Things change during a pandemic…
Working from home isn’t a new concept. But with the global healthcare crisis consuming every waking minute, this “virtual” or “remote” work idea has become a reality for many more of us.
It may have sounded like a great idea when you were stuck in traffic or dealing with office politics, but you may now see it isn’t as glamorous as it appeared.
However, there are things you can do to make the experience a positive and productive one for you and your family.
Setting Boundaries | The first step is to establish a structure and logistics. Each person needs their own work space, kids included, if you have children doing school work.
♦ If your home allows, try to set up a space for each person to work. It can be a home office or a card table in a spare bedroom or basement. Make your work space as similar to your previous environment as possible: dorm room/classroom/office.
♦ Set times for work and study, and set a hard end to each day, so you can have time together as a family.
♦ Keep your kitchen and family room “No Work” zones, so you still have a place to gather without interrupting someone who is trying to work.
♦ If you are limited on space, set up a schedule to determine who gets the “work space” at certain times throughout the day. Schedules give people a sense of control during chaotic times.
♦ If your internet service is not optimal, look into other options. Many internet providers are offering WiFi packages for homes that may not have it, or may need to upgrade their speed, with minimal, or in some cases no extra fees.
Communication Is Crucial | Typically, only one person works from home, but times have changed. Today you can find a whole houseful of people at home: both spouses, toddlers, college, and school-aged children.
♦ Think of your family as your new team. Everyone has a job to do, so team meetings will help to keep the lines of communication flowing. Create guidelines for your new offices.
♦ Clearly communicate with your family times you can and cannot be interrupted. A lot of professionals are still dealing with conference calls and virtual meetings, while students are signing into remote learning sites at specific times.
Everyone needs to know the parameters. If you have a door for your space, keep it shut so they know not to bother you when it is shut.
♦ If priorities or deadlines change (and believe me, they will), make sure your team is aware of these changes.
♦ Be realistic about what can be accomplished. My motto is “Under commit and over deliver.” When setting deadlines for projects or being available for online meetings, don’t over-commit to clients or colleagues.
Be flexible with colleagues, as they may have young children at home as well and would prefer to “meet” after hours when children are in bed or another adult in the home is available.
Create Work & Family Times | For those of us still blessed to be able to work, it is a priority, but we need to have times for our family as well.
This situation is new to all of us and navigating through it on top of each other in one space is going to take an emotional toll on everyone involved. Stay strong and set the tone for your work and family environments.
♦ Enjoy eating dinner together as a family. Whether you watch a family movie together or have a picnic in the backyard, take time to talk about your day and plans for the future.
♦ Plan some evening activities that don’t involve a “screen.” Break out those board games, take walks or bike rides, or drive to a park and enjoy nature as spring arrives.
♦ Now is a great time to get rid of things around the house. Clean out those closets, spare rooms, garage, etc. You can set things aside to donate later.
Make plans to renovate your children’s room by looking online for ideas. It helps to look toward to the future when things will return to “normal.”
Though these times certainly present challenges to all of us, they don’t have to break us. Setting some boundaries in place and communicating will help us all navigate this uncertain time.
Look at the changes as opportunities to reconnect with your family, to slow your pace of life, and to reevaluate your priorities. You may look back at this time as a time of real growth for you and your family.
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