Over the past few months, employees everywhere have had to adjust to a new work set-up quickly without much preparation. A shift towards remote work can already be challenging even during ordinary circumstances. Still, the fact that people have had to do it in the middle of a global catastrophe has made these changes even more troublesome. Working from home can be tough if you aren’t used to it. It’s doubly taxing if you have to manage a family alongside your tasks. Here are some tips to help you balance remote work with family time.
Designate a separate work and play area
Set boundaries between you and your family by designating a dedicated work and play area. That helps you separate your work tasks from your duties as a parent. You can even allow your family to share the workspace with you granted that they solely dedicate their time there to school or work tasks too. This area should have everything you need to be productive: adequate lighting, comfortable work surfaces, storage spaces, easy work, and school furniture, and a quiet atmosphere.
Keep an open line of communication
The lack of face-to-face communication with your colleagues and team members regularly can complicate business operations. Due to this, it’s more important than ever to keep an open line of communication between everyone, especially about your living situation. Your family will inevitably steal your attention away from your job, and you might not always be available to respond to messages or calls. Inform your boss and colleagues about this and be as proactive as you can. That is a major adjustment period for everyone, and, understandably, things won’t always go as smoothly.
Cultivate a strict but flexible routine
Maintaining a strict but flexible daily schedule ensures that everyone in the family is using their time wisely. Your children will have the most difficult time adjusting to the lack of the rigid schedule that school once provided them, so it’s crucial to enforce a plan that they can follow to make productive use of their time. Don’t forget to pencil in periodic breaks and non-work or non-school activities, as well.
Assign household tasks to every member of the family
Don’t take on more work than you can handle. Assign household tasks to every member of the family to take the burden off of you. Your partner can share in the child-rearing duties, while your older children, if you have any, can take turns doing more menial tasks like washing the dishes or sweeping the floor. If you’re a single parent, this will be more difficult. The best option for you would be to ask for help from family members, neighbours, or friends when you need it.
Work in short bursts
Even if you draw up a schedule, there’s no guarantee you can adhere to it. Distractions can throw you off course, and there’s always a chance you could lose track of time doing one task. Stick to your schedule by setting a timer for each task, whether it is a work-related one or a parenting one. This way, you can start and stop new assignments without any difficulty.
These are unprecedented times, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you find it challenging to get a grip on the situation. Take it one day at a time, and you’ll surely hit your stride.