The New Normal of Working From Home
Adjusting to the new normal of working from home and “Pandemic Living” has been abrupt and fairly confusing. Every day there seems to be new guidelines and requirements. It’s fair to say that many thought that this would blow over in pretty short order, but now it’s clear that …probably not.
So, you’re working from home now. Time to get settled in for the long haul. How do you make that work? Space needs to be carved out for you to do your job effectively while not overtaking some area of the house that everyone uses and disrupting the flow of things there. So let’s look at where to set up shop, even if it won’t be forever.
If you normally go to an “office” and work at a desk, many employers have internal requirements that can reduce injury or strain caused by poor ergonomics resulting from inferior desks and chairs. It’s important to take this into consideration for your working from home set up as well. Being uncomfortable at your home desk, however temporary, will eventually take a toll on the quality of your work, not to mention your body. If you anticipate that this will be even a semi-permanent thing moving forward, perhaps your employer will purchase a new desk and chair for you, or maybe let you bring some of that equipment home for you to use. You’re never worse off for asking, right?
So that everyone has their space, you also need a dedicated space for your work. Something that you don’t have to take down, say, for dinner every night and one where you can function reasonably without interruption. Ideally, a room or space with a door so you can shut out the noise and also have a visual barrier to the rest of the household. The area should be as uncluttered as possible so there is “room” to think and do your job. Cramming a tiny desk into an overflowing walk-in closet will have you picking up your laptop and moving to the living room in no time. Be thoughtful about where you are going to work. It may take a little planning and rearranging, but it should be as close as possible to the work environment you have at the office.
Working from home with the kids!
Having kids at home is another substantial consideration. They may be thrilled to have you at home, but children, especially younger ones, don’t understand the meaning of needing to earn a living…while they’re at home….during a pandemic. Adjustments have to be made on all fronts. Kids thrive with routine because it creates a sense of security, so create one and stick to it. This will block out time for you to work disruption-free, and your kids will know when you are available and when you’re not. Be clear about boundaries…like when the door to your work-space is closed, or how long they must wait to talk to you. This can also help kids to be creative problem-solvers on their own, or to not expect instant responses when they want something.
Be sure that the schedule for everyone is doable in these strange times. Trade with another trusted parent on child-care, so if you need an extended period of quiet for a big project, they can cover you…and vice versa! Kids get a change of scenery and you get your stuff done. BAM!
How others cope with remote working with kids can forge new relationships for you and your children. Being gentle with yourself until a routine is established is going to be the best way to adapt.
But the housecleaning…!
This may be a good time to consider hiring some help. The myth that successful people do it all is exactly that…a myth. Their secret? They delegate. Even if you hire professionals to come in and hit the bathrooms, dusting, and floors, you will be miles ahead of your stress. And that is good for the family during these stressful times.