With self and mandated quarantines on the rise, school closures, and employees either urged or forced to work from home, we are all being challenged to adapt to this new normal. While staying home might be a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, it can become tiresome after a few days.
Britt Riley, co-founder of the Coggeshall Club — the country’s first fully-licensed daycare to offer unlimited co-working, and fitness space located in Middletown — has some tips to make the most out of this time.
- Carve out designated workspace for each person at home; e.g. the bedroom for one and the kitchen for the other. Even if you live in a tiny apartment, you can give everyone their own functional space.
- Establish “Blue Zones” for privacy during important calls or virtual meetings: This is likely not going to be your favorite place to hang out at home as it could very well end up being your car, or in your bedroom or the bathroom — what you’re looking for here are the quietest, most private and secluded parts of your home to engage with calls/meetings uninterrupted, just test to be sure they also have Wi-Fi and cell phone service.
- People are really productive when they know they have a set amount of time to get something done. Talk with your partner about when you are most productive. Are you someone who works really well in the morning? Claim that time to focus while your partner watches the kids. Are you more of a night owl? Put your partner in charge of dinner and bedtime. If you both like to work at the same point in the day, take turns.
- Then you and your partner need to sit down and identify any calls or meetings that you’re going to take there. One person in your couple is likely the “planner” or the more organized one – if it’s not you than approach them and ask for help putting together a schedule which you can literally place on a wall and keep all of your meetings, working hours and kids schedules/fitness and meal plans in one place so everyone is always on the same page. Mark your meetings which require use of the “blue zone” in order to ensure that your partner is taking care of the kiddos or pets in order to support your need for privacy.
- Always remember that this is temporary and it’s a great opportunity to nail it both as a professional who can show work how well remote arrangements can perform as well as a partner and family – this is a great time to do things a bit differently, cherishing the fact that while toddlers are unpredictable – work is relatively predictable which means you can certainly nail it – it just takes respect, planning and dedication.
For the kids.
- Set a daily schedule that mimics their daycare/school schedule, complete with time outdoors and planned times for naps, meals (Lunch as a family? During the week? Special for all involved!), etc. You can get a glimpse into your kiddos’ thought processes as they work through age-appropriate projects and lessons.
- Allow educational screen time when you need to be on a call if necessary.
- Encourage rest time, even if your child doesn’t nap. This can be quiet time in their rooms to read or just play on their own, giving you a break to do what you need to do.
- Without question there will be some stressful moments. We are fortunate enough to be able to control what we can control (work, self, fitness) in order to reframe the way we look at this time with the kids Whether or not it is a weekday or weekend, you will likely experience their behavior differently than their teachers would. Accepting the fact that your kiddos behave differently with you than others is an odd compliment; being their safe space also in many cases means being their opportunity to learn limits and boundaries they cannot learn from their time with others. So patience, organization, and planning in all other areas of your day will make this aspect of the new “tiny coworkers and work environment” as easy as it can be.
Squeeze in your workout or meditation.
- In a time like this, it’s important to reduce stress as much as possible, so your workout routine is as important as ever. Anticipating that gyms and group fitness classes may not be an option, turn to YouTube for free exercise videos.
- Incorporate your exercise into your child’s outdoor time! Play a game of tag or hide and seek to get your heart pumping. Have a basketball hoop? Play a little one-on-one or a game of knock-out or teach your tiny wobbler how to kick a soccer ball.
- Meditation is a fun practice which we focus on prior to rest times here at The Coggeshall Club, this is a great chance for you to spend 5 minutes resetting your own mind and helping your little one control their body and mind prior to rest time. We love the Savasana app and their Yoga Nidra practices.
There is a silver lining!
- Yes, there is a very scary virus looming over all of this, but your home is your safe space and your people are your people. This is a great opportunity to bond, respectfully and gratefully.
- Try to look at it as an opportunity to spend time with your partner or kids in a way you don’t normally get to.
- You might have lunch as a family every day, and that might be just kind of the coolest thing! PB and J for lunch instead of dinner when you are all exhausted on most nights, conversation is very different when it is over lunch instead of dinner – energy and mindsets are too.
- Try and frame it in a positive way, which is that you can work together as a team, plan the things you can plan, and spend this time together. There aren’t too many opportunities for partners to work together and get a peek into each other’s day-to-day, and that can be a spark for some…your cute coworker just happens to be your partner! Witnessing and admiring each other’s professionalism is a great way to create or deepen a bond.
Here’s a link to the blog version: https://www.coggeshallclub.com/blog/how-to-work-from-home-when-everyone-is-home.