Today’s “co-workers” are oftentimes a lot different than the ones we’re used to! (Photo from Sarah Cincotta)
For many of us around the globe, “working from home” isn’t just an option anymore – it’s a necessity (and, owing to the global pandemic, often a responsibility).
For those of us with families around the house, the transition to a full-time work from home schedule can be a tricky one. Trying to balance the responsibilities of your job along with the constant presence of family members – children, spouses, parents, grandparents, and others – is a constant and often exhausting process. So, how can you balance the demands of a profession with family time while working from home?
For answers, we went straight to some experts. We’ve asked some of our Aperian Global workers experienced in the work-from-home process for their best tips to help. Here’s what they had to say:
Joyce Lee, GlobeSmart Engagement Manager: My first recommendation? Plan your day strategically, so you have some time to feed your children and set aside some small playtime with them. Develop a reward system to encourage them to spend time on meaningful, yet non-disruptive activities (reading, LEGO bricks or toys, games) and taking care of pets during work time. Those rewards could be free time for iPads, TVs, or video games, or even a small amount of gift cards.
Vikki Olesen, Senior Global Account Manager – My kids (they’re 12, 14, and 17), along with their homework from school, have been doing projects around the house – like cleaning out their closets – to help us out. My daughter and I also made a TikTok video yesterday! It was only about 15 minutes, so it wasn’t too time-consuming – but she snapped it to her friends, and one girl made it her story for the day.
Add in small breaks to jump on the trampoline for ten minutes, walk the dog together, or do something engaging. Carve out small nuggets of time here and there, where you can get some work done and still deliver a little time. I am also going to have them take turns planning and making dinner!
Lone Engel, Senior Program Manager – I have a 9 and an 11-year-old – and I want to start using red, yellow, and green lights for “When you can interrupt!” Also, I am going to institute more structure to the way – identifying when it’s lunch, when it’s time for a mid-morning break, and when the day is over.
Mike Greto, Managing Director, Global Client Strategy: Don’t be afraid to introduce your kids to colleagues and clients on the webcam. I had a call earlier this week with a person working from home, and his kid was basically in his lap, playing w the headset, etc. We rolled with it! In the end, it built real connection and authenticity. No one wants to be that guy from the BBC!
Nicole Ury, Product Marketing Manager – If you’re able to take shifts and trade with your spouse, go into a private working space when it’s your turn. When you trade, spend time with your children in your play space. Try to keep your status updated when your shift is off or on so colleagues know when they can reach you.
Freeda Fernandes, APAC Sales – I’ve had to use different strategies as my daughter has grown over the years. Now that she is 5, it is a lot easier when I explain to her how important it is that I am not distracted. As long as she knows and understands the “why” behind my behavior, she seems to support me fully!
Michael Nadeau, Marketing Content Writer – I’m going to approach this a little differently, as I don’t have any kids, cats, dogs, hedgehogs, aardvarks, unicorns, dragons, or Kraken hanging around my virtual workspace. However, I do have a roommate, in a spacious (but still too small) Boston apartment.
Strangely, a lot of the advice still applies! Let them know you’d like to focus on work during these hours – but say when you’ll be taking a break so you can converse and be a little bit social. Take some time out of the day if your schedules allow you to sit down and watch some TV (we watched the first episode of The Plot Against America this morning, for example). Stake a claim for your working space and make very clear its YOURS.
Oh, and as for other advice? I’ve been freelancing/working from home for years. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Sarah Cincotta, Director, Global Marketing: My 6-year-old is typically pretty good at entertaining herself if she’s at home, and I’m working, but the last few days have been challenging, with her growing bored of her current toys and solo activities.
Together, we’ve come across two different strategies to help her stay entertained, and allow for longer periods for me to get work done:
We know how difficult balancing life and work can be during these strange days – so hopefully these suggestions can help make the days go by a little bit easier!