Some of us do it, others have done it, still others find it a new concept in the face of COVID19. Things are changing – and suddenly, at an accelerated pace! Here’s how to put your best foot forward!

Working from home has been a reality for many and a dream for many others. Now – due to the pandemic Coronavirus remote working is a reality in your face – ready or not! Men and women have to adapt. You have to be genuine and accountable to yourselves, your employees, your customers – and you have to clock in effective efficiency!

It’s not quite a holiday. It’s certainly not half as easy as working in your office with a single-minded focus. At work, you have not many distractions other than a coffee with your colleague, a phone call or a brief meeting. And, here’s the best bit of working from an office space (which many fail to admit): escapism from household chores! Plus, there are certainly no kids at your workplace wanting your attention, or your spouse/partner asking for help, the smells of good food wafting from the kitchen that make you want to take a break to grab a bite, or the lure of a post-lunch nap!

But reality be faced – we’re in the thick of the ‘work-from-home’ scene. So how do we give it our best? I’m sharing some quick tips here:

  1. Wake up on time. No sleeping in! The ‘five more minutes’ will not serve you well – trust me!
  2. Dress up for work. Just because you’re working from home, don’t stay in your pyjamas. Shower, get ready, have breakfast or grab a coffee and get to work.
  3. Align video calls for the morning hours. One more motivation to be ready and seen up and about – spreading the spirit of professionalism among colleagues.
  4. Designate a space. Keep it cluster-free and organised. Whether it’s a desk and sofa in your room, a corner in your living room, a study, or a guest room; define your space. Tell your other family members clearly: “Look, I need to work from home. And for the next few days, I want to make sure I have all my work-related things at one place. So please don’t move anything.” Well, we like to live and work in clean spaces – make sure your corner is clutter-free and pleasant so that the ‘cleanliness-fairy’ of your home does not need to tidy up your mess and move things around!
  5. Define your schedule with a proper and achievable ‘to-do’ list and time allocation. Stay on track.
  6. Take your 10 o’ clock coffee break – time it to a maximum of 30 minutes – that’s the time to spend with your partner and kids before getting back to work until noon. If you have to, this is also the time to cook up a family meal. Keep it simple. Leave the elaborate cooking for the weekends. At work, you’d take a 10-minute break for coffee – but then, working from home means no travel hours – so you can, indeed take a longer break for some errands and/or family time.
  7. Set the rules straight for the family! This is extremely important. If you’re working from home, you need to be focused and efficient. So, it’s okay to tell your partner that you’re at work and cannot pop in for a quick chat with your dad or mother-in-law. It’s okay to tell your kids to play in another room till you’re done. Or till you take a break – especially for them. And it’s perfectly fine to turn away a friend or neighbour – you seriously are at work, and you should be working rather than cheating the system and yourself!
  8. Distribute responsibilities. If both partners are working, and you have small children, pre-decide on who takes a break and when. Take your breaks separately – so that the children have one adult with them on and off.

And what happens when you both need to put in your hours? Trust your parenting skills. Give your kids the freedom to plan their day themselves. They need to learn how to keep themselves occupied, too. Don’t plonk them in front of an electronic device for hours!

Let them experiment in the kitchen. Too young to bake? Let them make sandwiches, experiment with paint, sing, play games, skype-call their grandparents and friends for a chat! You will be surprised at how they blossom if you let them grow…there’s no place safer for a child than home – they say.

So yes, a safe space for children can be created, discipline can be reasoned out, and rules must be set jointly for every child over 5. Build on that trust as you help your children to build on their individuality, while you get to meet your goals and targets without stress!

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