Working from home? You’re not alone. Statistics collected before the COVID-19 pandemic showed that five million employees (3.6 percent of the workforce) worked from their homes at least half of the time. Those numbers are undoubtedly increasing.
When it comes to balancing work with home life, here are four essential survival tips to ensure your work gets done, both professionally and personally.
1. Make a schedule.
For those of us who are new to working from home, the need to manage our time is a necessity. The good news is that these skills will transfer into any work setting. And it starts with a plan. “The easiest way to do this is to create a to-do list for each day. It should include very specific, measurable and achievable tasks,” suggests writer Tom Popomaronis, who has worked from home for almost a decade. “You may need to adjust tomorrow’s list depending on what you get done today.”
2. Define work time versus free time.
It’s not just kids that misunderstand the remote work model. Often a spouse will assume that since you are home, you are available to handle certain chores or tasks. It’s time to be very specific about your work responsibilities and what that looks like. For example, if the office door is closed, you need the house to be quiet. A great bargaining tool for “kid compliance” is a promise to play with them later during the day, which brings us to playtime.
3. Schedule playtime.
Yes, you have work obligations, but that doesn’t mean you must ignore downtime. Even people who work a traditional schedule need to include personal time for exercise, meditation, and, in this case, playing with your kids. Let’s be honest: your kids don’t want hours and hours of your attention. So, spending 40 minutes playing a board game with your kids will often open up two hours of time for you as your kids find something else to do.
4. Be patient.
At a time when seeing children in the background of a video conference meeting becomes commonplace, it’s important to be patient with yourself and others. We are all in this together, and we can only do what we can. Be patient. This is a new (and confusing) experience for your family as well.
Working from home has its challenges, but the rewards are equally satisfying. With a little preparation and a lot of patience, your remote work experience will be positive and productive.