Working From Home with children
Bellow Pratish one of our Project Managers talks us through the disruptions and interruptions he faces and how he copes with working from home with three children.
As the coronavirus continues to spread, most people who are used to working in an office environment suddenly face the reality of a new workspace - their own home. As well as all having to self-isolate at home, schools across the country have also all shut, meaning the majority of families will be stuck in the house together for extended periods of time. Whilst at first the prospect of working from home may seem idyllic, the reality of having to juggle work commitments and family life can soon catch up. This blog outlines the distractions I face working at home, and how I maintain a productive work-life whilst also being a patient parent.
My 3 young boys (ages 7, 5 & 4) are now at home after their schools all closed. The distraction for me isn’t them making noises or screaming away, it’s more the fact that I want to spend more time with them and want to enjoy the school from home experience. However, most of all I want to go out and enjoy playtime once again with them. Wanting to spend more time with my kids now that they are at home does distract me from my usual work routine from time to time. Below, are some of the steps I take and would recommend to others to successfully work from home:
Have a designated workspace
I have created an office at home, although I know not everyone has the option of a separate space, but for those who do, a designated spot to spend your working day can help boost productivity and focus. As many don’t have the luxury of a separate space, I would recommend using a bedroom, as this allows you to separate from the area where the rest of your family will be. If you can’t work in a separate room, then noise-canceling headphones might be your next best option.
Communicate with your partner
As I live with my wife and children it’s very important that we discuss each other’s workloads. That way we can establish how each other’s working days are going to run, whilst taking care of our children. We co-ordinate our working hours so each of us gets time with the children as they are now being schooled from home.
Tell your colleagues in advance
No one’s going to kick off about you having to take care of your children during lockdown, but it’s worth giving your team members a heads up. My internal colleagues are very understanding about the fact that I have children at home and from time to time I may get the odd distraction with them entering the office. My youngest son has appeared as a guest on many internal conference calls now, which always tends to brighten my colleague’s days. It feels like now he is a part of the team; other than the fact he doesn’t get to interact with our amazing clients.
Coming from a project management background, I have gained experience in working out what needs to be achieved each week and then creating daily checklists, so I am able to successfully manage my workload. I make this realistic based on the circumstances and what needs to be achieved without impacting my clients or the company. I then make sure I deliver.
One benefit of working from home is that I am no longer having to commute to work. I am able to use the time I save in the morning to deliver on important tasks. It’s all about staying organised and managing your workload so that you don’t fall behind but also being able to work around your current lifestyle.
I find it can be easy for work to seep into home life but, now more than ever, mastering a work-life balance is key to maintain a healthy lifestyle and fully enjoying the parenting experience with your children.
Let's end on a tiny victory from our Account Director Danielle about WFH with children:
"Now that we’re spending so much time at home, my toddler has been keeping busy in the kitchen baking. So a few times a week, she presents me with cake, biscuits or other sweet treats for an afternoon snack! It brightens up my day to have a little break with her."