Tackling the challenges of working from home during the pandemic
With the threats of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are bound to stay home more than ever. Many corporate tech businesses including Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook have asked their staff to work from home to help slow down the spread of Coronavirus.
Freelancers are generally on good terms with working from home. However, when home is the one and only place to be, even freelancers may feel the need to go back to the drawing board to balance working from home and their private life.
Home is now a combination of your office, your happy nest, your primary food source, the gym, a movie theater, a playground and your kids’ classroom. How can you make the most of this multipurpose space? Do you have everything that will ease this period at your disposal? How can you both manage the demands of your work and your family? If you are looking for some best practices around these questions, you are in the right place.
5 tips for working from home during the pandemic
#1 Make a checklist for your new needs
As you may have realized, with everything changing at this pace, your capabilities and needs are changing as well. You may no longer be entitled to the soy latte at your local cafe where you used to reply to your morning e-mails. Your weekly pilates classes may be canceled. The wireless connection may no longer be sufficient for the constant video streaming and chatting needs of your household.
Having a well equipped home-office environment is essential on the road to finding the best way to work from home. Consider upgrading some of your kitchen appliances according to your needs and taste. A low budget coffee grinder and a milk frother can really do the trick. Order them together with that exercise ball and yoga mat.
If your house seems to be louder than usual, run through the lists for noise-canceling headphones. No matter what you need, remember to primarily shop for them online instead of going to the mall. Social distancing equals safety.
Here is a checklist you can consider as you shop next time:
#2 Reorganize the house in separate compartments
Trying to work from home with kids can be tricky. If you have kids in the picture, make sure that you have an isolated space for work. Although you may be used to working on the kitchen desk as they are at school or daycare, you may now consider moving to your bedroom or any spare room you have.
If the nanny or the grandparents will not be visiting your little ones any time soon, try to set physical boundaries for your workspace. Let the kids know of your routine and openly communicate your need for a quiet time. Don’t underestimate the power of positive reinforcement. Consider rewarding your kids for granting you those silent hours.
Separate the areas of work and leisure. If you have a spouse, a partner, or a flatmate who is also working from home, discuss your needs with them. Two simultaneous teleconferences in the living room would probably not be productive. You can hardly focus in the living room when someone is binging on a show. Together with the members of your household, decide on the purposes of each room.
#3 Make a shared schedule for each member of the household
Since everyone is concurrently home, it is in everyone’s best interest to openly share what is due when and to avoid clashes. Know when your partner or roomie will make a video call and when your kid will join his online class. Let others know when you need a dose of meditation, a nap, or a bath. You may benefit from drawing up a timetable on a static sheet of paper and sticking it where everyone can see and contribute by editing.
Check out these tools for working remotely effectively and having your day planned:
#4 Fairly divide the household chores
Suggest an inclusive and efficient division of work in the house. Although you already had a division plan in place before the virus outbreak, staying home 24/7 may have the tendency to alter it. Make sure that everyone is transparent about their free time slots and aware of what needs to be done on a daily basis.
You may not be able to receive any housekeeping services in this period, so everyone should be familiar with the vacuum, the dishwasher, and the washing machine by now. Including your children in the daily chores can give them a sense of responsibility, help you make time, and give you peace of mind. Remember that teamwork is the key to success and happiness in the home environment.
#5 Try new and solitary activities for the kids
You may desperately need your kid to be out of sight as you proofread or translate. Don’t feel ashamed if you do. Working around children screaming and clinging on you is definitely very hard. Especially if you have a tender mental task at hand!
Do you wonder why your children can’t leave you alone? Because they are thrilled to see you more often and they will try to make the most out of these quarantine days. Secondly, being alone is a learned behavior. Don’t give up if your kid cannot spend time on their own. While some kids can take up playing on their own naturally, others may need some guidance.
Consider giving away one wall to your kids. Let this be a blank page that they can freely get messy with. Allowing time-limited access to this wall can help you control your child and gradually increase the quiet time you need.
Try kids yoga. Yoga is known to promote a sense of calmness. With a fixed sequence and designated background music, your kid can learn to focus for a certain period of time alone. You can refer to some online kids’ yoga and mindfulness videos. They are not usually long since kids have a shorter attention span. But even 20 minutes can work miracles too!
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