While many of us look forward to the school holidays and weekends with the kids, the prospect of trying to work from home whilst keeping our children entertained is tricky business. While we have to stick to work schedules and attend meetings, we can’t forget our children are having a tough time too, and maintaining balance is key to keep everyone happy. Here we’re hoping to help ensure your household runs smoothly and your workdays are a success, as you survive working at hope with the kids. Here are our top tips.
1. Put Ground Rules in Place
The whole family needs to have some basic ground rules for everything to work effectively. If your children are old enough sit down together and lay out some rules for the whole family to stick to throughout this time spent at home.
2. Be Realistic
These are difficult times for all of us and this includes the kids. Be as patient as possible and be realistic, you aren’t going to be able to replicate your usual workday exactly. Your colleagues and bosses should know this, and everyone is ready for things to be a little different and run a little less to order. If you have realistic expectations, it is much easier to keep your anxieties in check.
3. Breaks are Important
Taking breaks from work and “school” are really important for remaining happy and well as a family. Don’t overwork and don’t spend hours sat at your screen only to feel completely exhausted by the end of the day. Even if you just spend 10 minutes having a little chat or a run around the garden, you will all feel better for it.
4. Prioritise for a Successful Home
No one can do everything and if you try to do so you’re likely to make yourself unwell and unhappy. Prioritise what is important and try to give equal time to the things that matter and require a dedicated amount of your time.
5. Reassess your Goal Setting
On the average workday you may have a set of goals you hope to achieve in that day. In this new world we’re living in daily goals are not as effective as weekly ones. Planning some aims for each week removes the pressure of the daily grind and helps ensure you have perspective. You may want to write a particular report on one set day but it may not be possible, so send some important emails instead. As long as you complete your chosen tasks within the working week, your management will understand.
6. Be Firm and Set Aside Work Time
Every day it is important you have some dedicated work time so ensure you plan this into your schedule, so the children understand. One to two intensive work sessions a day allow you to be more productive than sitting for hours in front of your screen achieving very little. Dedicated intensive work sessions where the kids know not to disturb you are much more likely to be successful.
7. Don’t Forget Meals and Healthy Snacks
Sitting with biscuit after biscuit may feel comforting but it does nothing for your motivation and health in general. Eating fruit and vegetables is directly linked to creativity and happiness and so there are real benefits of ensuring you eat well. This goes for the kids too. While there’s nothing wrong with sweet and salty snacks, it’s important to incorporate healthy snacks and meals too for a better work and home environment.
8. There’s No Harm in Giving In
Your regular rules regarding screen time may need to be relaxed a little if you’re going to make it through these tricky times. Monitoring and limiting screen time is all well and good if you’re not trying to get through conference calls and important work meetings. Cut yourself some slack and do what needs to be done to ensure you can keep everyone as happy as possible.
9. No Work after Bed
Once the children are in bed it is essential you switch off from work too. As if it was your regular working day there is no reason to be tied to your work laptop and still logged on, regardless of how much you got done during that day. Keeping a good schedule means you should be able to relax after work as usual and not have to worry until the next working day.
10. Don’t Forget to Be Kind
These are unprecedented times for all of us, so it is absolutely essential we remember to be kind to each other. Our children may be processing things differently to us, as may our colleagues, so it is important to keep check on those we love. While being at home more than usual might be challenging, it is also the opportunity to have more family time and bond more deeply. You can be frustrated and you are allowed to have difficult moments but remember to be kind to yourself, as well as others.