don't be too concerned if your children are spending more time on screens than usual; it might be important for them to get through the day. Allowing them a few more special pleasures does not imply that you are a terrible parent. It means you're doing everything you can to get through these trying times.
● It is preferable to be upfront about new limits on your ability than to drop the ball and then justify later. Hopefully, the management would be compassionate and supportive, but even if not, an early warning is the best way to go. Inform the manager so that they know that there can be some disruptions with calls – or that you can need extended deadlines. If you're freelancing, If you believe you will be able to finish something by Wednesday, inform your client on Friday instead. You'll have extra time if you need it, and if you finish by Thursday, you'll be earlier than scheduled rather than behind. This strategy is known as “under-promise and over-deliver.”
● Depending on their ages, your children may understand why you cannot be available to them at all times. Give them an idea of when you will be available and keep them occupied while you're not, such as school tasks, snacks, or a timeframe for how much time you need. A shared family calendar will help everyone know what they are supposed to be doing if your children have devices. Include critical work hours, family fun times, chores, and everything else you want your children to be aware of. A simple chart or spreadsheet will help everyone understand when work time is essential and what things can be more flexible. Something much more straightforward, particularly if you have small children, could work much better for your family. Ask them to assist you in creating a "Today" checklist of items you all want to do, and have them cross each one off as you go.
To keep your kids occupied, here are some suggested activities:
3-7 years old
● educational phone or tablet apps
● a cardboard box as a spaceship, house, etc.
● live to stream of zoos or aquariums
● trampoline, swing, or jump rope
● drawing, painting, and coloring materials
8 years old to teen years
● free streaming books
● science experiments
● cooperative games that involve socializing, strategic thinking, and storytelling
● coding lessons online
● website creation or editors
● other interests
Start working early or late.
Make the most of the time your children are sleeping. If you have older children who want to sleep in, get up before them and do some work first thing in the morning. If you have young children who go to bed early, your best working hours will be in the evening. If your children have been playing energetic games all morning, they might be ready for a nap in the afternoon.
Working at home with children is no exception; what works presently will not work tomorrow. You would be less frustrated if you plan to remake the schedule and play with new concepts rather than rigidly adhering to the "best" method. Take a moment to reflect on what succeeded and what didn't, and determine if you need to pursue a new approach the next day.
Keeping your children cooped up inside would only make them more agitated. Wild children will soon be hitting the walls and becoming gradually noisy and chaotic. Instead, go outside and run around in the backyard. Play games that require many physical efforts, such as tag, sports, or races. The key is to have them all tired and worn out to be more relaxed for the rest of the day. You might also notice that they fall asleep sooner, giving you more time to work.
Do small tasks.
Divide work into small tasks that you can complete while the kids watch TV or sleep. You will not be able to work on a big project uninterrupted for three hours, but you will be able to finish chunks of work during the day. Focusing on one task at a time holds you more accountable and reduces the amount of time you waste procrastinating. Many individuals find that a job that would have taken them an hour to complete when they were unfocused can be accomplished in 25 minutes.
Have a well-defined office space.
Work in a room where you can shut the door and tell your kids not to bug you. It could be a selected home office or just a spare bedroom with a desk. The most critical aspect is to have a lock on the entrance. When your children are old enough to play unmonitored, advise them that they can only knock on your office door in an urgent situation.
It is also essential to consider how you set up your home office. Working on a bed or chair that's too comfortable is a major no-no. There's a chance that work time could inadvertently turn into nap time. A sit-stand desk will help you concentrate while still avoiding back and neck pain. FlexiSpot should be able to supply you with your standing desk preferences. Whether you prefer a particular finish to go with your chair or room, a desk size that would fit your space, or even the type of material or wood you would like to blend in with your home office theme, FlexiSpot may have the suitable standing desk for you!
I know we've mentioned not to get a chair that's too comfy, and we'd like to be clear that instead, it should be comfortable enough not to cause you discomfort or even pain in the long run. Consider using ergonomic chairs designed to provide lumbar support, neck, shoulder, and back comfort. If you wish to move quite a bit more than just relying on your sit-stand desk to remind you to stand up, a desk chair can assist you with working out and working simultaneously! FlexiSpot has these chairs, as well as ergonomic stools that promote active sitting.
Take turns with your partner or spouse.
Things would be much better if you have a partner who can assist with childcare. You can discover that alternating your work schedule is the most effective approach. Take turns working and looking after the kids, giving each adult time to focus solely on work. If you or your spouse want to work without disruption, the other will take the children outside to play or for a walk. This method of coordination is important when finding out how to work from home with children.
Invest in self-care.
Investing in your own mental and physical wellbeing is not selfish; it is doing what is necessary to prepare yourself to be the person your family and employer expectations of you. Allow yourself time to make a cup of tea.