We have reached the other half of 2020 – it’s August. With Covid19 refusing to just tame down, the latter part of the year is going to be no different. Office and schools are shut, and working from home with kids is becoming the new norm. I think the funniest video of this year can very well be the BBC dad’s new work from home reporting wherein his children barged in the middle of the video! While it sure is funny, it also highlights the fact that working from home is here to stay. Better, it might become a thing of permanence worldwide.
People across the world have different views about working from home with kids. For some, this pandemic came at a time when they wanted to actually stay at home and take care of their kids. For others, it means a whole new level of multitasking between managing their own Video calls vs the kids’. As a single mother, I feel working from home with kids can be both fun and challenging at the same time. The current situation is kind of making up for the lost time I couldn’t;t spend with my little one in the past. But along with this I also find myself overwhelmed at times. Overwhelmed – owing to the fact that there are days when I miss my Whatsapp chats only to find there was a Zoom online class scheduled by my daughter’s class teacher!
Work from home- the new normal
Just yesterday my daughters’ online classes resumed after her summer vacations. Coming to think of it I am getting more paranoid than her! One look at my WhatsApp chat can reveal all! All conversations are literally centered around working from home. In between all this mayhem, there are a couple of things I have learned in the past couple of months. It has been an understanding I have acquired after a mixed bout of both good and bad sides of the coin!
A perfect combination of various factors has helped me to keep my sanity alive in trying times of the Covid19. I also understand that I am not alone in this world of juggling tight deadlines, delivering projects on time. And I believe that gives me a sense of calmness, that I am not riding this boat alone! There are numerous similar parents just like me- who might be engulfed with diverse emotions as I write this blog.
I might not be nailing it perfectly but this is how I am surviving the whole Work from home situation with my daughter. Have a look :
1.Create a time-table
Just like in the pre-pandemic days you used to have a proper schedule for the entire day, try chalking out something similar now as well. So what if you are at home? In fact, I believe that fixing a time for everything while you are at home gets even more significant. We tend to ignore a lot of things at home because of the nonexistence of a conventional routine.
Creating a time table keeping your work hours and your child’s routine in mind is of utmost importance. One needs to identify when they can get back to calls, and when they can have mindful breaks to engage with kids.
And as luck would have it, we have finally come to the time, where no one is blamed for having kids( kids cooing in the background of parents’ video calls has become the new customary)!
2. Be open in communication to your office colleagues/manager
This has by far been the most effective tip I can give all the parents who are working from home with kids. Being openly communicative with your boss/colleagues will go a great deal in establishing a factor. There might be a couple of times wherein your child might need some me-time in between work hours. Being frank about the exact situation undoubtedly helps in such kinds of circumstances.
Do not be very strict with the schedule. Take mindful breaks involving your child as well. We are currently living in times of a global pandemic and if nothing, employers have become more heedful of the whole work from home life.
3. Set up a dedicated work area
Having a dedicated work area not only creates a smart divide between the office and home, but it increases your productivity too. A dedicated area with a table and chair set up is critically important I feel. Of course one can lounge on the bed a couple of times a day but trust a corner for maximum throughput in terms of getting work done This also sets up a tone for discipline both for you and the entire family.
4. Push towards creating a great support system
Seek support from your family members as and when needed. This will not only help you sail patiently throughout the day but also gets key tasks done. No matter what kind of family set up you stay in, but getting that vital support is pertinent. If you are in single parenting set up, then you can work out a collective approach with other moms and hire a babysitter for all kids. This way it turns out easy on the pocket and also helps kids bond with each other. In other words, it is like having a day-care right at your home.
I live with my parents currently. While that means they take care of my daughter so that I can have uninterrupted work calls. But that also means I help them in the evening when the office has officially winded up. Support is a two-way process and I personally feel it works great that way.
5.Engage with your kids
We may whine about the struggles we face while working from home with kids, but let us not forget the days when we actually yearned to spend more time with them owing to our busy and erratic schedules.
Engaging and keeping children entertained throughout makes you even more productive and can increase your happiness factor.
Chalk out a small schedule for the child also- as to how they can keep themselves mindfully engaged and in between your work calls, you can also jump in and have a gala time with them! It is like if children know what to do as the day progresses, they are less likely to pester you.