Remote work tips for parents with kids

Working from home in a remote environment is suddenly our new normal and throw in the fact that we’re having to homeschool the kids doesn’t make it any easier. So here’s three things to make the days easier.


FOMO – Don’t believe the hype

The reality is that sometimes working remotely can leave you feeling left out of the office environment.  We’re social animals and we crave connections with others.

With some of the team still going into the office, questions creep in; are they getting the good cases/projects? what’s the water cooler gossip? and most importantly are they getting valuable face time with the decision makers?

Being present in the workplace has significant advantages and to manage the FOMO and its’ friends, loneliness and isolation, you’ll need to increase your efforts in virtual activities involving office communication, connection and activities. Go to the virtual coffee or virtual yoga sessions (who am I kidding – virtual wine!) and be the one to offer new and exciting suggestions. Use tools such as Slack for staying connected in the office and Socially for virtual events.   


Productivity

Prior to this home schooling phenomenon, research indicated that productivity was higher for a remote worker who was not subjected to casual interruptions during the day.  With the demand for parental supervision, I’d suggest that the ‘distraction ratio’ has reversed or at least equalled out.  

Adjusting expectations to individual circumstances will be key to maintaining good workplace relationships during this remote working time.  It’s unrealistic to expect people to work longer hours now they don’t have a daily commute, just as it is unrealistic to assume those without homeschooling commitments will be able to work non stop without any breaks.

Ensuring there is a clear understanding of the expectations of both the employer and the employee will make this time in isolation much smoother.  We’d recommend having this chat sooner rather than later.


Self discipline

Working remotely whether it is on a permanent basis or just the temporary event we’re experiencing now, requires a significant element of self direction and those lucky ones homeschooling their kids have an increased appreciation for what this means!

With only “output” on which employees are judged in a remote working environment, employees must be motivated, more skillful communicators, more effective at maintaining relationships and more resourceful and self-sufficient.

Maintaining good self discipline whilst juggling other commitments including the mental health impacts of the current situation can be a tough ask for us all. Speak to and ask advice of colleagues, peers and mentors to get their take on what drives their self discipline including daily routines.


A future tip

Remote work and working from home will become a specific skill that employers will start to look for in potential candidates. We’d recommend every potential employee hone their skills now, as remote work in some shape or form is here to stay.

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