This ends up being more challenging if you live in a nuclear family: your spouse is working from home and you have a young child/children who has/have schoolwork, or you have parents with their own priorities. I end up doing as many as 15 calls a day plus replying to tonnes of emails and making long documents. How am I managing it?
Here’s my hard-learned wisdom around what works during WFH:
- Sticking to a schedule. Both K (my husband of 11 years) and I start work around 9/9.30 AM (varies every day depending on when our first call is) so we make sure the cleaning, cooking, making beds, eating breakfast, doing the dishes, prepping for lunch and getting iy (my 5 year old, for the uninitiated) ready for the day is done before we get into work mode.
- Creating separate work spaces. We both have claimed separate spaces in our house for work. We try and not step on each other toes during work hours, even keeping our individual doors shut at times.
- Getting a workout out of the way in the morning. Before the day weighs down on me. Which means getting up way before the others in my house do.
- Taking small breaks. The husband and I take small breaks every now and then between calls and meetings to continue prepping for lunch, checking on Iy and making sure she is doing something beyond day dreaming (although sometimes that’s fun as well!). Also, stretching our legs because surprisingly our home furniture is just not built for long sedentary hours!
- Sharing our calendars for the day. This helps both of us know how our calls through the day are planned so we can 1. Prep lunch accordingly (if he’s making dal, I’ll get rice ready), 2. Find a common 20-30 minute break for lunch/ coffee 3.Take turns to keep Iy busy.
- Continuously communicating with my team via texts and calls. We are all part of the Centre for Learning Futures which works in the areas of teaching and learning. It’s my job to make sure learning is retentive and fun for our students, especially in online classes now. WFH is new for my team as well and they are pulling out their hair as much as I am. Very important so the spirits are never low!
- No Netflix before 6.30 PM. It takes a lot of resolve to stick to this. However, come 6.30/7.30PM, the husband and I are like kids after the school bell. Our OTT marathons are something we look forward to along with dinner prep and supper time.
- Getting dressed for work (?) Earlier I would get dressed for work – to get in the mood. However, lunch prep happens along with work which means can’t risk getting work clothes dirty. Also, it’s suddenly so hot! So shorts and tees it is. Surprisingly, that’s not affected work! However, that does not in any way mean slacking on personal hygiene come what may!
- Sharing schedules with the little one/ones, and the elders. Iy knows she has to be on her own most of the day. Sharing our schedule for the day with her helps. She knows when to stay away or whisper in case a work call is on. Of course, sometimes we do have forehead smack moments when she walks in while an important call is on. But, it’s under control most of the time?
Work From Home, Covid-19, Lockdown, Centre for Learning Futures & Online Classes