This week, across Australia and the world, an enormous number of people are working from home. For many, this is the first time they've tried it. In fact, the recent weeks have brought many 'firsts' for a surprising array of different issues cropping up along the way.
With big corporations and small business alike sending as many people home as possible, many schools closing down and frantic shopping; it can look pretty frightening. Aside from consciously taking our precautions, we just have to adapt and carry on along. But how can we adapt to suddenly working from home and prying off the 2 kids who are attached to your feet?
Working from home can be challenging without setting some boundaries for yourself and your family, but once they're set and communicated, working from home can be particularly productive.
Adapting to a new sate of 'work time/ home time' can be difficult ndash; and your physical work space is a really important aspect of this. It can be difficult to set up a comfortable and professional workspace. Having an actual 'office' space or room would be ideal – but otherwise, a new, designated area somewhere quiet would work too.
Once that's sorted, the juggling act will really begin. Some suggestions for a smooth transition into working with the kids are:
- Communicate. Be open and honest, stay calm and have an age appropriate discussion about what's going on with your kids. Be reassuring, and encourage thought on why it's important to wash hands rigorously and practise social distancing at the moment.
- Be 'in Office'. It can be strange and exciting to have mum or dad at home – but defining 'work time' is going to be important. A sign on the door or other visual representation can be a great way to define work time.
- Take breaks. Relish your break times and check in often, but again, make boundaries regarding work time.
- Virtual play dates. If possible, organise phone or video calls with the parent of your child's friend. In these strange times, it will be more likely we allow out kids way more screen time – that's ok, as long we factor breaks.
- Take turns parenting. If you have the luxury of taking turns – do it. Ideally, one parent can have really solid work time while the other entertains the kids.
- Focus on the good things, not the worries. Amidst all the new– ness and unknowns, take time to appreciate our blessings, like family time, the time to try a new hobby or to cook more, enjoy Netflix binges and an extra glass of wine, as well as the everyday comforts many of us have in our homes. Sometimes we get so busy and overwhelmed, it's hard to see all the beauty in the little things, and now's a great time to look at what we do have!
And one last thing – for all of us, this is new.
Let's stick together and look after one another!