Making the most out of remote working with your spouse and kids at home during Covid19
This is a special situation. It is much more challenging than moving into a home office arrangement in normal times. Besides the challenges in adapting to remote work, we are in a situation full of uncertainty. A situation that carries real risks for the health and safety of you and the people around you.
When fear and anxiety dominate us, we cannot be productive. In survival mode, we do not come up with original ideas, and it also reduces our natural immune response.
So, my tips revolve around care. Care for your family, yourself, and your colleagues:
- Make sure that you do what you and your family need to stay safe, healthy, and sane. This might mean taking breaks throughout the day to play with your kids. Agree with your spouse on how to distribute the house chores. The more confident you are that you and your loved ones will be fine, the easier it will be to deal with the challenges of the new work situation.
- Focus on self-care: Pay attention to exercise, diet, and sleep to stay healthy. Make sure you have people to talk so you can process your own emotional experience. Maybe join an online self-help group. Start or intensify a spiritual practice: e.g. meditation, a gratitude journal, or prayer.
- Take care of your colleagues and clients. Especially those who are at home alone or who belong to risk groups, will have a hard time to cope. Help them stay calm and make them feel connected to counter isolation and fear. Connect with them in realtime and use video. Do not talk only about work and listen when they need to process their emotions. Yet, also help them focus on those things they can influence (like getting work done), instead of worrying about the things they cannot control.
The tips might sound counterproductive because you will likely work fewer hours than in the office. Especially in the beginning you will be anything but productive.
But, ignoring the emotional and psychological pressure we are under will only lead to emotional overwhelm. Caring for yourself and others instead will help you stay calm and motivated. You might not have time to work 8-10 hours a day but the remaining hours will be much more productive.