During this time, many working families have transitioned to working from home. This can pose a challenge for many as they try to balance work priorities with managing their household chores, caring for their children, and distance learning (for grade school children).
If this is the case for you, it is important that you take breaks throughout your day. Since your children are home, they may want more of your time. Especially during the uncertain and stressful time that our community is facing, take the time you need with your children, and prioritize the people in your life.
Communication with Supervisors
The phrase “Communication is key” has never been more true than in these times. It is important to maintain clear communication with your supervisor in all aspects. Especially, since now we are balancing home and work life all in one place. In this regard, both supervisors and employees need to be understanding of one another and receptive to communication.
Since you are at home, your children may see you as the parents and may not understand the role you have in your job or even that you need to work from home. So, it is important to remember this piece- children will always see you as the parent. Be diligent about creating positive boundaries that work best for you and your family. Some examples of ways that you can create boundaries are:
- Create a sign that says, “Stop, in a meeting.”
- Use a red cup as a symbol that you are working which means “do not disturb."
- If you are in a shared family space, wear a hat that symbolizes that you are working which means “do not disturb.”
The tips mentioned above work best for older children who can be more independent and understand and learn boundaries. Tip: Adding an incentive to help kids establish boundaries for when you are working could be helpful. For example, you could offer to play a board game or give screen time if they make an effort at following boundaries. In all, establishing boundaries is a good learning opportunity for the whole family.
For younger children, the best time to maximize your productivity at work or home is when your baby or toddler is napping or when you have a trusted adult who can help you care for them.
A key factor in work productivity in the work from home lifestyle is developing a schedule and finding the time that works the best for you to be productive. This is where it will be important to establish good communication with your supervisor.
Early Bird: If you find that waking up early to work is best for you and your family, consider sharing this with your supervisor.
Weekends: Ideally, most people would like to reserve their weekends for family and rest. However, the reality might be different now that the two mesh every day. Another option to consider for work productivity is working fewer hours in one day, but working throughout the 7 day period.
After dinner: For most people, they can be most productive when they work in a quiet space. This is why for some people working after dinner and bedtime might be the best option for work productivity. While not all work can be done during this time frame, this could be a good time to work on emails and individual projects.
It can be a real challenge to manage caring for your child/children while remaining productive at work. It especially varies depending on the child's/children's age. We hope these suggestions can help you find the best option that works for you and encourages you to communicate with your supervisor if you need to revisit your schedule during this time.
Be compassionate to yourself
We are all doing our best to adapt and manage through this new normal. Be gentle with yourself! The kids might have more screen time than usual, we might need some more time to ourselves than usual, and that’s okay. Acknowledge and honor yourself for doing your best.