Things are changing quickly every day, and most of us have seen our typical routines turned upside down. More and more workplaces are allowing or requiring remote work, while school and daycare closings and “social distancing” restrictions mean that whole families are suddenly spending a whole lot more time at home together.
That means, many working parents are facing an unprecedented situation: working from with kids and without access to the camps, playdates, and even Grandparent-visits that you might normally rely on to get through a school break or a holiday.
It won’t be smooth or perfect, but there are few strategies you can use to make your new situation a little easier. We have real-life tips from remote workers who have balanced career and children in close proximity to help you through this difficult times.
1) Use Visual Cues to Designate your Workspace.
Create a designated area as your work zone and use it consistently. Help your kids build the association that when you’re sitting there, you are working and should not be disturbed.
2) Help Kids Create a Routine and Add Structure to their Day.
Work with your kids to create their daily or weekly schedule. Give them opportunities to choose some of their own activities and help them be more independent.
3) Communicate with your Manager and Co-workers.
If you think there will be distractions or interruptions to your calls or even your workday, let your team know. There are there to understand the situation if you only inform them and they might be very willing to help you out.
4) Set Realistic Expectations of what You can Accomplish.
Set and manage expectations early on with your team and managers. Figure out your working hours, when you will be most available and how much you can get done.
5) Reach Out for Help or Resources.
These are extraordinary times and we must all come together (virtually) to help each other out. Reach out to your Manager or Co-workers if you need any help or if consultation about your work is in need.
Juggling work and childcare is an intense but survivable experience. Many remote works successfully navigate this reality every day. While your situation might be different from another families, you can build a structure for your circumstances. With a little bit of planning, lots of discussion, and an adaptable attitude, you will be able to better weather your COVID-19 stint at home with your kids.
Although it will unlikely be uncomfortable and difficult to at least some degree (and maybe a big one), keep in mind that working from home right now–even as hard as it can be with kids–can be the difference that keeps millions of people safe and the company you are working with never goes out of business. It’s worth the challenge, and we are all in this together.