For most of us stuck in the lockdown, working from home has become a professional reality. From fielding client calls in the kitchen to sharing deliverables long after the sun has set, the Covid-19 outbreak has changed the way we approached work and with it, work-life balance. At the outset, remote working seems like a locational change; we were used to working in a cubicle at the office as opposed to a seat at the dining table or the bed where we now spend most hours of the day. Most of us would spend long hours each day to get ready and reach the office; nowadays it takes a few minutes to log-in for the morning meeting. It can seem like a comfortable change of scenery.
However, as the lockdown progresses, many obvious challenges associated with the work-from-home setup become apparent. Working from home is blurring the lines between the home and office that were well-etched in the past. In addition, many working professionals are simultaneously juggling work responsibilities, supervising the children, and keeping up with household chores. What once seemed like a welcome change from the stuffiness of the workplace is now emerging as it’s a more hectic alter-ego.
While we hope that the fears associated with the Coronavirus are allayed at the earliest, nobody can predict the actual timeline of the current lockdown. In this blog, we will explore tips that will help you make the most of your remote working stint while you’re homebound with the spouse and kids.
1. Have an open conversation with your reporting manager
Understanding what’s expected of you is key to doing a job well. Have an open conversation with your manager about any additional responsibilities that you’re expected to take on and establish a structure of reporting that you’re both comfortable with. Ensure that you communicate a starting and ending time to prevent being overworked. If you have children around the house, mention details of their online learning schedules if and when they are coinciding with yours if you need the added flexibility.
This communication will help overcome any clashes that arise due to schedule overlaps. All of us are in the same boat, after all, juggling between what we need to do to support workplace commitments with those at home. An open conversation can help teams set more realistic deadlines in a way that eliminates unnecessary pressure.
2. Have an open conversation with your spouse
If you’re a double income household, chances are that both you and your spouse have work commitments to meet simultaneously during the weekdays. This new make-shift work regime can prove to be especially demanding when you have unsupervised young ones under the same roof.
So, in order to navigate this newfound work regime with minimum skirmishes, you need to have an open chat with your part and discuss your work week ahead of time. You can take turns doing chores and taking care of the children so that neither partner feels over-burned by the extra workload. If your partner has an important work call at a certain time, try to ensure that you don’t schedule something at the same time parallelly to avoid confusion. List down all your parenting duties and split them up with your partner ahead of time, but be open to adapt to any last-minute challenges.
3. Maintain a daily schedule
All of us are guilty of slacking off a little during this lockdown. However, as we become more familiar with the routine of life under lockdown, slacking off when there’s work to do should be an exception and not the rule. Some people struggle to find their rhythm and get in the zone’ while they work from home.
To overcome this productivity paralysis, define a schedule, and stick to it. This will in-turn encourage your children to do the same. Try to wake up at the same time every morning, finish your chores by a certain time, and get to work as per the schedule you’ve worked out with your partner. Speak to your kids and make a schedule for them as well. The mental realization of getting things done and ticking tasks off the list will give you immense satisfaction at the end of the day. Not to forget, a great way of stress control.
4. Break big tasks into smaller bite-sized tasks
The office atmosphere is designed to enhance productivity and get the most of the employees who work there. Our home environment is not quite the same. There may be a host of distractions in the form of various noises or interruptions when you’re in the middle of getting something done. Moreover, you might find your attention beinvityg diverted to an activity that the rest of your family members are participating in while you’re being forced to put your head down and work. You can also use Wysa to manage and organize your tasks.
You can overcome this by breaking up your entire work-day into smaller tasks that you set yourself to achieve within a set time frame. Allow yourself to take breaks whenever you feel fatigued or overworked. Use these break times to read a book, play with your kids or take a nap to keep stress at bay. You can ask your kids to suggest what they think you should do during these work times to help them feel involved in your day as well.
5. Exchange notes with your friends and colleagues
No matter how much you plan, a few things will always be out of your control when it comes to your kids. Speak to your close friends and family about some of the challenges you may be facing disciplining your kids while you’re home all day or getting them to finish their assignments on time. Given the parenting experience of your support group as well as the personal rapport they may share with your child/children, they may be instrumental in coming up with unique ways to keep your kids entertained and make sure they don’t fall back on the learning curve.
If you find yourself in a situation when both you and your spouse are both caught up in work, you can ask a close relative to engage your kids on video call while you get things done. A loving and caring support system can really help you stay creative in your parenting during the lockdown.
6. Speak to your colleagues
Most of us share a good rapport with our colleagues, although we might like some better than the others. Share your challenges with your team members and ask them for support when you need it in extraordinary situations. This continued communication will ensure that there are no gaps arising in your deliverables because of this virtual collaboration and help the work to continue smoothly. Staying in touch with them in regular intervals will lend a sense of normalcy to work and help everyone feel more included.
Remember to give yourself a break and not overwork yourself. It is important to protect your mental health right now. We have also made tool packs free to manage any stress or anxiety on Wysa!