As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold of our daily lives, the world has made major adjustments in order to deal with the sudden change. The news, TV shows, concerts and exercise classes, have all been broadcasted from living rooms or makeshift studios and we’ve seen a completely new digitalised way of living. Another one of these major adjustments, has been moving our office to our homes. Devising makeshift working environments, has become the new thing and piles of boxes, books, dining and coffee tables have all became work stations.
Weeks in, and some are still finding it hard to get their home life, to exist cohesively, with their work life. And with nurseries and schools closed and unaccessible help from loving grandparents - it is such a struggle to balance childcare alongside work commitments. A survey found that at present 60% of all childcare facilities are closed. However 51% of households need childcare in order to work.
We're struggling with keeping the children at bay whilst having that all important video conference call and working from the couch has made things more 'chill out zone' than 'work zone' and with all of this upheaval and lack of structure our job performance can easily hit a low.
Its crucial that we make the best of a difficult situation, so mothers, fathers, and carers across the board - here are 5 tips on working productively from home with kids.
Set up a designated workspace
Going from working in an office to home is difficult enough, without the added challenge of not having a designated work space. Whether it be your dressing table or a table pulled up to the couch, work with what you have. Find an area of your home which is clear with bright lighting, ideally next to a window, to keep you alert and focused. Inform you children that this is your work area and assign a designated play area for them.
Keep to a schedule
Rolling out of bed at 10am and going to bed at 2am simply won’t work in this period. Yes we’re benefitting from working from home and longer having to deal with rush hour – but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't maintain structure. Try and stick to your regular work schedule. So if that means your usually sat at your desk in the office at 9am, then do the same at home. Take breaks at you usual time too, this will hep the day flow and keep your focus.
Do virtual meetings like a boss
Do you remember when Professor Robert Kelly's children interrupted his interview live on the BBC? Yes, it was pretty cringe, but it was also hilariously funny. At the beginning of lockdown I sat sheepishly looking at my 2 and 4 year old thinking - 'how the hell is this going to work, theres no way I'll manage zoom meetings and conference calls.' Weeks later and I'm making it work. Im conducting zoom meetings and taking conference calls whilst the children nap and if one of them happens to be awake and sing 'let it go' in the background and I get a few rolling eye balls, so be it. I've got kids. Deal with it.
Keep the children busy
I remember when I was a little girl and my mother used to send us out into the garden to play for the majority of the day (good weather permitting of course) so that we were out of her hair and also so the house could maintain some level of cleanliness. She would give us outdoor activities and tell us not to come inside until she came for us. Well, you could do the same. The key to it all is simply keeping them busy. Snacks, games, art, stickers, whatever you can get your hands on - keep them busy and all will work out wonderfully.
Work unusual hours If your mini's are very little and require more attention than let's say your average 4 year old - you may need to adjust your working hours. Working around naps, feeding time and intermittently will still allow you to get some productive hours in. When bed time comes around try and get another few hours of work in. I usually work a 8-10pm window to keep on top of things.
We're currently living in the toughest time we will see in our lifetime. It's scary frustrating and anxiety inducing. The best we can do is taking each day as it comes and adjusting as we go. Let's stay healthy and most importantly healthy.
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