The Kids Are Your New Coworkers - *Virtual Assistant Israel Best tips for working from work with kids

The Kids Are Your New Coworkers

We’ve all heard of Take Your Kid to Work Day, but with the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), most everyone everywhere is under municipal-ordered quarantine or other restrictions. This has led to people working from home en masse, across almost every industry.

For remote workers who work evenings, you have probably established a work rhythm that works for you and your family. But for daytime workers who’ve been flung into this set of circumstances, it can be quite the adjustment. Schools and daycares are also closed, which means the kids are home, too! Some school districts are conducting full or partial school days online, which will keep the kids pretty busy while you roll up your sleeves and adjust to your new workflow.

Since many school programs are not offering online learning, and depending on the quarantine requirements where you live, it could mean managing working under a whole new paradigm and meeting your kids’ many (evolving) needs. They are also adjusting, which can add to their stress and anxiety – particularly if they are scared about the virus and its impact.

Unlike a regular vacation, you can’t send the kids on activities out of the house. You can’t arrange playdates. Your kids may get bored, which means they will be looking for more attention, stimulation, meals and snacks, and more – and the complexities increase if you have small children.

So what can you do? While smart businesses will be accommodating and understanding about this widespread change to the employment mindset, many will still expect you to deliver at maximum focus, attention, and participation. Not so easy to have a client call filled with tremendous detail, or a complex sales pitch, while kids are waging loud pillow and pasta fights in the room.

Here are a few tips that might help you survive the coming weeks:

  • Talk to your kids in advance about the nature of your work and how they can help you
  • Restructure your work day to accommodate more breaks to take care of kids’ needs while meeting your hours expectations. If you have a partner who is also working from home, alternate breaks so the kids get more active time with a parent
  • Move as many meetings or focus-intensive work to nap/sleep hours, as much as possible
  • Engage your kids in your work. Can they help in any way? What can they participate in that helps them feel included?
  • Develop projects that your kids can do, and have them work on them and arrange a “meeting time” every day to consult with you about their business plan or other venture
  • Set a good example. Don’t stay in your pajamas all day. Show your kids that working from home can be an exciting and viable professional career choice
  • When possible, try to work in a room that is not in the direct line of the kids’ regular traffic paths. If your space is limited, set hours of when the kids should be in each room to help minimize interruptions

 

It’s important that your employer and clients are kept in the loop about things that might impede you, so they can work with you to be accommodating during this time. Many businesses don’t want to lose productivity, so it may be a bit of a sticky topic, depending on your culture, but up-front communication about these matters will help:

  • Projected or possible slower connection times because of increased internet use volume in your area
  • Hours/breaks accommodations you need in order to balance the new dynamic
  • Forthcoming conversation about the care needs of your children based on age or special needs
  • Days you should work from home and days you should take as PTO (keep in mind, some companies will take these days out of your annual bank. Others may have more flexibility)
  • Ask if your employer or your school district to provide supplemental computers and/or tablets to you for temporary use, to accommodate the added demands of family members who all need to take classes or work online, and may need more units to accommodate these needs

 

It may be a good idea to contact your internet service provider, to see what kind of temporary boosts may be available, to accommodate for the added use.

Meanwhile, try not to panic and remember everyone is in the same set of circumstances. Do your best to be productive but don’t beat yourself up for hiccups. Stay flexible, and take time for regroup time if you need to create a different solution. You may need to improvise, but this can be a time to adopt new skills and approaches you may not have thought of otherwise! You may emerge more professionally adept and innovative!

 

 Submitted by Darcie