How To Meet Work Obligations With Kids Around During Lockdown
The entire world is battling the increasing effects of the COVID 19 pandemic, with all of us forced to stay indoors for an unprecedented time. The lockdown effect shows no signs of easing up, where many of us have begun to settle into a “new normal” of working from home with kids around us.
It is a challenge how to remain productive in a comprehensively changed ‘office’, thereby establishing new rules to help with the transition. I know it’s a challenge but together we can do it! If you follow certain rules and stick to the new schedule, managing both things will not be an issue anymore.
To help you through these difficult time we have gathered some helpful strategies for parents who are trying to fulfill work obligations, with kids in close proximity.
Establish a routine:
It is important to set out some kind of structure for the day. Both kids and adults will benefit if a routine is established for them. A routine will help you stay sane and make it productive for you as well as your kids. Begin your day by sticking to the routine, while giving your time to kids during breaks.
Add more activities for kids keeping them engaged while you focus on your work. Dedicate morning hours completely to your work, while scheduling some breaks in between to attend to kids.
Dedicate a proper space for work:
You’ll be able to focus more on your work if you are working on a designated space for office while working from home.
Communicate to your children that when you’re at your workplace at home, it is time for them to engage in other activities.
Steer them towards different activities on each day, such as puzzles, painting, craft activities etc. Even kids will benefit from the routine, clearly set by you.
Act as if working remotely isn’t home during the scheduled work shift.
Swap work with your spouse:
Juggling the roles of a dedicated employee and a caring parent can be quite stressful for you during this time.
Long hours of meeting and deadlines are inevitable keeping you busy with work obligations. The lockdown situation has left parents with no assistance from babysitters or daycare centres.
Acknowledge that the situation is not the same and all of us trying to adjust to the new normal. Therefore, it is important to make a schedule with your partner to divide the responsibility of childcare.
Swapping in and out of childcare duties allows each parent to have dedicated work timings with enhanced productivity. If you allocate time to concentrate solely on work ensures each parent gets key tasks done without resentment. Divide the work in a way that one parent stays away from children and focus solely on work while other looks after them.
Focus on the Positives :
There is a positive link between happiness and productivity. Figure out how to make the best of the situation, rather than dwelling on its challenges.
Do not judge yourself too much on what you can’t get done. Individuals at all levels are trying to adjust, finding ways which let them enjoy their time with kids.
Do not overload yourself by getting all things right. Focus on your priorities with your work and get the essentials taken care of. Unimportant tasks can be addressed later. Set realistic goals for both home and work life, and things that matter less can be slid to be taken care of later.
Communicate with family members:
Taking time to explain things is vital in setting boundaries. Be transparent about every member’s schedule which will make it easier for children to understand when you’re off-limits. Create a daily plan for the entire family that includes work and school schedules and make it known to everyone.
Well-structured planning, flexibility and a combination of such measures can help create an environment allowing everyone to fulfil their obligations at the same time maintaining harmony amongst everyone.
Adjust your timings –
If you’re able to work at flexible work timings, utilize that time to deliver the most critical works. Don’t try to mimic the office routine at home. There is no harm in balancing a schedule that helps you adjust your timings with kids around.
Be productive when kids are engaged with other activities or are asleep where you can devote your 100% to work. This will help you spend valuable time with kids whenever they need your attention.
Remain honest with your employer –
Everyone including your boss is trying to adjust to the new ways of working from home. Unavoidable distractions are bound to happen, even with the best laid out plans. Inform your co-workers and your boss about your split work schedule. With schools and daycare being shut for an unprecedented time, most of your colleagues also might be going through the same situation.
Bring it to the notice of your employer that sometimes you are going to be working on odd hours and will get the work done. There might be instances that they may hear noises and interruptions while a conference call. This way people will be more prepared and will not be thrown off by the distraction. Thank you for their patience.
Remember this is not your personal choice but a community issue. Stating the facts in a straightforward way will help convey the point. Let them know that you are keen to find a way that is going to work for both of you. This kind of conversation will help you navigate through the situation effectively and will help everyone-you, your boss, and your team members. Clearly communicating your needs will make your life less stressful.
Maintain Work-Life balance –
Dedicate specific timings to work and keep rest for spending it with family. Keep things clear with your manager to maintain a work-life balance.
Maintain work productivity by working during dedicated hours. Give your best while at work and the rest to your loved ones. Working from home doesn’t mean that you are available for office work throughout the day. Be honest and do not burn out yourself, which will eventually affect your work quality as well as your health. Don’t beat yourself up too much of not being able to get everything done at one go. Relax and take time off for yourself.
Juggling between managing home, kids, household chores and tons of other activities can take a toll on your health. It is an intense situation where we all are together and this too shall pass. Be adaptable and plan out with your family members in navigation this reality. You’ll be able to steer your way out keeping your cool and managing things in a much better way.
Do share your inputs if you have any other strategies to be added to the list shared above.
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