The thought of working from home with your family during Movement Control Order (MCO) may seem frightening, but don’t worry, there are ways to help you ease into the new routine.
I’m fortunate to have a brand spanking new office thanks to our recent renovation, but I never intended to be sharing it full time with my kids during the Covid-19 pandemic.
There are a few things I’ve learnt about flexible work hours, work-life balance and working remotely and harmoniously (within reason) with your kids and partner in one space throughout the MCO period.
1. Designate a drawer per person
This sounds stupidly simple but designating storage to each individual person has been so good for my state of mind because the worst part about the nightly clean-up is trying to work out where everything goes.
As much as I like the idea of everyone cleaning up their own mess, every parent knows that sometimes you just want the job done without the incessant nagging that precedes it.
With everyone having their own drawer, I can literally scoop each person’s belongings into their individual drawers at the end of the night. No sorting required.
Then when I hear, “Muuuuuum, where is my pencil case?” the answer is always the same. I should also point out that it needn’t be a drawer, it could be a large tub or basket with each person’s name clearly marked on it.
Read more: How to stay sane working from home
2. Create a schedule for device use
The idea of my kids using my computer for online learning sends shivers down my spine. My Macbook Air is my bread and butter. If I’m not on it, I’m not earning an income, so sharing it is not really an option.
High school kids typically have their own devices and primary school kids, at this point, only need them for specific areas of their learning.
No one is an expert in this, but if you’re sharing devices it makes sense to schedule in the kids’ device time while you’re making breakfast or lunch (or one of the other 25 meals kids require) so that you’re panicking at the idea of the kids using your laptop for homework while your emails continue to mount.
3. Create a partition
I respect the fact that many don’t have a dedicated home office space and the kitchen table may be doubling as the family office right now.
Given our open plan-designed homes, the mess that is likely being created there won’t be doing your mental state any favours.
I suggest you buy a room divider.
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the options you’ll find in your search engine at the moment. If budget allows, opt for something you love, that can easily be repurposed for when our shared working situation is no more.
A good-looking room divider looks fab in the bedroom and living room, too. If you know you’ll never reuse it, just source something, anything that will zone off the office mess, so you can forget about it while you’re chopping veggies in the kitchen.