All over the world, schools of all grades and kindergarten have shut their doors in an attempt to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
This is incredibly important for the safety of our communities, but parents working from home are thus faced with a challenging domestic situation to manage.
It gets complicated when parents have to work from home for the first time.
Here are 5 tips on how to find work-life balance within the boundaries of the isolation caused by the coronavirus.
1. Create the program of the day, also for the children
As we said in our previous article about time management for home working, the key to an efficient organization of home working is to draw up a to-do list of activities.
The same rule applies for children, drawing up a strict schedule that replicates that of a normal school day.
Many schools have prepared online lessons and virtual homework, so children should be reminded that they are not on holiday, but only in an exceptional situation caused by an emergency.
Every morning it is important to wake your children up, prepare breakfast and dress them just as you would if they were going to school.
2. Communicate, even more than necessary
When working remotely, communicating is one of the key elements in maintaining efficiency and making others understand the situation at home.
When it comes to work, it is important to be clear that you are also dealing with the needs of your children, so that colleagues – and especially your direct supervisor – won’t be surprised.
For example, if you are taking part in a Skype meeting, it is perfectly legitimate to inform others that there is a child walking around the room and may interfere with the call suddenly.
Especially given the unexpected work situation in which many people find themselves, a statement like this becomes fundamental and certainly not negative.
In fact, the participants in the meeting will be more aware and understanding if they are warned beforehand.
Given the exceptional nature of the situation, one could also ask for meetings to be rescheduled so as not to have calls lasting hours and hours, but short and frequent online meetings, in order to better care for their children.
3. Establish limits with children
In addition to communicating with your colleagues and manager, it is imperative to set limits with your children.
At this time, it may be helpful to allow children to play or watch TV for longer to keep them busy.
However, it is important to state clearly that this is a special situation and that this freedom will not last forever.
It is also necessary to say when you absolutely must not be disturbed.
This limitation could be indicated in several ways, for example by closing the door if you have an office room or, if you have a desk in a common room, prepare a “STOP” sign and place it in plain sight when you absolutely do not want to be disturbed.
4. Take breaks
Breaks are essential, even when working from home.
Especially for those who have children, taking a 10-minute break every hour becomes important, also to have the chance to give them some attention and make sure that their day is also going in the right direction.
If you find yourself in a particular situation where your child needs more attention, it is important to tell your superior and try to find a solution.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to offer support or cover your colleagues who may need an extra or longer break to look after their children.
5. Schedule shifts with your partner
If both parents work from home, this can greatly ease the coordination between work and home life with kids.
Here the key is to schedule shifts with your partner so that it is clear who should look after the children and when, thus leaving the partner free to concentrate on their work without any interruption.
Even if the partner doesn’t work from home, but is part of the small section of the population that still goes to work every day, it is still an extra help compared to single parents.
A thorough program will be the secret to maximizing everyone’s day.
It is important to understand that, in the beginning, you will struggle and make lots of mistakes before you will find a relatively “acceptable” home working day.
To find the right solution and routine, as in all things, you need training and practice.
So be ready to innovate, try and repeat more strategies over the next few days and remember that there are already many remote workers with children who can manage this situation successfully.
So there is hope for everyone!
With a bit of planning, definitely lots of debates and an adaptable attitude, you will be able to efficiently manage your home working period with children during this Coronavirus.
Thus we want to close this article with the most heartfelt hashtag of this period: #everythingwillbefine