Let’s face it: most of us are stuck with “work at home” schemes due to the recent coronavirus outbreak. A lot of us are under some form of community quarantine or lockdown to lessen the likelihood of the infectious disease from spreading, also known as “flattening the curve”.
But what can you do if you want to work but have kids around to distract you all the time? Don’t worry – we have some parenting tips that you can do while you also check work e-mails and do tasks at the comfort of your own home:
The first step to surviving the coronavirus outbreak in a “work from home” scheme is to set schedules with your kids. Think of it as if your kids are going to school but are going to be home-schooled so that they can have discipline and not bother you otherwise.
For example, you can:
- Set the times they can eat breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner
- Set yard exercise time or playtime with siblings and family
- Set indoor time or home-schooling with parents or elders
- Make sure those times do not conflict your schedule of home-based work
By setting a schedule for your kids, they will most likely not bother you anymore when you are making an important sales report for your boss. Instead, they could simply be reading books or coloring activity pages by themselves or with siblings.
Communication is the key to having productivity, not just in work, but also with managing your kids. Tell your children how important it is that you are submitting this presentation or report to your boss and that afterward, you can play with them.
On the other hand, you can also warn your bosses or clients when you are video conferencing. Tell them that you may have kids accidentally walk into the room during meetings and during this time, there might be a problem that you need to attend to.
If you find that you can’t go online for a while due to certain problems, such as…
- Family emergencies
- Lack of internet connection
- Power interruption in your area
- Health problems
…you need to communicate with your boss or client right away through SMS, especially if there’s no internet at the moment. This is why leaving your client/boss with your emergency contact numbers can be crucial so that they can let you know when there’s something important to do or to have a video conference about, or if you have an emergency and want to let them know ASAP.
Most of the time, it can be difficult to drive kids away when you’re busy or making an important video call to your client or employees (or students if you’re a teacher). This is why setting healthy boundaries can be important, both for your kids and for your clients/boss. Here are some examples:
1. Keep your room off-limits during work. It would be helpful if your computer is situated in a separate room, such as your bedroom so that when you make an important video call, you can just put a “do not disturb” sign so that your kids know that there’s something important going on. Alternatively, you can also lock the door and warn them.
2. Keep the kids busy. If your kids are quite persistent and keep knocking on your door during video conferences, you can try giving them different activities, such as:
- Answering activity books
- Coloring books
- Mobile phone games
- Video games (if you have a console such as Nintendo DS, Xbox or PS4, or even PC games)
- Watching TV
- Outdoor games (make sure your kids do not get out of the house and only stay on your yard to avoid coronavirus threats)
Related post: Why Your Kids Should Play Sports
3. Inform your boss/clients about personal break time. As work can be exhausting and reading hundreds of spreadsheets could strain your eyes, work from home is also like office work – you need breaks sometimes. Tell your boss that you’re about to have lunch or snack first, and you can do it with the kids so that you can balance out work and family time.
4. If you only have one computer and two of you work from home (or have online assignments), set alternating shifts. For instance, your partner also needs to submit requirements but you also need to answer that important video call. This is where communication is important – both of you need to tell your client/boss that you only share one computer and there needs to be shifting and adjustment in schedules.
This also works the same if anyone in your house is a student who needs to comply with online requirements from their teacher/professor (e.g. quizzes, homework, tests, etc.) so setting schedules is important.
Work from home during coronavirus outbreak can be quite a new and sometimes bothersome experience. However, with proper time management, healthy boundaries, good communication, and a focused mindset, combined with balanced activities between family time and work time, you can pull off any sales report for your boss or finish the video conference without interruption. And as always, stay safe!