So… we find ourselves in lockdown and working from home once again. Are you grappling with your home office setup? Which video call app to use? And have you found yourself with some new little work colleagues?
As a virtual corporation at Upland Consulting, we are no strangers at working from home – even before the pandemic – and have some tips to increase and maintain your productivity at home… particularly when navigating around your newest colleagues.
It’s so easy to roll out of bed and mosey on into the home office in your PJ’s. This is fine for an hour or so. However, changing out of the bedroom attire and into the day wear increases motivation. You don’t necessarily need the corporate uniform; simply changing into clean casual clothes gives you that boost of motivation to get through the morning. In the kids’ mind, mum or dad in pyjamas can mean play time. The confusion that follows when you tell
them to you need to work may not be worth the melt down!
Plan Plan Plan
The beauty of working from home is that your day can start, pretty much, whenever you would like it to. Are you an early riser? Make use of those early morning hours by getting some of the routine admin jobs out of the way before the phone calls and video meetings start. If you are lucky enough to have kids who sleep until a decent hour, rising early and putting an hour in before they wake up will set your day up nicely.
The key to working from home with kids, though, is planning! The night before, have a look at your meetings for the day and plan what the kids will be doing while you are on that Zoom call. You don’t necessarily need to stick them in front of the tv. Drawing, colouring, Lego, dress ups or schoolwork can occupy them for a good hour. The point, though, is to explain their schedule for the day to them so they know what to expect.
There is also nothing wrong with showing the kids how all this technology works. Do a mock Zoom or Teams call with them. They will then know what it looks like when you are on a call and (hopefully) with practice they will know to leave mum or dad alone. If all else fails, no one minds if a little head sticks up in the background of your meeting at some point.
We’re told time and time again to get up and take regular breaks but, at times, that’s easier said than done. So, during your planning time, schedule your breaks into your calendar. Then, you will receive a reminder that in 15 minutes, its time to get up and move around!
Go one step further and use these breaks to be with the kids. Even just 10 minutes to read a book will give them a boost and the inclination to soldier on when you go back to the desk.
Don’t be slave to the work day…
Depending on your business or your job, working from home doesn’t always mean you have to be at your desk from 9am – 5pm like you would in the workplace. Perhaps you work well at night after the kids have gone to bed? No reason you can’t work your day around that. Work in the morning and then take a few hours’ break before getting back into it. The idea is to work around your kids rather than having them work around you… lets face it, we’ve tried that… when has it ever worked?