It wasn’t that long ago that a lot of adults dreamt about being able to work from home (WFH). How nice would it be to not have a commute! How wonderful to be able to spend more time with family! What a gift to be surrounded by creature comforts of home rather than fluorescent lights in an office!
Of course, fast forward to right now and a lot of us are finding that WFH lifestyles are actually much more difficult than we ever imagined.
Not only does working from home mean for most that there’s literally no separation between work life and home life, but, when everyone (including your kids) are working from home too, then suddenly those peaceful visions of getting work done in your pajamas after a leisurely breakfast seem strangely naïve.
But, before you give up on your WFH dreams, know that there are ways to better balance working from home with the rest of your life — even if your spouse and kids are at home with you.
Below are a few ideas that will hopefully help you work from home this year (and beyond) with less stress and a lot more enjoyment.
Stay grateful. All of those visions you had of working from home in the past are still valid, even if you’ve started to lose perspective. Benefits like not having to commute or being able to dictate your schedule more independently all still exist, they may have just been clouded over by some of the disadvantages you’re now focusing on too much. Each day you have the opportunity to shift your perspective and remember just how much you have to be grateful for. The more you’re able to focus on the good, the more you’ll have to enjoy with your WFH lifestyle.
Create space. If you have several people working (or learning) from home at the same time, then it’s critical that you find space for each person so that everyone can focus. Of course, if you have children that need your help with devices and technology, you’ll want to keep them in sight. And while creating space is a physical act, you can also create space mentally by remembering that it’s not your job to take care of everyone else while you’re working. Set yourself and your family up for success and then let go.
Let go of perfection. There are no perfect days. And, if you remember, the same was true before we all ended up staying at home for work and school. If you try to control and manage every single part of everyone’s day, you will feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Remember, there’s only so much you can ever do. Whether it’s a child sitting on your lap during a Zoom meeting, dogs barking during a conference call, or technology problems, keep in mind that everyone is going through the same thing. Even if some people seem like they always have it together, the reality is that they don’t. They too will have their days when they’re struggling. Nobody is perfect — and neither is life.
Ask for help. If you have a partner at home with you, don’t be afraid to ask them for help when it comes to managing WFH schedules and life. The better you communicate to your partner and family about what needs to be done in order to make this new lifestyle work, the better able they can help you. Also don’t forget that there are people outside of your home who are happy to help you too — including tutors for kids, neighbors for childcare, and restaurants for those nights when cooking a meal is just too much!