What a whirlwind this has been. Just two weeks ago, life and business were moving along. Now, the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic has changed everything.
Personally, this has really hit close to home as my wife is a healthcare worker at a hospital and she is one of the many people who is working on the front lines. To all of you who are essential workers or family members of essential workers, I feel your pain and all I can say is that we are in this together.
As for me, I am working from home and working hard to help in any way I can. My son has many special needs and will be without his therapies and schooling for the next few weeks. So as my wife goes off to work and I am working from home, we also are still doing everything we can to help his progress. Suddenly, we are his only educators, physical therapists, occupational therapists, vision therapists, and speech therapists.
At the same time, we have always taken a proactive approach as parents, and I feel like we are luckily well-equipped to continue doing everything we can with him while he is home and we are off the clock.
Here are 5 ways we have learned to adjust to our “new normal” and how I manage work-life balance while working from home:
1. Develop a routine and write it out. It’s very important to try and stick to a schedule and a routine when working from home. Plan out your time for one or two days, and if you find it is working, extend it to the full work week. If you need to make some adjustments, then do so. Once you find the right schedule that works for you, it will make managing your time a little easier.
2. Purposely avoid frequent trips to the kitchen. When you are working from home, it’s very easy to subconsciously fall into the trap of standing up to stretch your legs and suddenly you are at the fridge again. Make sure you aren’t always going into the kitchen on every break to avoid overeating while you work at home. I find that if I plan out my meals each day and think about what I want to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, then I am less likely to keep going into the kitchen to snack.
3. Do not eat lunch at your desk or workspace. It is very easy to grab your lunch and go right back to work without giving yourself a few minutes to recharge. Set up an eating spot that is away from your desk, whether you create a “makeshift” breakroom that is your couch with a tray table, a different room, or even your back yard if the weather cooperates. This will help avoid burnout and add to your productivity.
4. Unplug for at least a couple of hours at night. It is so tempting to stay plugged in and always remain “at work” when you work from home. You must give yourself some time to unplug at night. Have family time, eat an uninterrupted dinner, listen to music, get some exercise, or do something, anything, you enjoy. This will help you stay fresh and focused when you are back to work.
5. Social distancing does not mean a quarantine on emotional support. During this time, it is important to stay in touch with friends and family. Check in with those you care about via video calls and phone calls and see how they are doing. By staying connected and engaged, it will make everyone feel a little less lonely and a little more cared for during this trying time. And you will feel better, too.
Ultimately, while things have certainly changed, it doesn’t mean you can’t still find that work-life balance when working from home. I hope you and your families stay safe, and as I said earlier, we are all in this together.