6 Work From Home Tips Now That Kids Are Back To Learning
Do’s and Don’ts to Consider When Working From Home When the Kids Return to School
Now that the kids are back in class, hybrid working from home and office has become the norm for some parents in Canada. This means yet another change in routine and schedule depending on your work schedule and the kids’ school schedule, never mind after-school activities.
Here are some helpful tips to help you continue to plan, manage and conquer working from home with the kids back in class.
1. Schedule for Work, Schedule for Family
Let’s face it, schedules are essential to keeping a family running like a well-oiled machine. While you likely had finally figured out a routine during COVID, and a winning routine in place for summer and back to school in previous years, the truth is many families saw those go out the window and are continuing to evolve as the need arises. With school back in session, however, this is a great opportunity to buckle down and create a new schedule that reflects your new day-to-day.
Start with wake-up and bedtimes and stick to them! While weekends can still be for those late-night movies or extra time playing video games, Monday to Friday should resemble a routine similar to what may have been in place in previous years and works with your family. Ensuring this will also lead to a breakfast and dinner routine so you can potentially enjoy the additional family time during these meals.
With the kids back to learning, you may have to also shift your working hours to allow for pick-up times from school or from the bus stop. An easy way to do this is to block off your work calendar for this time slot so that meetings won’t be missed and have a discussion with your team members so that everyone is in the loop. This may mean that you’ll need to put in some extra time before your typical start time or after dinner but it will help you to stay organized and on time both for work commitments and school ones.
2. Change it Up
While wearing your PJs may feel like a sensible choice if you continue to work from home, try and make it a habit to have everyone in the household change their clothes each morning! With the kids heading back to class this becomes a no-brainer (unless PJ day is the theme for their class today!) This is a great opportunity for you as the parents to also get changed up. While your office attire is likely not going to make the cut, you can opt for a comfortable top and jogging pants, tights, or jeans as an option for work time.
3. Prep Meals Ahead of Time
Another great way to adjust to the change of back to school for the kids and getting back to work routine is to pre-plan your meals. Chopping up vegetables and storing them for use throughout the week or preparing meats and keeping them frozen until you need to use them are all easy ways to cut down meal preparation time as schedules get a bit busier. When it comes to lunch, sandwiches are always an easy night before meal staple supplemented with snacks, cheese, and fruits. Here are some quick and easy meals for anytime of the day.
4. Get Your Body Moving
Now that there may not be any kids around to chase after between your video conference calls, you may find yourself sitting for a majority of the day. Make a habit to take breaks (around the same time every day). Take 15-20 min in the morning and afternoon, and aim for an hour or 45 min around lunch. Go for a walk, if the weather is favourable, or do a quick low-intensity workout online. The important part here is to move. If you wanted to take moving one-step further, get yourself a watch with a pedometer integrated in it. Some of these even have reminders that alert you when you’ve been still for too long.
5. Create a Work Space
If you haven’t already, it’s time to claim a spot of your own for a home office. Having one designated spot to work from will get your mind used to going to that place to work, and to work only. It will help reduce distractions, and keep you efficient. Hopefully for you, that place is away from the TV or the bedroom. Ideally, it is in a room on its own, but if you do not have that available, the dining room or the kitchen table are great alternatives. It’s important not to set up your work space in your bedroom or in front of the TV and keep it as free from distractions as possible.
6. Stay In the Loop
One of the best things about working in an office was water cooler chats or lunch breaks with coworkers. Don’t be afraid to call a colleague to touch base, or ask everyone to turn on their cameras during a meeting to get as close to a face to face chat as possible. Seeing each other and keeping those conversations and connections going, even though you’re not physically near, will help make you feel less alone at home and more connected to the outside world.