When does work begin and when do we clock off? For that matter, as most are likely to continue working from home beyond the Circuit Breaker, the question we may be asking is - Where does non-work time start and where does that end?
For every parent hustling to keep up with virtual meetings while juggling the needs of a toddler, being the 24/7 playmate to your young child, or worrying over your teenager’s education progress, we feel you.
Working from home with kids is not easy during this #stayhome school holidays, but can be made more manageable with a few helpful practices to establish new rhythms for yourself and your kids.
As we adjust our work and family life with the changing “new norm”, here are 9 ways to navigate this all-in-one life.
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How has your work and family routine during this Circuit Breaker worked out for you? Remember, there’s no perfect routine.
- Be open to change up your daily routine to meet your children’s needs. More than half-way into the Circuit Breaker, you and your children may need a change to break the everyday monotony.
- Schedule “study and learning time” for older kids and “independent play” time for the younger ones with your most productive work hours. School holidays (albeit needing to stay home) is a good time to encourage your children to explore and read up on topics of their interest, e.g. the wild life, astronomy or culinary arts.
- Include daily exercise time – whether that’s a home workout or DIY obstacle course with furniture and household items. Exercising has been found to improve our mood, reduce stress, boost sleep quality, and help us to be more relaxed.
Have you been disciplined in setting appropriate limits, and keeping to it? Establishing clear boundaries may be more of a challenge now that life has kind of converged into a single space.
- Share your work schedule with your boss and co-workers. Let them know the pockets of time in the day you have set aside for online meetings or work that requires focused attention.
- Have an honest conversation with your boss about the constraints you may be facing working from home, and reach a mutual understanding of what is expected of you.
- Watch your mental load – be careful that work doesn’t infringe on all your waking hours or you may not be fully present for your spouse and children.
Have you affirmed your children for their efforts since the Circuit Breaker started? This arrangement is new for them too, and everyone can do with some encouragement (and treats!)
- Plan a surprise delivery for your child, and #supportsmallbusiness at the same time.
- Go the “extra mile” for the regular activities and make it special! Watching a movie can feel like a reward if you bring out popcorn and drinks, draw black-out curtains and turn on the air-con. Or, have a themed dinner and put your teenager in-charge of ordering the food with a given budget.
- Give yourself a treat! Mother’s Day may be over, but we don’t have to wait until Father’s Day for one parent to be appreciated. Work in regular time for self-care which could take the form of a long, uninterrupted bath time, an indulgence on your favourite snack or a jog around the neighbourhood.
This Circuit Breaker is a transient phase, and it will pass. However, the shift to working from home may well extend beyond that and be the “new normal”. As such, cultivating sustainable and effective work from home practices would go a long way in encouraging a positive home atmosphere for everyone in the family.
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