Working from Home – Family Style

Covid-19 has changed the landscape for many Americans… schools and universities are closed with many now having to take classes online. Non-essential businesses are now virtual if possible.

If you live with other people, working from home may have new challenges. Employers have always said that working from home is not a substitute for childcare. But if you have young kids who normally go to day care, that option is probably gone.

So here are some tips for navigating working from home when everyone is home too.

  • Have a family (roommate) meeting and talk about your job.
    1. What do you do on a daily/ basis?
    2. Are you on the phone a lot? Are they scheduled calls? Video calls?
    3. What deadlines do you have?
  • Do you have a specific schedule? Is there any flexibility?
  • Share with your boss your any issues which might impact your performance.
    1. For example, if you have a 2-year-old at home and are a single parent, be clear about your limitations.
    2. Or you are in an area where your cell phone doesn’t receive a strong signal.
  • Be clear if there are specific times when you can’t be interrupted.
  • Consider taking your breaks with the other people in your house.
    1. Have lunch as a family
    2. Go for a walk or play catch in the yard.
  • If you have kids and there is more than one adult in the house, consider defining who is working and who is watching the kids at specific times. e. you work from 7:30 – 1 and the other person works from 1-7:30.
  • Prioritize your work. You will be most productive when you initially start to work.
  • Use headphones. They will help you to focus and drown out the noise of your living space
  • Set boundaries… for what reasons can you be interrupted. It is not an emergency if a child can’t find a specific toy or snack.
  • If there are bandwidth issues in your house, be clear if you have an important video call and ask others to respect that time.
  • Although scheduling is important, be ready to be flexible.

Remember that communication is key. The more that you communicate what you need to be successful while working from home, the easier it will be. Don’t assume that your family/roommates know what you need. And don’t forget to ask what they need!