If you have been working outside your home and were suddenly thrown into working from home only, it can be a shock.  Add to that working from home with your spouse, kids, and/or elderly parents home as well and it makes it even more interesting. 

You may find yourself running around your house trying to find a good place to have a video conference call that doesn’t show the dirty dishes in your sink, your kids fighting over a toy or your spouse trying to find their own place to work.  

You may find that your time seems all over the place because you are now needed in many places all at once and by many different people (and let’s face it, your boss and your toddler probably can’t even compete with each other in a tantrum.  Your toddler will win hands down;) 

It is important to set boundaries and put rules in place that everyone easily understands and can adhere to.  And make it fun.  Here’s how:

Designated areas – Have a family meeting and setup designated areas. Maybe you have an office in the home and you can use that.  Your spouse will use the spare bedroom to work from and your kids will homeschool in the kitchen.  Look at your schedules.  If you have one area of the house with great lighting for video calls coordinate a plan so that your kids are occupied during that time frame and you are the only one working in that area.  And do the same for others in your family.  It is all about working together and making it easier for everyone. 

Boundaries – You can’t have your children busting into the room to ask for a snack while you are on an important client call so make it fun and let them know what the rules are.  Let them know you will be on an important call for an hour.  Set a timer for them (giving yourself a little extra time to start the call and in case it runs over).  Make sure they have something to occupy them and tell them when the timer goes off you will be there shortly after to spend time with them.  I know it can be difficult changing gears through your day but trust me, this will make all the difference in you getting the quiet time you need if your kids know when you are available again. 

Keep work and home separate – Explain to your family when your work hours are that day and when you are done for the day, put things away in a different room and be fully present for them.  Remember you are bringing your work home now and your family is not used to you spending all your time preoccupied with work.  It can be easy to slip into the mode of “I have extra time I will keep working” but you have to remember to stop each day and spend quality time with your family. Work will be there waiting.  Your family should be your priority when you are with them. 

Understanding – This is important for all of us.  This can be a hard time to navigate with everything we are all experiencing on the daily.  Be compassionate and understanding.  Everyone is doing their best to make this work and none of us should be judging someone else for how they handle things.  Some people will handle things easily and gracefully.  Others may seem like they are overwhelmed.  No one is right or wrong.  All of us need to do what is right for us and our families, however that looks and we need to show the others in our lives (personal and family) that we see them and understand their feelings. 

Have fun – It is important to still enjoy your work and to get creative in how you do things.  Have fun.  Brainstorm with your colleagues about ways they are handling the change both personally and professionally.  This is a time when we can get new ideas, learn new ways and hopefully find better and more efficient ways to handle our work long term…even after this crisis is over.  This is an opportunity to change our behavior for the better.  Have fun and seize the moment. 

I hope you and your family are safe and healthy and if I can serve you in any way while you are working from home please don’t hesitate to reach out.  You can set up a call with me at https://meetme.so/erinalli.