With the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), many people have transitioned from their traditional office environment to working at home. For working parents, there’s an added layer of complexity. Schools and childcare centers in most regions have closed for the foreseeable future, forcing parents to juggle between their job, caring for and teaching their kids. The mere thought of this can be extremely overwhelming. Below, Dayna Aravich, Area Vice President and a Women in Sales Board member at Gartner shares some tips and tricks with the parents to master working from home and parenting.
Expectation Vs Reality
If you search “work from home” on the internet, it’s likely your results will yield an array of stock images showing happy, professionally dressed people working in their neatly-organized workspaces. For work at home parents, this couldn’t be farther from reality. Let’s face it, kids demand a lot of attention, and they usually want it at the most inconvenient times forcing parents to desperately reach for the mute button and give a stern look to keep them from making an on-screen appearance during a conference call. Keeping kids entertained all the time may seem nearly impossible, especially when trying to manage your workload.
Tips to Succeed
There’s no need to panic. Here are a few things you can do to navigate the situation and be as productive as possible- even with your little ones tagging along.
- Create and follow a daily schedule. Kids thrive when they have a routine. Planning your day provides structure and also gives them something to look forward to. Hint: A visual aid for younger children can make it easier for them to follow.
- Prepare your meals in advance, that way when the kids are ready to eat, all you need to do is warm it up or quickly pass them something while you continue on with your meeting.
- Maintain a calendar cadence with your spouse/partner to take care of kids in alternate shifts. This will enable both of you to achieve your work goals while still allowing for some quality time with the kids.
- Managing your meetings will be the most challenging task while working from home. You might have a meeting with clients or leaders. During these times, it is okay to set up a variety of activities for your kids or even bribe them with a candy or a movie for some uninterrupted time during calls.
- Bringing your kids to a team meeting is okay too. There is a good chance, others on the call are facing similar challenges and disruptions of their own. A simple disclaimer at the beginning of the meeting should suffice. If you’re not comfortable doing that, you can always close your camera whenever your family drops in to avoid creating a distraction. Remember, these are not normal circumstances and there’s only so much we can control.
- Taking regular breaks throughout the day gives you a chance to get reorganized and also spend some time with your kids. A little undivided attention may buy you some uninterrupted work time later. For example: build some lego house or paint your daughter’s nails!
- Improvising along the way. Having an off day, lacking routine and any level of organization is going to happen- and that is okay! Approach things one day at a time and remember, tomorrow will be a new day and you can try again, all the more informed.
Parents, what’s worked for you? Share your parenting hacks in the comments section below.
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