Circa 2019, finding the proper work/life equilibrium was a chore. In 2020? It’s nearly impossible. In the post-COVID world, parents have been forced to balance childcare with working from home in uncomfortable and often unproductive ways.
It’s no secret that the coronavirus outbreak dramatically increased the number of people working. One estimate found that some 42% of the U.S. workforce had moved to remote contributions following the pandemic. (This compares to around 4% before the outbreak.)
Meanwhile, COVID simultaneously drove most schools to incorporate some kind of virtual component. Going into the school year data showed that about half of elementary and high school students were slated to receive virtual instruction every day. Another 19% had planned for a hybrid model – leaving just about a quarter of students headed to a classroom on a daily basis.
The result: the boundaries between work life and home life have become nonexistent. As a result, many parents have been forced to make difficult decisions. They either let their kid’s education slide or slack on their contribution to work.
However, these trade-offs can be minimized. With proper organization, you can balance childcare with your work-at-home schedule. Here are five things to keep in mind.
Realize You’ve Got New Coworkers
Let’s be honest: no workplace is without distractions. Any off-topic interactions while you’re working can cut into productivity. At the office, you have your chatty coworker or those unnecessary meetings.
At home, you have your kids. Recognize this parallel and think of your kids as your new coworkers. By realizing that your previous workspace wasn’t the citadel of perfect productivity you remember, you’ll have a better mental frame to deal with your new interruptions.
Create Separate Workspaces
Everyone needs their own space. Zoom calls require a quiet area to hold discussions. Both homework and office work take concentration to complete effectively.
To accommodate the need for privacy, carve out a dedicated space for everyone trying to work in the house. Have a place for you to complete your work. At the same time, make a similar area for your kids to engage in their virtual learning.
Make a Schedule
Coordination is key. You have tasks you have to complete by certain deadlines. The same is true of your kids. Do what you can to line up everyone’s schedules, so each family member stays out of everyone else’s crucial work time.
To stay productive, you need to establish ground rules. Let your kids know when it’s safe to approach you and when they should keep their distance. To avoid distractions at crucial moments, they need to know when you’re involved in something that requires peace and quiet. In addition, maintain communication throughout the day and set up a predictable routine.
Discover Your New Work/Life Balance
Getting used to the new routine will take some experimentation. Unforeseen problems will arise, and you’ll have to improvise to fix them. Over time, you’ll come up with a system that maximizes everyone’s ability to achieve their goals.
In other words, don’t get discouraged if you have some initial problems coordinating childcare and working from home. Keep working at it, and you’ll eventually come up with a sustainable process.
Finding the right mix of home and work has always presented a problem. Now that the two are literally mixed together, the challenge becomes significantly more complicated. It helps to have the right employer. By working with the right staffing agency, like PrideStaff, you find positions that fit perfectly into your lifestyle.