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How to work from home with the kids around

 Let everybody in the house understand that working from home actually means “working” (Shutterstock)

Some of us are likely to find ourselves holed up in our homes all thanks to coronavirus. Social distancing helps to slow the spread of the virus and in this regard, apart from having to work from home, the kids are home too!

Everybody is home indefinitely and you have to work, how do you go about it? You need a plan that includes all your family members. You have to consider that there will be those who will be playing another round of Ludo on the very table you are working on while others will be clamoring to use the laptop that you are working on.

Apart from the advantages like flexible working hours, working from home (WFH) comes with its fair share of disadvantages including drifting among family members as some might feel ignored. Here are some tips to help you have an efficient WFH phase

Have a dedicated workspace

The biggest challenge with working from home is all the distractions. The kids being home worsens everything. To be able to handle this, you will need to have a dedicated workspace. It doesn’t have to be a fully equipped home office, you might just need to get a small desk or table and a comfortable chair and set them in a room where you can close the door.

For the worst cases, say you are unable have a room to yourself, you can consider investing in some noise-cancelling headphones.

Prioritize your schedule

Working from home gives you control over your schedule. However, you should know that it is pretty easy to run out of time and/or energy for work when you don’t have a proper work structure in place. You have to set time limits and goals for ourselves and ensure you complete your tasks within the timeframes you stipulated.

While at it, remember to schedule time to stop working. Working from home has a risk of blending your work and your personal life and if you don’t take charge of that, you will soon realize that you are ‘on’ all the time. This is unhealthy and you might need to decide a time in advance when you ‘check out’ of work. This will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.

You may also need to let the kids know what to expect from you as you work from home. This way you can comfortably immerse yourself into work stuff without constantly getting worried or bothered by them.

 Always keep your kids engaged (Shutterstock)

Set boundaries

You have to establish boundaries with those you will be home with as you work. Be it your partner or the kids, you need to tell them what’s up and let them understand that working from home actually means “working.” In as much as they might want to hang out, you need to have them understand that you can’t. Explain to them that once you are done with work you will be able to check on them and hang out. But until you are done with whatever you are doing, they have to wait or solve their problems by themselves.

Have a plan B

Kids are likely to get bored fast. You need to have a back-up activity for the kids and ensure that they are occupied. This is where you create activity boxes. Have sets of activities that the kids can carry out with minimal assistance from you so that they have some choices.

Kids also get hungry quite fast and on the off chance that you run out of supplies, you need to have a plan on how you intend to restock considering all the factors that might be surrounding your stay at home such as curfews. Don’t wait until your stock is completely out, you can start making plans for restocking as soon as your stock gets halfway.

Take breaks

Rather than sitting down for four hours working on a task, you can consider breaking up your day a bit more. Say, you can work for 45 minutes then take a 15-minute break to spend time with the kids, check on them and attend to whatever needs they might be having.

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