Let me start by saying that I have no idea how this is going to play out like most people; however, I am going to try and draw upon my experience of a flexible “working from home mum” that currently juggles a work/home life balance. We don’t know how long we’re going to be in this situation, so we need to just try and move forward the best way we can and if you can take anything away from my insight then great.

1. Make a Plan
As a mum of a HIGHLY active 5-year-old, setting a schedule that replicates that of a normal school day, I feel is going to be crucial for our coexistence and quite honestly my sanity. I find that waking up, eating breakfast and getting dressed at the same time as if they were are going to school, is very important as it gets the day started and eliminates the possibility of rocking a three-month PJ party.

Planning fun, exciting things to do throughout the day that will keep them entertained, whilst weaving in a few educational elements so they don’t get behind, should provide you with breaks in the day where you can concentrate on your work “Power Hours”. Identifying the periods in the day that you are most likely able to work undistracted, will enable you to produce your best work. Such as early morning, during naps, lunch, whilst watching TV, film or playing with an iPad or games devise.

Be careful…as much as I think a plan is important, I think we have to be cognisant to our children’s vulnerable state. We need to make sure we find a balance of being there for them and enjoying this time together through this unprecedented event, where they are likely to be worried and confused. Be flexible and adapt to your family needs.

2. “It’s Good to Talk!”
Like a wise advertising campaign once said, “It’s good to talk”. Some say I am a pro, so no worries there, however having worked remotely for the past 5 years, communication and interaction with others throughout the day is highly important and ensures we don’t become isolated and demotivated.

Be transparent with those you are working with about the fact that you’re also juggling the needs of your kids. Your co-workers and clients are in exactly the same situation, so its completely understandable, however as I mentioned try to schedule your most important calls during your power hours.

3. Set Boundaries
As well as communicating with your colleagues, you need to let your kids know what can be expected of them during this time where you are all at home. They need to know when you are working and when it is playtime, otherwise it can become confusing for them to know when they can or cannot have your attention. We don’t want to make them feel worse than they already could be.

As much as I currently try to limit watching too much TV, I think that it will be acceptable to allow your kids to watch more and play more games than usual in order to keep them occupied, whilst you try to continue working. However, my advice would be let them know it’s a “special treat” and not to be expected as when it comes time to retract this you don’t want it to be an ongoing issue.

Creating a designated workspace for me has been essential, otherwise they don’t see the difference between work and play. As much as I get tempted to sit on the sofa with my laptop, kids just don’t get it and cant help themselves but try and get your attention, therefore neither offering them your undivided attention or best application of your work. You are better off either working or playing and not finding yourself in a half-way house. Also you may find it necessary to have a “do not disturb” signal or mutual understanding, (unless there is an emergency). This can be; when the door is shut, or some kind of sign so they know that mum or dad is working and will come to you when they can.

4. Take time out to relax and play
Although after a distinct number of days you may feel the need to keep that ‘do not disturb’ sign up 24/7, make sure it doesn’t come to this and take the time to play, have a break, keep your mind fresh and focused. Enjoy the breaks as how often does this happen… the kids are just as scared as you are right now, as they are feeding off the world’s energy around them. Being smart with your time and maximising your output during your “Power Hours” will allow you the time to play and put your child’s worries at rest and create a better atmosphere in the house.

Also don’t be pressured to strain yourself whilst working remotely in order to prove to your team that you’re actually working, just make sure you get your job done! The best employers have trust in their staff and you have to repay them with the trust and responsibility to do your best in a time when most needed.

5. Team Work
“Teamwork is dream work” they say…and having worked remotely for a number of years, myself and my partner both take turns to help each other at times when we need it. I can see this being vital so that the kids don’t feel left out, but also allows one at a time to concentrate on our work at hand, when we most need it.

If switching shifts with your spouse is not an option, then the planning element is highlighted even more, and this will be very important to be ahead of the game and pre-empt opportunities to concentrate on work.

One shift that requires full participation is “tidy time” at the end of the day. Make sure that your home returns to normality so that you can switch off from work and play, allowing you the time to unwind.

At Cyber Business Resource we have an incredible team spirit where we have been communicating regularly, working together and trying as best as possible to keep things “business as normal”. Qudos to our wider team within the Cyber Business Group; Cyber Business Growth, One Distribution, Cyber Business Secure and all of our clients and candidates as we feel the positive energy all around us.

Keep safe everyone and we look forward to speaking with you over the coming weeks and beyond.

By Ludi Martin, CBR Manager