Working from home for many of us has been the norm for a long time. Meetings in the office, conferences, travel and business dinners, were possible by the ability to focus when at home.
Monday 23rd March 2020 was, therefore, a nuclear level shock to the system. It wasn’t that we were now all working from home, nor that we had lost the balance of the previous system: it was the Children.
I suspect that most of us had at least one memorable moment in the past weeks when a conference call was interrupted by the scream ‘Daaaddddddyyy’. Perhaps it was a video call with a child cum leopard crawling in the background, an audible fight in the kitchen or a partner screaming that they can’t cope. Professionalism has gone out of the window. But what do you do?
To add to the madness we are all apparently now qualified to teach. Many of us have joked in the past that ‘those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.’ With the children at home, sometimes it feels like both are impossible.
As business leaders, it’s in our nature to find solutions and stay abreast of sticky situations; be that an unhappy client or a jam covered toddler. These are uncertain times, being agile and adaptable to change will only put you in good stead to lead your company through the woods.
However daunting it might seem at first, working at home with the brood can not only be just as productive, but it also offers bonuses that the 9-5 and morning commute cannot. Here are my tips for making the most or working from home as a parent.
10 tips for balancing being a leader, teacher, parent & partner without going (too) mad
- Develop a very thick skin and the ability to shrug off the uncomfortable
- Try and develop a set of house rules for when important calls and meetings are taking place
- Ensure you have a formal working space and one you can escape to if the going gets tough – try not to go to the loo whilst on a VC….
- Don’t use the bedroom if at all possible for work – it will ruin your Circadian rhythm and potentially your love life
- Be dressed for the occasion, based on your norm. If that is a Dress or a Jacket – use that – enclothed cognition is real
- Establish and follow a routine – every day
- Set realistic expectations – it is very easy to work 24/7 at home!
- Have lunch and if you can have lunch with your family – how many times in your life will you get this opportunity?
- Make time to move – the rule for fitness is to move more, eat less not the other way round!
- If you are going to be a teacher – agree which class you are doing and teach it with full focus