Making the change to work from home under the best of circumstances can be tough. Add in a global pandemic, your entire household now being home, and little to no training on how to effectively make this work! How exactly are you expected to stay sane and productive? It can be done, but it may not look exactly like you think.
Setting yourself up in an office away from distractions with Feng Shui design and a diffuser scented of lavender is likely not in the cards. If you’re lucky you have a laptop that can move around with you. If not you’re going to be setting up a makeshift office at the table or on the counter with the stuff they sent you home with. It may be messy, the wires may be ugly, it may get in the way. For now, simply make sure that you have a setup that has these elements
- Safety – wires won’t trip anyone, that the computer or other equipment can not be easily pulled down by a child or pet or tripped over.
- Comfort – find the place that you can work for a few hours at a time in comfort. You may be surprised to find that the couch doesn’t quite fit the bill for a few week’s worths of productivity, you back will ache, your neck will have a weird tilt. A kitchen chair with a cushion for support can go a long way here…
- Space – you are going to need a space to work, if you give yourself enough space to do what it is you need to do, you will not feel overwhelmed and unorganized
At the end of every day pack up everything you can and store it. It will get old really fast if all of your daily work is sitting out in front of you. It also makes it more likely that something will be lost or misplaced should it be left out in the open. It also sends a clear signal you are done for the day.
Now that your space is set up, let’s talk about the little people you have running around your newly set up workspace.
First and foremost, this is all new to them too. If you have worked from home before when they are homesick, it doesn’t count… its a different experience this time around.
Set a schedule that works in tandem with yours. They will have things to do as well if you can set a loose schedule based on yours it will help. For example, if you know you have a conference call maybe allow that time for screen time or for older kids their assigned reading. Don’t have them start something they will need your help with, even a well-meaning craft project can turn into you furiously waving them off and trying to push the mute button, and let’s be honest generally that scenario never ends well. Set a time to have lunch and even snacks together, and if your space allows for it and it isn’t too distracting for you or them share your space, working together at the table can be a comfort remember this is weird for them too.
Setting expectations with the kids can go a long way as well. If they are old enough understand that you need them to let you finish a call or email let them know before that time starts. Then spend a few minutes dedicated to them once you are done.
The last thing is to keep in mind, it’s ok if someone hears your kids talk, sees them pop up in your zoom chat, listen to your dog bark, hears your kitchen timer going off, and on and on…. we are all struggling to navigate how to do this, so cut yourself, and your fellow newly crowned telecommuters a break it all ok right now, and remember they probably aren’t wearing pants!