Over the past few months, our day to day life has changed almost completely. As a result of COVID-19, most countries around the world have been enforcing social distancing measures. That means many professionals have been forced to switch to working from home, and are now working remote with their family.
But working remotely isn’t the same as working from home during the lockdown. First of all, we cannot choose the place we work — we’re confined to our home or wherever we are self-isolating. Secondly, due to the social distancing, we aren’t allowed to interact freely with other people.
For families with children, this means no outside help for childcare from nannies or other family members. Also, for some, it will be the first time ever that all parental units are working from the same place. “Leaving the work stress at work” is no longer an option.
No one knows how long that new reality is going to last — but it’s important that the families working from home adjust accordingly so they could emerge from this crisis stronger than they went in.
Remote Work for Your Family
For many people, the apparent benefits of working from home far outweigh the drawbacks. However, that doesn’t mean that even the most enthusiastic of telecommuters don’t go stir-crazy from time to time. Now more than ever, in a time when many people are working remotely for an indefinite period, it’s essential to set aside time for yourself so you can decompress. This downtime can look like going for a walk, exercising, taking a nap, or preparing your favorite meal for yourself.
No matter how you choose to relax, be sure to prioritize it. Otherwise, you could put yourself at risk of a burnout, which is especially undesirable and perhaps even harder to manage during these uncertain times. If you have difficulties setting aside “me” time for fear of settling into laziness, ask a loved one to hold you accountable so that it becomes a consistent part of your routine.
One of the most beautiful things about working from home is that it allows you to customize your working schedule. Of course, this aspect is more beneficial for some than others because of personality differences. Still, the bottom line is that the freedom you have to set your working hours can hardly compare to a traditional work setting.
But if you find yourself butting heads with the other telecommuter(s) in your home, take a break! Not only will you get a chance to reset and start fresh, but you could be giving your fellow telecommuter some much needed alone time to either finish his or her work, or to relax as well.
Remember, how you design your schedule is totally up to you, but if you’re living with other telecommuters, keep their need for space in mind when you’re breaking up your workday. Communication is the key when coordinating daily schedules — make sure that you reach a compromise and don’t prioritize your needs above others.
Find Your Productive Place
Working from home gives you the rare opportunity to turn your bed into your cubicle. While this might work for some telecommuters, for others it sends them into a lazy, unproductive snooze-fest. Unfortunately, finding your productive place in your home might take some trial and error, but once you find your “magic corner,” stay there! If you’re living with someone else working remotely, discuss with them whether they prefer to work alone or not.
If you find you’re having a hard time staying on task in even the most serene of spaces, do a productivity audit. Ask yourself the question, “What do I need to do today to feel like I accomplished something?” Think about your most productive and least productive days; what did you do on both of them to feel that way? Analyze your actions and pinpoint which ones stoke your productivity the most. Doing this can help alleviate procrastination and help you get in the zone even faster. This will help you figure out the best remote work practices for your family, as you can instruct them on specific areas to leave for your “work zone.”
Once you’ve found your productivity place, stick to it and make it your routine to work there. Sometimes you might feel tempted to go and from your bed or kitchen table, but unless those are your perfect productivity spots — resist that temptation.
Make a To-Do List
Never underestimate the power of to-do lists; even Hive workers swear by their magic. Have you ever heard of the Zeigarnik Effect? It’s a psychological concept that demonstrates how people’s desire to accomplish a particular task increases their chances of both remembering and completing it. The human brain is built for structure and organization, two traits that telecommuters often find difficult to recreate when working from home.
Better yet, you can construct your to-do list in a way that keeps you on task and the other telecommuters in your house sane. To-do lists, especially when built out with a tool like Hive, are also a great way to structure your otherwise freewheeling day. Adding a sense of structure to your working hours can also alleviate any anxiety you feel over having complete control over your schedule, as well as offer instant gratification as you check each task off your list.
If you’re looking to visualize your ideal day, make a timeline to prevent procrastination from affecting your work and helping you create a structure to tackle your to-do lists. A good idea might also be asking one of your family members to keep you accountable on your tasks and daily routine. Utilize the support from your family while you work remote!
Work in Shifts
Working in shifts is especially beneficial for telecommuting parents. Staying at home all day with children can be harrying by itself, but adding a workload on top of this can drive even the calmest person crazy. This potential hazard drives home why it may benefit telecommuting parents to divide up their daily tasks to help keep the peace around the house.
Planning this will take a good amount of collaboration, though; you’ll need to prioritize your daily tasks, discuss your partner’s daily priorities with them, and reach an agreement that balances both you and your partner’s priorities and need for alone time. Since your children’s needs and priorities are often much more fluid than yours, create some alternative “working shifts” with your partner to counteract the adverse effects any unexpected events may have on your daily workflow.
Managing work and family stuff simultaneously might be overwhelming. Remember that those around you might be adjusting to those changes at their own pace, give them a bit of space if they need it. And no matter what — keep on supporting and caring for each other through these tough times.
This post was written by Vlad Shvets from Paperform.