The article was written in the pre-COVID era only for the work-from-home mom. But, we have updated the work from home tips to suit the new normal life of most of the parents.
In the pre-COVID era, the work-from-home moms had the option of sending their kids to the daycare. But, now things have changed and in the new normal life, even daycare activities are virtually done, which also requires parental guidance. So, the net result – zero! And we have to manage everything from within the four walls of our houses (thankfully we are blessed with helping husbands.)
A Day In The Pre-COVID Era
It was already 3 pm, and I was just trying hard to concentrate on my assignment post an elaborate lunch episode. My mind was often trailing off to the thought of how I could spend an hour for lunch breaks in office, without a pinch of guilt and how I was cursing myself today for an elaborate luncheon at home and planning to get rid of it from next day onward. Just as I was about to start reading, the doorbell rang. My first obvious instinct was to ignore, “What if I were in office now?”, but it rang again, having no other choice, I had to answer the door. My son’s friends, two little munchkins peeped in with curious eyes, “Where is he?”
“Oh! He is at his usual place, his day care.” Up came a prompt response , “Why can’t you take care of him at home?” the elder one asked.
I was spellbound, and not knowing what to say, I simply bade them goodbye and waited for the sad faces to leave.
The Common Problem Of Working From Home…
Yes! When there is a mom at home, why does the kid need to go to daycare? What great job is she doing and that too from home? She isn’t a working woman, is she? And so on and so forth… the list of questions is endless. But, if staying at home and working suits your work-life balance the best, then let not any rolling eyes impact your decision.
Two years into freelancing and we are still surviving, so the tips work –
Here goes the Work From Home Tips and Tricks
Adhere to a schedule
After 9 years of office life, working remotely feels delightfully flexible: Imagine getting to your desk at your own time in your comfortable shorts! See the baby eating while you take some important calls! But, but, but! Don’t you think lack of discipline and professionalism has the potential to erode your motivation and productivity? Straight out of bed into the laptop with half of your focus on your baby and the other half on how foul your breath smells, what are you planning to accomplish?
Use your flexibility smartly but adhere to a routine. Ensure to start your day at a fixed time and dress in comfortable professional attire (so what if you are at home, you are still working, right?). It can be anything, starting from a dress to tracks and tees– but, don’t jump into your workspace in your nightwear!
At the same time, just because you are working from home, it doesn’t mean you will be working as long as you are awake. It is imperative to know when to stop. Let your employer or clients know what your working hours are and stick to it. Communicate with them only during those hours and that eventually, that will help them too to respect your dedication and schedule. Have fixed breaks and know when to shut down your work system.
Have a designated workspace
To maintain your focus, it is required that you stay away from household distractions.
Do not turn your house into an office because instead of enhancing your work-life balance it will kill it absolutely. You might be feeling tempted to work from the kitchen or your kid’s playroom but refrain from it.
Instead, have a designated place which you can call your office space and when you are there, let not anyone just barge in with every small household concern. If required lock the door when you are on important calls or running to meet a strict deadline.
If you haven’t bought your work-from-home necessities yet, do it now.
Don’t try to be THE “Durga” of our time.
Accept the fact that you do not have 10 hands and obviously not more than one head. Don’t try to work with your baby on your knees. Appoint a nanny or better still send the kid to a good crèche for a few hours, so that you can dedicate the time solely for your work. Under the current scenario, when moving out isn’t safe, split work with your spouse.
Trying to do everything at the same time will reduce your productivity and concentration. Imagine you trying to write code and your little sweetheart is trying to chew the crayon…. who will be benefited in the end? So, use the one head and two hands that you have most efficiently by focusing on one thing at a time.
Keep the child engaged
If you have to work or take a call with the kid around, think of ways to keep him/her engaged. There are many productive games for kids of different age groups which can keep them engaged and entertained.
Another trick is to give an hour of undivided attention to your child and see how he/she allows you with two hours of undisturbed work time. For obvious reasons, when the kid sees you, he/she will want you to be engaged with him/her only and not do anything else. So, be smart and think of ways which can benefit both of you.
Speak to your child
Your kid might be small but he will understand you if you speak to him/her. Let him/her know what you are up to.
“Mumma works from home so that she can support the family financially and spend more time with you.” Or, “Mumma works hard because it makes her happy and she wants to be more productive.” Or, “Let us do our homework together!”
It can be any reason which has encouraged you to take this decision but be true to the kid. By doing so, you will communicate the values of hard work, discipline, and responsibility along with love and dedication towards the family.
Set your priorities
Once you have read through all the tips, it’s time for you to decide which one works the best for you. For that, you first need to know why you want to work from home. It can be anything:
- Spend more quality time with your kids
- Save on crèche expenses
- Get rid of an unpleasant office environment
- Follow your passion which you couldn’t do in the 9-5 job
- Eradicate the hassles of commuting to your workplace
- Reduce stress
- Enhance work-life balance
- Be your own boss
Once you know the reason behind your decision, you will be able to do more justice to yourself and you will know which tip suits you the best.
Smile… and give no excuse to anyone.
It’s your life, your family, your kid, and while you are not here to change the world, you are not supposed to answer every question. So, the next time some conservative, old school, elderly person asks you questions that you don’t like, reply with a sweet smile, “This suits me and my family the best, Aunty!” As, it is YOU and your family is going through a lot trying to make the best out of everything, let not anyone question your hard work.
Even after the school starts and life slowly fits into our usual routine, the societal pressure will be there on WFH parents. Be kind to yourself and don’t surrender. Even the organizations are slowly respecting WFH and if your persistent, your kids too will respect you.
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