How to Balance Remote Working While Family is Also at Home
Wed, April 21, 2021

How to Balance Remote Working While Family is Also at Home

Several of the world’s largest companies are already sending employees to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. / Photo by: Vasin Leenanuruksa via 123rf

 

Several of the world’s largest companies are already sending employees to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people have had to quickly adjust to the new ways of connecting, leading, and operating without much preparation as social distancing has been implemented to prevent a large number of employees from contracting the virus. But how do you maintain a balance between work and family life if the rest of the members of your family are also at home?

Plan holistically on how to work at home

Kourtney Whitehead, an advisor to senior industry leaders at Fortune 500 firms on making career transitions and securing board placements, shared that there are ways to manage the unavoidable stress and balance the two competing priorities. One is by planning holistically. A myriad of tasks will be coming your way. If you will not come up with a plan on how you are going to address these, there’s a high chance you will fail to meet work expectations as the home life quarantine will require more of your time than what you expected. This is because you may be constantly interrupted by your family members.

In drafting your plan, Whitehead suggests considering various scenarios that will likely come up as you will be working in an environment with your loved ones. Is there a good time to take work calls? Do you prefer quiet time to focus on work? For some people, they can consider alternate time for childcare if their spouse is also working from home or they can ask older kids to entertain themselves during a certain period. Face these realities while planning and do not underestimate the possible challenges.

Have a candid conversation with your team or boss

It is a privilege to work from home and get paid but you should also try to perform your tasks just as you do when you are in the office. It is a good idea to have candid conversations with your team or boss about your situation but explain that you will be committed to helping the company at the same time. During the conversation, address certain parts of the work that may be impacted while you are working remotely and confirm the tasks that you can complete or commit to. This will give your boss the heads up of the potential issues that may arise. You should not overpromise yet still do your best. A poor work-life balance can negatively impact a worker’s happiness and health as they feel less in control and more stressed.

 

It is a good idea to have candid conversations with your team or boss about your situation but explain that you will be committed to helping the company at the same time. / Photo by: Antonio Guillem via 123rf

 

Boost your physical stamina

Don’t neglect your mental and physical health while you are at home. This is one of the most important things you can do to avoid getting sick. You can incorporate these things in the coming weeks, which may mean changing your lifestyle. Get as much sleep as you can, meditate, or do other stress management activities, and skip binge-watching the news while stress eating late at night. It will only leave you frazzled or grumpy the next day and you may not be able to take the usual workload.

Share your thoughts early

If your spouse is also working at home, there’s a need to communicate effectively to avoid unnecessary tension. This is because your relationship norm may not work in a new setting. For instance, you may want to skip watching a movie together after putting your children to bed because you may need alone time as both of you have been working around each other during the daytime.

Set boundaries

UK-based professional institution for management Chartered Management Institute Anne Francke said via The Financial Times that it is an “unprecedented” time as everyone will have to embrace a different workplace behavior. Workers have to adapt to new routines. She encouraged people to get up and get dressed and set boundaries between home and work. This can be done by scheduling breaks and time to end work.

Telecommuting, Remote Work: Statistics

Insurance agency BOLT Insurance shared in a study that working from home is a money saver both for the employer and the employee. Businesses can save $11,000 a year per employee and the employee would save between $2,000 and $7,000 a year.

Before the implementation of social distancing, there were already several people that sometimes or usually work from home. Database company Statista shared selected European countries in 2018 and the corresponding share of employed people between 15 to 64 years old that work remotely: Netherlands (35.7%), Sweden (34.7%), Iceland (31.5%), Luxembourg (30.8%), Finland (30.3%), Denmark (27.4%), United Kingdom (23.8%), Belgium (22.7%), Austria (21.7%), France (20.7%), Estonia (20.1%), Ireland (19.3%), Slovenia (17.8%), Portugal (14.7%), Germany (11.6%), Norway (11.4%), Switzerland (11%), Malta (9.7%), Czechia (9.4%), Slovakia (9%), Montenegro (8%), Spain (7.5%), Croatia (6.7%), Hungary (6%), Greece (5.1%), Latvia (4.8%), Italy (4.8%), Lithuania (4.6%), Turkey (2.9%), North Macedonia (2.8%), Cyprus (2.2%), Bulgaria (1%), and Romania (0.7%).

Meanwhile, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that jobs in the financial sector offer the most workplace flexibility as 57% of workers in such an industry can work from home. Some industries that work from home by industry in 2017 to 2018 included professional and business services (53%), information (53%), manufacturing (30%), public administration (30%), other services (28%), education and health services (26%), construction (17%), wholesale and retail trade (17%), and transportation and utilities (14%).

Flexible Work Schedules Offered to Employees

Employers Association Forum (EAF), a nonprofit association dedicated to serving the businesses and HR community with HR tools, legal compliance, and surveys and economic data, showed the most common flexible work schedules offered to employees. These include flexible hours - work core hours but may start and end between specific times (71%), compressed work weeks - fewer days, longer hours (29%), 9/80 work schedule (29%), job sharing (14%), employees may work longer days during the week and leave early on Fridays (29%), telecommuting (29%), and none (29%).

It may be difficult at the start to navigate into remote working but after overcoming this trying time, the company gains a way of leading a remote workforce. For employers, give your employees the support, both emotional and practical, they need during what could be a tough transition. Workers may feel the economic fears but bosses can speak up to maintain people’s trust in your leadership.