COVID-19 has affected the world in ways that very few of us saw coming. As the initial panic set in, everyday tasks like gym workouts and trips to the movies became forbidden activities that reinforced the reality that a new normal was replacing customs of old. With time, every area of our lives was impacted. In a national effort to curtail the spread of the virus, schools, day care centers and non-essential businesses closed their doors. Consequently, traditional brick-and-mortar operations became remote.
Leaders all over the world have been saddled with the responsibility of helping their companies and employees shift to digital platforms. Meanwhile, they are simultaneously tasked with managing their children who’ve found themselves dismissed from school and daycare. For many, working from home with children by their sides is a completely new endeavour. Thankfully, there are plenty of tips to help things run more smoothly. Here are three ways to make telecommuting easier while your children are home.
1. Set Schedules
Establishing a schedule is one of the most important steps toward creating a peaceful telecommuting environment. Kids thrive when they have clear and consistent routines to rely on. Start by defining your work hours and breaks. Decide which breaks will be used for personal time, and which will be spent visiting with your kids. Next, write down what your children will be doing while you are working. Afterward, plan the rest of your day. Include dinner, leisure, and bedtimes. Outlining these activities will help separate your work and family time and ensure that there’s a healthy balance.
2. Implement Boundaries
It can be difficult for children to differentiate between parents who are available to talk, and parents who are busy working. To ensure that your day goes well, it’s important to set boundaries. Boundaries can set clear expectations, outline physical workspaces, and establish guidelines that help you and your children coexist harmoniously. Although each family’s boundaries will look different, here are a few examples to help you get started:
- An isolated office location that is strictly for work
- A sign on the door to let your family know when you’re unavailable to talk
- Rules that protect your family time (i.e. no answering emails after a certain time, etc.)
3. Preplan Activities (for children who aren’t occupied with school)
When it comes to working remotely with children at home, pre-planned activities can make a world of difference. At the start of each week, prepare a bin of simple activities that your child can complete independently. To prevent untimely workday interruptions, clip necessary materials to each activity and provide instructions. If your little one isn’t old enough to read, you can record short videos that contain directions, or plan a little time at the start of the day to give an in-person tutorial.
Here are some activity ideas:
Telecommuting can be a big change for families who aren’t used to spending most of their time at home. Although the transition will be a learning experience for parents and children alike, with practice, your family will find a happy balance. Use these three tips to help you and your children make your workday easier, and enjoy the opportunity to share more time and space with those you love most.