For those seeking better work-life balance, working from home sounds like a great perk. However, as Covid-19 emerged, everyone is encouraged to stay home. Employees work remotely, students have online classes. Something that was once a privilege, now becomes a necessity. Today that schools and children care are closed, you need to work with your kids around. Imagine that you have to work in a noisy environment with your 5-year-old sons or daughters around – working from home could be a fractious option.
As a matter of fact, working from home with your children around is not really ideal. You might still remember that viral video showing a political science professor Robert Kelly’s online interview with BBC News television, where two of his toddlers suddenly glide into his office during the live talk. While the unwelcome distraction seems funny, the anxious look on Robert’s face when such an incident happened indicates that juggling between work commitments and hectic family life can be quite tricky.
If you are experiencing the same and need some tips to help, here are HR in Asia’s hacks to tactfully improve your work productivity even with a hectic family.
If you have some empty space in your house, you can build up your own workspace. It does not have to be an instagramable room or anything like your cubicle in the office. All you need to prepare is a comfortable desk, a chair, a powerstrip, WiFi connection, and some other space to keep your stationeries. When working, do lock the door to prevent your kids from going in while you are trying to focus on your job.
Alternatively, you can turn your bedroom, lounge, attic, or garden house as your workspace during this outbreak. Make sure that those spaces have enough light exposure and are connected to a stable network connection.
If your work does not require you to deal with people in daylight, you can adjust your work time and tell your supervisor that you will finish your responsibility but it might require different time management. As an example, your work requires serenity and the work result can be submitted the next day. That said, you can do your job at night when another family is sleeping or when the house environment is quiet. This way, you can be as productive as you normally do.
You can wear anything or do anything you normally don’t do at work when working from home, like wearing pyjamas or working while laying down. This kind of changes behaviour, nevertheless, might decrease your mood, ability, and productivity
Sara Sutton, CEO and Founder of FlexJobs, told BBC that not having a well-equipped home office space when starting work remotely can cause a temporary decrease in productivity. Changes in behaviour and equipment can also change how we treat our job. Thus, added Sutton, it is always better to take a shower and get dressed, treat your remote work as a real job. This way will likely help you stay alert and productive during the day.
While before Covid-19 your schedules are around commute, work, home, kids time, and sleep, it might not be effective for now, hence, rearrange your schedule to fit your new work-life at home. Your new daily schedule will help plan your time, rather than being randomly and constantly interrupted. If possible, agree on it with your children and let your kids give feedback so you won’t be labelled as a mean dad or mom. Then print it and stick it to a wall or any visible places. Remember that you should also take a break too from your daily work so don’t forget to put break time in your schedule.
One of the best strategies to keep your children away during your productive working time is by creating a deal between you and your kids. In one instance, you can give your child an iPad to study, play YouTube lessons, or anything related to keep them engaged while increasing their knowledge. In another instance, you can offer a surprise at the end of the deal when your kids are able to follow the rule and not disturb you during the work hours. The reward could be anything from cooking their favourite meal, reading storytelling, watching TV shows, etc. This, however, would be so effective if your kids are 10 years old or older. If you have a little baby, do discuss it with your spouse or babysitters (if any).