6 Essential Tips For Working from Home
We’re all adjusting to a ‘new normal’ during the COVID19 lockdown and for those of us working from home while also having to juggle the needs of children and pets in tow, it can be a particularly tricky time.
Whilst working remotely has its benefits, such as a temporary pause of the inevitably frantic morning scramble of all working parents, it comes with the challenge of balancing work responsibilities with keeping kids occupied or home schooled and the four-legged family member’s need for a walk.
So, here are our top work from home tips for ticking all the work boxes and keeping your stress levels and sanity in check:
Stick to your usual routine and set the rules
Though it may be tempting to stay in your pyjamas until your first Skype or Microsoft Teams meeting, wake up at the time you usually would, get dressed and get the kids up and ready too.
Establish a consistent routine that everyone works to. This includes a daily schedule of activities, schoolwork, outdoor, meal and TV/screen time. With that in place, everyone can go about their day with some structure – even though despite best intentions, it won’t always go to plan!
Create a dedicated workstation
Be organised and you’ll feel organised.
Create a space where you can set yourself up with all that you need to be productive and one that is preferably away from main living areas which will be a distraction (and increase the chance of your kids bombing your next video conference call).
Set up the perfect home office with our range of office chairs, desks, bookcases and storage.
Get a space sorted for the kids too, where all their activities, toys and school needs are set up. They then have everything they need to stay occupied in one place, limiting the regular requests to haul out that special colouring book or look for a game they’re unable to find. The bonus of a dedicated space is it goes some way in stopping the house looking like a complete disaster zone by the end of the day.
For more tips, read our article on getting your workstation working right.
As challenging as it can be some days, make time to assist with your child’s home-schooling tasks. Understand what is expected of them and figure out how that can be achieved based on what’s going to work best for you, your child and family routine.
Don’t be hard on yourself! There’s no right or wrong way.
Mix it up
Possibly the single most challenging thing for parents working from home, is the fraught negotiation around screen time and keeping kids off devices all day.
Pick out a range of age appropriate activities like arts and crafts, puzzles, board games and Lego to keep them busy – get some inspiration here. If you must give in to the iPad for some limited time, there are a range of excellent online sites which combine activity and learning such as Disney Family, Mathletics or National Geographic Kids.
Encourage children to help out around the house and contribute to chores like tidying their rooms, feeding the pets, packing away toys and activities and clearing the table after meals. A reward scheme or the promise of additional pocket money will work wonders!
Take a break
Build in break times with your kids where you can just take a short time out do something together, like have lunch or simply talk. It’s a good opportunity to check in on how they are doing – and for you to step away from your inbox and pinging phone.
Shake off cabin fever and get out. Try and do something active each day. If the weather allows, get outdoors with the kids and go for a bike ride or walk in your neighbourhood. It’s a great way to draw a breath, clear your head and get the kids moving too.
Stay connected – to others and yourself
At a time when we are interacting more remotely and terms like social distancing and isolation is now commonplace, it’s easy to feel disconnected.
Your kids will be feeling that too, being isolated from their friends and classmates.
An important part of easing the stress of adjusting to the new way we are living and working - and the juggle of it all - is to stay connected.
Make time to keep in touch with extended family and friends through video calls using Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp or Zoom.
Set up the kids to do the same with their friends.
Finally, find a moment for yourself and do something you enjoy and that will help you relax, refocus and reset.