With schools closing and most people working from home, the coronavirus outbreak has presented a new challenge, which some parents may not have experienced before: working from home with your children.
It sounds like chaos, but being both a parent and a productive employee can be done.
This blog will help you navigate this new situation successfully. Remember that you may never have a chance to spend this much time at home with your family again.
So how can you be productive and efficient, yet still be a good parent?
Set realistic expectations
While you are still there for your children, it is impossible to give both your children and your work 100% of your attention. You need to help them understand that, at certain times of the day, you are at work and they should try not to disturb you.
Similarly, your company needs to know that you will have unavoidable parental duties at various instances.
Try to distance yourself from any noise your children might make when they are occupied with their own work or activities. You need to be able to concentrate on your work as much as you can while conducting your parental duties.
Depending on the age of your child, most children will have schoolwork to complete, so try to synchronise your working time with theirs.
Structuring the day similarly to a school or nursery, with set times for breaks and lunchtime will help children maintain their daily structure. In your break times, you can spend as much quality time with them as you can go for a walk, eat lunch, and play with them until you have to go back to work.
Younger children are less likely to have schoolwork and their concentration periods will be much shorter. Try to think of activities to keep them busy and entertained while you work.
Be flexible and creative
Your time does not have to be bound by the minute, just as long as you have a good structure in place and you can always return to it. Have a target for work you want to get done that day and do not worry about tweaking your itinerary if any mishaps occur that require your attention. Sometimes you will have to multitask – while you watch your children play, try to complete tasks which do not need intense concentration.
Creativity will be crucial to keep your children amused when you have to stay at home every day. One idea could be to create a basket of healthy food and snacks for your children, containing everything they can graze on that day – this will save those “I’m hungry” interruptions.
It may be a while before you can return to the office, so stay well, enjoy the time you have with your family, stay productive and keep working hard.
Download our free eBook, ‘A guide to remote working – for employees and managers’ for more hints and tips on how to work at home and manage your workforce.