These days, there’s plenty of talk about setting up the ‘right environment’ when it comes to working from home. Yet for those of us who share the home-space with other members of the household, this is easier said than done.
The reality that many Australians currently face at home every single day is balancing our working from home requirements while managing others in the household. It can be an unfamiliar challenge, but it is achievable.
Take the following practical steps to make it work for both yourself and those living in your home – whether they may be a housemate or our nearest and dearest.
Create a family plan
Setting a daily routine for yourself is important for your productivity and is just as vital for others in your household. Your routine and the priorities of others should be discussed so everyone is on the same page. Here are some tips to consider when setting your household’s routine for the weeks ahead:
• Encourage good sleep and eating habits for adults and children
• Plan breaks both with the kids and downtime for yourself without them
• Schedule two sets of ‘deep work’ throughout the day
• Get creative with your schedule, then try to stick to this routine.
The Harvard Business Review provides further advice when working from home with your kids, your partner, your parents or older persons.
The University of Sydney has also released some resources for parents working from home with kids during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.
Set healthy boundaries
With flexible working arrangements, we should feel empowered to respectfully express and communicate expectations – both at home and to our colleagues. While working from home, you may need to:
• Set realistic expectations about how much time you will need to meet goals
• Be upfront with your manager about the flexibility and adjustments you need to make to your schedule
• Let your co-workers know there may be some background noise during phone calls and video meetings
• Have visual cues to minimise disruption – designated ‘do not interrupt’ spaces, signs on doors for times that cannot be interrupted such as meetings.
Be kind to yourself and others
Every family or household is different. It’s great to try and keep to your family plans but be aware that it’s okay to simply use it as a guideline. Don’t let the plan create more anxiety or tension if you or members of your household are having trouble sticking to it. You can always modify your plans along the way, so give yourself and others grace as everyone has different coping styles.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed working from home as a parent or carer, visit the Beyond Blue website to find ways to cope or call Lifeline on 13 11 14 to talk to someone right now.
For more information related to COVID-19, or other relevant resources, visit the Wesley Mission website.