- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
The world has seen some radical changes in recent months, causing many of us to relocate our office desk to our kitchen table. While this may be a cakewalk for some people, anyone with kids will tell you what a challenge it’s been to work from home.
If you’re not properly prepared, this can prove to be a living nightmare. With all of the new rules that have suddenly been thrust upon us, finding the time to streamline your home/work-life can easily get lost in the shuffle.
But fear not, for there is hope. By following a few simple tips, your newly-relocated job can be less hectic – and less stressful. Let’s explore how you can start making immediate changes to your schedule for a better work-from-home experience.
GET CREATIVE WITH CHILDCARE
In light of social distancing, it may not be as easy as it once was to find a sitter for your child. You can always try to enlist the help of neighbors or older siblings. But that isn’t a sure bet for many folks. You need to start thinking outside of your normal circle – perhaps someone in your church, for example.
Chances are, however, that the majority of the elderly are out of the question, given the current circumstances. This is where technology is incredibly useful. Think about ways to implement virtual childcare while you work.
It may seem a little odd at first. But after a while, you can learn how to separate your time for things like lunch and potty breaks. The rest of the time, you can focus on work while a sitter keeps an eye on your child via webcam.
With a little practice and trial and error, you can develop a well-oiled machine of virtual childcare with someone you know and trust.
KEEP COMMUNICATION OPEN
Let’s face it, you aren’t the only one struggling with trying to balance childcare and work from home. If you take the time to regularly discuss your expectations with your boss, you’ll find that your work will go much smoother.
Set expectations with your job so that they know what to, well, expect. There may be some days that you aren’t able to complete as much work as you can on others. And you know what? That’s alright. Until things get back to normal – or you’re able to establish a system that works – there are going to be hiccups here and there.
But if you don’t say anything, your boss will assume that everything is fine on your end and won’t be too happy when you fall behind on your workflow. It pays to keep the lines of communication open; perhaps now more than ever.
DEVELOP UNSUPERVISED ACTIVITIES
If you aren’t able to immediately get someone to care for your child, you need to start thinking about things they can do that don’t necessitate your watchful eye. This requires some careful planning, as you don’t want to leave your little one out of sight for too long.
Depending on their age, your child may be able to be left alone longer than others. Establish activities centered on their age, and be sure that you are able to check in on them often.
With any job, it can be easy to lose track of time and become engrossed in your work. So before you get busy, set several alarms on your phone at the beginning of the day. This will ensure that you always take the time to follow up on your little one.
One great way to keep tabs on your child while you work from home is to set up cameras all throughout your home. This way you can keep a TV or monitor open next to your computer or laptop. You will always know everything that your child is doing, even when they aren’t in the same room as you.
This is an investment, for sure. But if you want to ensure that you are able to get as much work done as possible, it’s an investment that will pay for itself many times over.
You might want to consider a virtual sitter in conjunction with this system. This will free up more time for you to focus on your work.
Your kids are going to assume that they have free rein of the house. This is to be expected. But if you take the time to have a conversation with your children about the importance of working in peace, you stand a much better chance of being able to work uninterrupted.
After your talk, show them which area or areas are off-limits while you are working. It likely won’t happen overnight, but after some patience and practice, you will find yourself able to get more work completed throughout the day.
You might want to consider a rewards system for allowing you to work without interruptions. And don’t forget to convey the biggest reward of all: after you’re finished working, you will be able to spend time with them.
MAKE THE MOST OF BEING AT HOME
Remember, you’re working from the comforts of your own home now! You can stop as much or as little as you want (as long as your work gets finished, of course). Take the time to walk around, play with your kids, and just unwind.
This will go a long way in keeping you from getting stressed out. And if you can establish a set schedule throughout the day, all the better. Not only will you benefit from it, but your kids will, as well.
Having to suddenly work from home can be stressful. Having kids running around while you’re trying to do it can be even more so. But knowing how to tackle your work-life from home can make all the difference.
Make the most of your situation. Remember, you’re not the only one who is trying to figure this out. Developing a system and sticking to it will ensure that you get the best results possible.
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Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell