While working from home, a shocking reality has emerged for many of us as we share space not designed for — or intended as — our fulltime office. How will we navigate this new reality? Are we doomed to daily frustration or fortunate to spend more time with those who love we most — even if they’re not ideal office mates?
We are now imminently accessible to a spouse, partner, child or pet seeking support or attention. During week one, it was a fun distraction. In week two, reality set in, things changed, and frustration emerged. The challenge of keeping children entertained (and productive) has elevated teachers and daycare providers to a saintly status. And once longed for, the extra time with spouses and partners reminds us that absence, at times, makes the heart grow fonder.
To tell you the truth, I have struggled to find balance. But after week three, I’m beginning to find fortune and shed frustrations.
5 Lessons I’ve Learned Working from Home (with Family): 1. You Need to Mark Your Territory
In this new normal, you are the intruder to your family, and you need to define your workspace in the home. I’ve found that the end of the dining room table works well, and for a stand-up option, the dresser in a spare bedroom is brilliant. The space matters less than defining it for your family. Clarity is key.
This is where you’ll be working day-in and day-out, and to work effectively, you need focus. Establish cues that reveal when interruptions are not welcome; such as, when headphones are on, you’re in do not disturb mode. Simply be purposeful in defining your space and boundaries that will help you to be most productive.
2. It can Feel like Mission Impossible
The reality of the new work from home, school from home situation is this: It’s just not all possible. And that’s okay. We can all do our best to make color-coded schedules, chore lists, and plan for every hour of the working day — but things will come up. Somewhere in between your work and Zoom calls, your kids’ homework, art projects, and video sessions (and playing chef, housekeeper, and judge and jury in the court of clashing siblings) plans start to fray or, in some cases, completely unravel.
Do your best to limit the meltdown moments but understand that we’ll all be lucky enough to experience them on a semi-regular basis. Encourage independent work, and also plan to play teacher more than you initially imagined. Scheduling my kids’ meetings or important project time in my work calendar has helped minimize some frustration, and also ensures that I’ll be available to help with technology or be present to provide support. Cut yourself some slack, cut your kids and family some slack, and do what works best for you and your family as a whole.
3. I See You; You See Me: A Lesson in Vulnerability
It can be uncomfortable to reveal glimpses into our personal lives that video calls open us up to. Let’s overcome the discomfort and be intentional, together. Consider hosting an ‘extended team’ meeting where every colleague brings kids into the frame to say hello. Open a team meeting with one team member introducing their child who then shares a storyContinue reading