The coronavirus pandemic has forced schools to close across the country, and employees are already working from home. With social distancing keeping people isolated for the time being, school and work are now taking place at home, and largely at the same time. Working parents & COVID-19 crisis
As families face these new challenges to work-life balance in close quarters, parents are trying to keep their kids healthy and busy while still doing their jobs and not totally losing their minds. How can parents make this work?
Here you have real-world tips from remote workers who’ve balanced career and children in close proximity to help you through this difficult moment.
If your spouse or partner is at home caring for the kids, it’s essential that you communicate what your day is like so you’re both on the same page with your expectations and needs.
For example, if you’re under a pressing deadline and need to focus, let them know so that they can get the kids out of the house for a while. If you have a lighter workday with more flexibility, offer to take the kids for an hour at lunch so your partner can have a break. It can also help to put a sign on your office door to let your family know when you’re on an important call, especially when those calls are unexpected.
Most children are used to structure in their day. It’s important to create a schedule so you’re not wasting time trying to figure out what to do the minute your kids are done with their current activity. Schedules should include time for learning, playing and eating. If possible, try to incorporate outside activities and online courses into their new routine.
Things don’t always go according to plan, and it’s easier on everyone if you can roll with changes and are prepared with backup plans. It’s a good idea to let your colleagues and clients know your new working hours and which times you won’t be available. Consider scheduling meetings during nap times or learning hours.
When working from home with kids, not only is a set agenda required, but so are work boundaries. Establishing a kid-free office zone will help you step away from your parenting role and concentrate on business matters.
If you have a significant other in the household, split shifts with them and gently make it clear to your kids not to disturb you when it’s your time/day/night to work. And always expect interruptions.
Working from home with kids while under quarantine, your life has the potential to become rather hectic, and you’ll find that you need to invest in some serious self-care. To help you keep your sanity in check, no matter how busy you are, set aside some time for yourself every day. Wake up an extra hour or two before the kids to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee, go for a quick run, or read that book you’ve been dying to finish.
It may be challenging to manage working while you’re home with the kids, but you can do it! Don’t be too hard on yourself and remember that many of your coworkers are in the same position. You likely won’t get the same amount of work done that you would in a normal work day, and that’s okay. Enjoy the extra time you get to spend with your little ones and do the best you can to create a work-from-home system that works for your family.