Expert's step by step guide on working from home with kids
The new normal means balancing temper tantrums with homeschooling, work deadlines and video conferencing.
None of us know when life will get back to the way it was and our work life balance can be a real challenge in these strange times.
The Covid-19 outbreak has meant we have to be creative in the midst of a global pandemic and keeping our minds and bodies healthy and active is crucial to survive this.
We’ve teamed up with qualified Nutrition Coach and Workplace Wellbeing Expert Elizabeth O’Riordan of realfoodireland.com.
Here’s your guide to staying well, working from home and our top tips on doing your job with kids under your feet.
Keep Your Day as Structured As Normal
One of the main things you will quickly miss when working from home is the office structure.
Waking up at the same time and getting dressed in smart comfortable clothes is important for your brain to know you are ready for the work day.
Slot in a workout with the kids before you open your laptop
The Body coach Joe Wicks is doing free PE every morning at 9am or if you fancy something more tailored try out Sweat25.com, Irelands’s first interactive online fitness platform.
There’s free yoga online for kids, cosmic kids yoga is great and doing a quick yoga session before you hit the laptop is incredible to boost your concentration.
Going straight from the pillow to your office is slightly unnerving.
Set an alarm at the end of the day to signal that the work day is over
It’s so easy to get caught up in daily tasks and working late into the night with no structure.
This is stressful on the kids too.
It’s mentally better for you if you have an end to your day in sight, also when the kids hear the alarm they’ll know it’s time to shut down the computer.
Be your own best boss
Boosting morale for you and the kids is essential if you are all to focus on your work and play for the day.
Set up stations for arts and crafts for the children and an office space for you and your other half.
Once a task is complete each time, offer a prize or a healthy treat or even a healthy dose of screen time.
If you are using video conferencing software, like Zoom or Skype, for meetings or lectures, make sure to familiarise yourself with the camera, mute buttons and the background you are going to use them.
Keep Up Your Workplace Communication
Working from home means workplace conversations can be tricky, there’s no water cooler to hang around.
However, it’s essential to keep up communication with co-workers outside of emails and meetings.
Connecting virtually has never been easier.
Take a break and get out for a short walk with the kids.
Take regular breaks to get away from the screen and improve circulation by taking frequent short walks around your home to get your blood flowing or, if possible, take a short walk outside.
Dragging the kids away from the screen will help them sleep better too and will give you back some me time.
Be mindful of healthy eating
While snacking throughout the day is tempting, it’s important to fill your body full of foods that can benefit you mentally and keep you focused.
Elizabeth recommends the following foods to boost your performance and to keep the kids away from sweet treats too.
Porridge - which aids mental performance.
Red Skin Peanuts - which are high in Arginine which promotes Nitric Oxide and can change the computation ability of the brain.
Raw Walnuts - which contain ingredients that have heart and brain health benefits.
Salmon – an oily fish which aids brain function
Blueberries – blueberry polyphenols attenuate inflammatory responses of brain microglia.
Be honest with your boss and team-mates
Trying to remain 110% at the top of your work game whilst managing your children is a bit unrealistic leading to feelings of failure and inadequacy from the get go.
Remember that your kids have been asked to flip their norm upside down too.
Your number one priority is to be realistic about your situation, and that means making sure that you and your family's wellbeing is also of utmost importance.
Honesty and open dialogue with your team on what you can achieve will set your mind at ease.
Be realistic with your time
Write yourself an achievable checklist by breaking down your bigger goals into easy steps.
For instance 1) Check emails 2) Finish expenses 3) Make the kids a snack.
As you go through the day, tick off the things you complete, this helps your sense of purpose and success.
Focus on small victories by staying in the now and taking it day by day.