March 26, 2020

Kids, Dogs, Partners? How to still get your job done!

The dishwasher’s running in the background, the dog is barking, the kids are fighting and you are trying to help your 10 year old finish their daily online homework assignments. How are you possibly supposed to be getting your own work done? You can do it, if you set some boundaries. Here are some tips to help you get started and quiet (temporarily), some of the chaos.

  • Be open with your boss about your current situation at home. Let them know that you do have the kids, husband, dogs, whatever, at home with you right now. You will be working hard, but there are some obvious distractions that may pop up during this unusual time.
  • Set boundaries with the kids on when they can interrupt. Let them know, from 9-12 today, I will be working and can’t be interrupted unless there is an emergency. I will take a break at noon to eat and prepare lunch with everyone. And define what an emergency is, not help getting a snack, or to complain about their sibling, etc..
  • When you are on a conference call, google hangout, zoom, whatever it is, it’s okay to be on mute when you are not speaking, so your background noise stays quiet.
  • Prioritize your work list each week or day. What is mission critical during this temporary work from home. Are there some projects you can prioritize, that may be easier to accomplish with the family around? Some that require great feats of concentration, may need to wait.
  • Have your kids working when you are working. They probably have online assignments each day. If they are younger, there are many great free resources online now to engage kids, so they feel like they are “working” too. Sometimes, they just want to physically be near you and can do their own thing, while you work. My son likes to sit with me while he does his schoolwork and I do my real work. Speaking with some awesome working Mom friends, one said “When I need to work I can "assign" them to do something online and they can be very busy for 60-90 minutes. My kids know (generally) not to bother me unless it's important so I can get work done.”
  • Another tip from one of my busy and successful working Moms, was grouping your calls together in the morning if you can. That way, in the afternoon, you can devote more time to being interrupted and helping the kids when needed with their school work.
  • If you have help, a partner, older sibling, trade off and work in shifts. Someone watches the kids for a few hours, you work, and then trade off. This really helps and it’s okay if you are accomplishing work at odd hours.

Remember, we are all in this together. If we are up front with our employers, they can support us and are honestly, probably struggling with similar challenges. Be kind, be supportive and we can get through this. And one day you may miss that little helper beside you when you are back in your real office.

Work Friendly Consulting is here to help. We have lots of useful tips to get us all through this trying time for employers and employees. If you need more suggestions, please reach out to us at [email protected]


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