Working from home is fast becoming something many families will have to accommodate in the coming months.
There are some key tips that both ourselves and our clients have learnt from setting up 'work from home' office spaces. Assuming you and your family are well and healthy, but in isolation due to travel, you may be able to continue with some aspects of work to a certain degree. We can't help with the toilet paper shortage, but we do know how to make life a little easier when family life and work life need to combine on a daily basis.
If your company has had the wisdom to set up a server that can be accessed remotely, carve out space for a dedicated desk, ergonomic chair, and laptop/monitor that is out of the main flow of family life. Find an alcove in a less used room, if you have an insulated garage and you both have to work, consider leaving the car outside and using this larger space for a temporary work space with a trestle table. The kitchen table may seem a good idea at first, but it can become difficult and stressful to combine family, downtime, and minimise distruption when the central table is covered with work. Keep the kitchen table for family time if you can.
Paper work can take over a small space very quickly. Routines around where items should be filed (if you print them out) and storage of important reference documents need to be established early on. Shelves, filing drawers, bookshelves that tuck under the desk are a good idea to set up right from the start.
Put some items around your desk that inspire you, and remind you of your goals. Try to make it a space that is kept for working purpose. When you are there you are working, when you are away from the desk you are spending time with your loved ones or recharging. Spend your downtime AWAY from the desk. Make the spaces where you recharge as calm as possible - tidy away clutter, put away laundry as soon as it is brought in from outside, get rid of items you dont use anymore, and make a habit of ensuring that it is a place to relax and you are not staring at the 'to do' pile of work or housework. Get into some good habits.
Set working times, and family time, downtime, putting the load of washing on time, fairly strictly for yourself. That way everyone knows when its time to work and time to relax and play. If you have to share child care, ensure those timeframes have been discussed and everyone has some time either to themselves to recharge, or time to get their work done.
Family life with kids + work can be a little like combining oil and water. The thing about working from home, particularly with younger children, is that adult work life tends to have a linear approach to it, and children have a life approach like bubbles, floating and then randomly popping when you least expect it. That's ok - don't expect them to understand or comprehend the adult work approach if you haven't previously needed to work from home before. You may need to choose certain time periods when you can work uninterrupted, eg in the evening or early morning, rather than expect them to accommodate you. Some days it may simply not happen - and that's ok too - this is a specific season of time which will pass. Let it go and move on, spend some time on that lego model with them instead...
Spending a lot of time in your home environment can also bring into sharp focus things that you have been meaning to change regarding shaping your home to better fit your life. We have Skype & Facetime options set up so we can chat and meet with our clients virtually. We work with CAD technology which has a BIMx 3d model option to view concepts, ideas and drawings. We can issue concepts to our clients so they can travel around their project on their computer, tablet or phone and experience it virtually where ever they are in the world. Assuming you are well, if you are wanting to spend some time thinking about renovating or building this during enforced time away from the office, or would like to get us to mock up a concept for you to mull over, order your property file from the council online so you have existing house data easily to hand for us to work off remotely. Contact us if you would like to talk more about this option.
We hope you and your family stay well over the coming months.