It’s something we could never have really imagined until it became a reality: the entire country working from home. Kids and parents, shoulder to shoulder around the dinner table, a melee of crumb covered books, coffee-ring stained spreadsheets, and the dog running around underfoot barking as your other half, still clad in dressing gown at 11am, ducks out of view of the live-lesson web-cam.
The story so far
Yet, for the past 18 months, this Benny Hill comedy sketch has been our living reality. And, more to the point, working from home looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.
Thankfully, home schooling is a receding memory. With the kids returning to school after the extended Christmas break, you’ve managed to get into a routine. Perhaps you’ve turned your smallest room into a study for now, or left the loft ladders to the attic room permanently down between the hours of 9:30-4:30. Either way, without the kids underfoot, a sense of semi-calm has returned to the house, and your new working from home situation is progressing smoothly enough.
School’s out for summer!
Is that the sound of a school bell I hear clanging in the distance?
Parents working from home, you are about to enter a new level of post pandemic home working. Your children are coming home for the summer, and this time they won’t be occupied for hours on end by online lessons.
With ever changing rules and restrictions and some uncertainty as yet over the lifting of social distancing restrictions this summer, some of the standbys, such as summer clubs and activities, or holidays abroad that you had planned, may be in flux at the moment.
If it comes down to it and you’re all under one roof together this summer, here are some of our top survival tips on how to work from home now school’s out and come out the other end unscathed as a family.
1. Speak to your boss
First off, it’s always worth bringing your boss in on your home situation. Letting them know that you’ll be co-managing your workload and miniature humans will avoid any surprises later down the line. Let them know that it’s going to be a tricky six weeks and it may avoid problems if things don’t go according to plan with deadlines. Moreover, your boss may be able to accommodate your situation and offer you flexible working hours.
2. Call in the favours
Remember all that shopping you dropped off for your parents last year during the height of the pandemic? Time to call in the favour. Anyway, it’s a well-known fact that grandparents relish any opportunity to spend time with their grandchildren. Even if they can help you out for just one day a week, try to find a day you know it will most benefit you with your workload.
3. The early bird catches the worm
Whether your children are young or old, morning is arguably the best time to manage your workload and the kids. If they are a little older and like to languish in bed for the first few hours of the day, set your alarm early and achieve as much as you can before the familiar calls of ‘what’s for breakfast?’ resonate down the stairs.
4. Boredom busters
Every home-working parent needs a few of these up their sleeve. Often saved for long car journeys, now is the time to break open the boredom buster treasure chest! If you have the time to consider your own child’s individual personality and preferences, you can work out your own activity pack of time-consuming distractions (such as design your own dinosaur using items you can find around the house) or simply look online for ideas. If your kid is a puzzle-addict, time to invest in a bumper puzzle book, print out free maze pdfs or download a dozen dot-to-dot sheets. Try to mix in a few physical challenges (like how many skips can you do) and send them outside into the garden for added peace and quiet!
5. Jobs for the children
Here’s a really efficient method of getting your work done, whilst keeping on top of both the kids and the cleaning.
Write out a list of chores (keep it age/ability achievable) and add a charge next to it (for example – tidy toys away 10p, load the dishwasher – 50p) and give your children a taste of what it’s like to work from home. As a treat, you can walk them to the shop at the end of the day to spend their ‘wages’.
6. Designate your own space
It’s tough working from home, especially so when the kids are off school and simply want to have fun. While it’s important to pay attention to your kids’ emotional needs this summer, don’t neglect yours. It’s vital that you are able to distinguish between the hours when you are in ‘work mode’ and ‘home time’; something that can be tricky when working from home, especially when the summer holidays blur the boundaries even further.
If your garden is large enough and you have a summer house, shed or garage, would it be possible to create a separate office space outside, in order to preserve your home as a ‘fun zone’ for the summer?
Drawing a distinct line between work and play will be beneficial for all the family.
If you think you might have outgrown your home and are looking to move on, contact us to see how we can help you move on to bigger and better things
Let us know if you have any of your own ideas it would be great to share.