The COVID-19 outbreak has forced millions of us to work from home; many of whom have never done so before.
If the last few weeks have marked your first ever work-from-home period, first of all – congratulations, and secondly, if you’ve found it difficult to adjust – you’re not alone.
Despite an upward trend of home working in the last ten years – the number of people working from home has increased by 25%, from 3.6 million in 2008 to 4.5 million in 2018 – many workers are still new to the concept.
Social media and video technology have played a big part in helping newly remote workers to feel connected as they share ideas and suggestions and can check-in with colleagues regularly.
However, the big topic on many people’s minds is the balancing act between remote working and managing your home life – especially if you have children.
At Zestfor, over the years we have become experts on remote working, so thought we’d share with you some of the invaluable information about juggling your home life while working from home, especially those of you experiencing this for the first time.
Adapting to the Change
First of all, we cover the topic of adapting, which everyone manages at different speeds and in different ways.
If working from your living room or spare bedroom feels strange – that’s because it is! You will need time to adapt to your new ‘normal’ and to find a new routine (more on this later).
Where possible, aim to recreate your regular workspace at home. This means using a P.C. (preferably your work P.C.) rather than a laptop. It might be tempting to work from a laptop if lack of space is a problem, but research shows that you perform better working from a desktop. They are faster, more powerful and are much better for your posture according to a report in the Journal of Ergonomics.
For some people, it might even mean taking your work desk home to accommodate your P.C. or commandeering an unused table in your home.
Aim to work somewhere as quiet as possible away from distracting T.V.s, radios and other noises – remember that the goal is to trick your mind into thinking that between 9-5 you are ‘at work’, rather than at home.
Be Mindful of Your Individual Situation
You might be tempted to emulate your colleagues’ new routines – many workers will now be sharing with you what their day consists of over Skype, Zoom and FaceTime.
But don’t be disheartened if your colleagues seem to be packing much more into their day than you. Remember that everyone is different.
It might be feasible for one person to complete an hour-long yoga session before work and then a 5k in the evening. For others, doing the laundry and preparing and serving three meals a day for their school-age children will be an accomplishment.
Be mindful of your individual situation and speak to friends and family on the phone regularly; aim for at least once a day. It will take a little while for you to get into a new routine but let me explain further why this is so essential.
Finding a Routine that Works for You
I think that finding a routine that works for you is arguably the essential part of balancing your home life with new remote working.
How to do this:
- Write a list of everything that needs to be done at home – if you have children at home, this list is likely to be quite long – and the times that each task needs to be completed by. Be strict with your timings.
- Write a list of everything you usually do at work. This includes breaks and lunch, daily and weekly meetings – one bonus here is that you can cross off your commute!
- Now, combine the two lists to see where, if anything overlaps and prioritise.
- If you normally only take half an hour for lunch, but you are entitled to an hour, and you now have the task of feeding children – take the full hour.
- Incorporate your daily exercise into your daily routine. This can be done in the morning before work or afterwards. Exercise does wonders for your mental health, so it is more crucial now than ever to clear your headspace.
- Depending on when you read this post, we are allowed and, in fact, encouraged to take regular daily exercise outside, be that running, walking or cycling.
Finding a routine is a case of trial and error. When something works, like you started work early and got lots done in the first half an hour that generally takes up the first hour or so of your day – repeat this the next day, and so on.
If you take a walk at 8 pm and find that you can’t settle afterwards – go earlier the next day. You are in a new work scenario, so find out what works for you.
Remote Working Parents
Remember that this unique situation will impact your children just as much as you, and some will find it hard to adapt to being at home indefinitely. Ultimately, the boredom will set in.
As I mentioned earlier, your lunch hour will be essential for you to spend time with your children and your partner if they are also at home, so make sure you take the time you need. Your employer, I am sure will be flexible and will understand it’s not easy to juggle everything.
If you find yourself struggling to work to your usual standard due to your parenting duties, now is the time to have a frank conversation with your team.
The COVID-19 situation has thrown many businesses into the deep end, and most are still trying to master remote working options, furloughs and other huge changes. If you initially agreed to work from home full time but feel that it is not realistic – speak to your team about a change to your hours, your role or both.
For more information about remote working, head to our blog, where we have multiple blogs on the various issues surrounding remote working.
For more information on how we can support you to support your team, call 0845 548 0833 or email us.
Until next time,
Zestfor specialises in developing Training programmes and resources scientifically tailored for technical markets – including Pharmaceutical, I.T., and Life Sciences.
Our blend of in-classroom, online, and virtual live-stream delivery methods will engage and assure even the most introverted team members from the first meeting – whether face-to-face or virtually. To have a brief chat, call us on 0845 548 0833. Alternatively, please email our team here.