You had a routine. Shower, kids to school, commute, work, dinner, homework, kids, and bed. Rinse and repeat.
Then, COVID-19 happened! Will this be the new normal? – government-implemented lockdowns threw your finely honed system into chaos. The unique focus that work provided now is mixed with schooling from home, Zoom, and standing in line to get groceries – your new normal. The romantic idea of working from home has taken on a new twist with the whole family home working with you full time.
It wasn’t supposed to work this way.
When the honeymoon is over and you settle into the realization that with everyone locked in together, for this to work – for YOU to work, you need a new approach. Transitioning to a work-from-home situation in the best of circumstances takes lots of discipline. Doing it under crisis conditions takes even more. Here are some effective tips to keep you sane while working from home and keep sanity in your home.
1. Create Your “Office”
Have a designated workspace or office (separate from your husband) even if it is a corner of the living room. Having a designated workspace will let your husband and kids know you will not be disturbed while working unless it’s an emergency. It will also help you identify when you are “working” and when you are “home”. Your commute will be shorter, but it actually is very important to have that psychological door to your “office” even if it is imaginary.
2. Increase Your Internet Speed
Increase your internet speed and data capacity. With everyone’s home and online, you will be competing for bandwidth. Slow internet will affect your productivity, your kid’s ability to complete school work and socialize, or even be a needed source of entertainment while you are in virtual meetings. Parsing out bandwidth causes additional tension in an already tense time. This is no time to penny-pinch and likely your company will reimburse you for the added expense.
3. Take The Lead
Give yourself a break and LEAD. Be upfront about kids at home (likely your boss is experiencing the same thing and doesn’t want to admit to the chaos around him/her.) Let them know your challenges and clear them with HR. The issue isn’t a failure on your part, but a universal challenge in this time of sudden quarantine. Babysitters – even grandma – just aren’t an option.
Likewise, take the lead with your kids. Set up rules and boundaries you can all live by that respect everyone’s work and need for privacy.
The “New Normal” – You’re Not Alone
Before COVID-19, Janice already was very self-conscious about her family and the perception of her priorities at work. Now that she needed to be conducting business at home, she was hypersensitive about any noise or interruption. She was on pins and needles with every noise from the living room and on edge about being interrupted to settle an argument between the kids or a question about dinner. Until her boss’s kids popped in for a cameo on their video call. It suddenly wasn’t so personal as she realized everyone was dealing with the same “new normal”. She and her boss actually had a good bonding laugh over the whole thing.
The recognition that she was not alone gave her the freedom to be up front about her situation and that she had children who might sneak into their meeting – even under the wrath of mom. In doing so she took charge of the situation and put everyone at ease. The incident broke the ice and acknowledged that everyone is struggling to figure it out, including our kids. Grace won the day.
Yes, there will be home distractions but with some thoughtful planning and leadership, it doesn’t need to be a hindrance to your productivity.
If you’d like more thoughts about how to succeed at work and home, check out my book, “It’s My Time” – available to you at a special price in paperback, audiobook, or Kindle version. Click here to get yours ItsMyTimeBook.com