According to Thrive Global original survey of 5,000 respondents about coronavirus pain points, nearly 70% of people worry that their work performance will be negatively impacted while working from home, and over 70% also agree that the outbreak has negatively affected their close relationships.
Concerns about focus, productivity, and overall relationship health are extremely common. Here are some tips to help:
Scheduling home: In the same way that we recommend re-prioritizing and rescheduling work, we suggest you also consider doing the same for your home life – especially if you are trying to take care of others or home-school children. Once you’ve figured out your working hours, distinguish between deep and shallow work. Deep work refers to professional activities that need to be performed in a state of distraction-free concentration. Shallow work is non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. Schedule your deep work at times where you will be less likely to be distracted and your family is preoccupied or cared for by others. You can attend to shallow work at the times when there are likely to be more interruptions or distractions.
Discussing and agreeing with your family: Again, just as you did with your manager, you need to share and discuss your new schedule with your family to manage their expectations and to ask for the help you might need. According to Harvard Business Review: A Guide for Working (From Home) Parents, having a structured day will keep expectations clear for everyone, making time feel less fluid and days less never-ending. Set a maximum of five goals for the day: one or two things you really need to accomplish at work, one or two things you want your kids to accomplish, and one family or partner activity. Create a family planner, here is a sample you can download and adapt.
Managing interruption: Even with a well thought through schedule and clear agreement from everyone at home, there will likely be interruptions. This can make focusing on important tasks difficult and risk discomfort during conference calls and video team meetings. Plan conference calls wisely and try to schedule those meetings at a quiet time during the day. If you’re on a conference call, it’s acceptable to sometimes say, “Hi, just to let you know, I might have a child walk into this room, and I will handle it and get right back to you”. Remember, many of us are in similar situations, and may be experiencing similar challenges.