Congratulations! You survived your first few weeks of quarantine! Many of us are working from home during the Covid-19 quarantine; thusly, teaching our children (aka coworkers) at home now too. This lifestyle takes innovation to a whole new level, from rearranging work-hours to schooling young children used to certain daily routines. We understand the challenges you are facing.
Most people don’t know this but Cyndi homeschooled her four children for nine years. Before starting Novae Design Group, she freelanced in marketing, real estate, and home businesses like Creative Memories, Mary Kay, and a few others. Working from home can be a blessing but also holds challenges in itself. Add a few young coworkers, and life gets even more interesting.
North Carolina extended homeschooling till at least May 15th. So, before you start day drinking and playing hide-and-go-seek from your new coworkers, let’s see if these tips help smooth your days out a bit.
1. Set Up Separate Work Areas
- This seems easy enough but we all know that this may not be that easy. Having a separate work area helps you walk away from work each day. Don’t put it in a place that you relax at, like your bedroom or main living area. Find a space, if possible, where you can leave your work and be able to shut down at the end of your work/school day. The most important thing to remember is to make sure that your workspace mentally sets you up to work.
- Do the same for your young coworkers at home. While high schoolers might do well in their bedrooms, younger children will need a more attentive place to work. A kitchen table or a coffee table (no tv) usually suffices. Once a location is set, keep it there.
- If your coworkers are in Pre-K through 2nd you will find yourself having to micromanage them without your parental hat on. At this point, you will have to share an office space. Limit their interaction with you and each other to school rules (ie: raising their hand, not speaking when you are, etc).
- Keep your meals and breaks outside of your work area. This will help you mentally make it through your day as well as your coworkers. If anyone is using the kitchen table for work, move the snack breaks and lunchtime area to a ‘picnic’ area where everyone can truly break away from the task at hand.
2. Create a Routine
- Set your work hours according to your normal schedule or whatever you or your job has designated as the new norm. Keeping a routine for yourself is important, but hey, if you want to change it up a bit and sleep in, no one is going to stop you.
- When working from home we fall into an obligatory snag called housework. Our minds begin plotting against us on how to do it all. DON’T DO IT. Set your hours and follow them. This includes turning off devices when done. At the very least using that Do Not Disturb option on your phone and set your work hours to match.
- Same for your coworkers if you have any in your home. They are used to a pretty strict routine and the younger they are the harder it can be to break up their “work” schedule. Talk to them about their normal day and what order they usually follow. Ask them if it is ok to change it before making them a new one. Your job may not have allowances to follow their training schedule so keep open communication with your little ones on how to work within your schedule as well.
- Yes, your coworkers may need a bathroom pass. Cyndi used one when homeschooling because she noticed one of hers would often disappear for unwarranted breaks. Limit all breaks to a set time will help set up standards in your workplace.
- And remember, even if you don’t have coworkers at home to take a break yourself.
3. Set Realistic Expectations and Keep Communication Open
- Don’t expect every day to be perfect. Life will get in the way just as it did before. Make a list of daily tasks and then prioritize that list.
- Stay connected with your office, staff, and clients. And if you have coworkers, keep communication open with their instructors. If you get behind, communicate that. Nobody has tread these waters before in our lifetime and no one should be expecting perfection from anyone.
4. Get Dressed
- Ok, at the very least change out of your night PJs to your daytime PJs. Honestly, you will all work better if you get dressed for the day. It doesn’t have to be “work” clothes but putting on daytime clothes will help you be more productive.
- If you are video conferencing, remember to look presentable. This includes your work area that can be seen in the video. Keeping it uncluttered and clean will set a professional setting for the ones on the other end of the video.
5. Know thyself, and Your Co-Workers
- One of the hardest things to do is taking time for yourself, let alone doing it on purpose. If you are feeling icky sitting in your new workspace, readjust. Maybe change out your chair, or add a pillow or two.
- Take a walk and stretch your legs. We can still go outside; however, don’t take a field trip to the neighbors or go to the park just to entertain yourself or your co-workers. Safety still has to come first. Don’t forget your furry friends. Maybe that quick walk around the yard is for them too!
Just stuck at home? Maybe your job did not give allowances to “work from home” so think of it as you’ve been placed into a season of rest. Use this time to refocus and recharge. If you need a little support check the NC Unemployment. They’ve recently reduced restrictions on unemployment to help those out of a job during Covid-19. If you’re having trouble applying (getting booted from the site or pages won’t load) try loading the webpage early in the morning when there is less traffic.
If you are looking for more business-related tips check out our blog 5 Tips to Help Your Business Survive Covid-19.