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Much of the workforce in the United States, as well as the rest of the world, has had to make drastic changes the past couple of months to adapt to strict social distancing guidelines put in place to fight COVID-19. I’ve been extremely lucky to work for a great company that already largely utilizes a digital workplace, with some already working from home every day. Thankfully this has allowed me and my co-workers to keep our job during these difficult times. We’ve been living in our “new normal” for over a month now, and I figured it may be helpful to share some of my thoughts and some tips that may help others in a similar situation.

Our Challenges

  • Meeting my 40 hours for work
  • Wife meeting her 30+ hours for work
  • Actively homeschooling our 6-year old son throughout the day
  • Keeping our 3-year old son occupied without him having his face in an iPad all day
  • Caring for our 7-month old daughter who is now crawling all over the place
  • Creating some outside time for the kids
  • Maintaining focus with tasks when we are constantly working in short spurts

Tips/Advice on Working From Home Every Day

This advice may not apply to everyone. For instance, if you have a strict 9-5 work schedule that you must adhere to, you may not have the flexibility needed to take advantage of some of these.

  1. Come up with a new schedule instead of trying to “wing it”. I find that this works well for me (these are approximate times):
    • 6:30 – 8:00 – work
    • 8:00 – 10:30 – get kids fed, school/other activities started
    • 10:30 – 12:00 – work
    • 12:00 – 1:00 – lunch
    • 1:00 – 5:00 – back and forth between work and watching the baby
    • 5:00 – bedtime – dinner, get the kids outside, bedtime

This puts both my wife and I a little bit under our hours for the week, but we can fill in the gaps with PTO or working some at night or over the weekend most of the time.

  1. Take advantage of government programs, such as the FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act). Under the FFCRA, qualified employees receive extra leave for various reasons, including lack of childcare that they must now provide themselves for their children during the workday. This is a great way to at least decrease weekly work hours so you can care for your children.
  2. Take a deep breath and realize it will pass. Yes, our kids may be a little further behind in school at the start of next year than they would have if they got to finish at their actual school, but so will all the other kids. Teachers will know what to do. Yes, we are having to entertain and care for our kids while we juggle work, but we are saving on childcare costs and getting to see our kids more. Yes, it is hard to be effective at work and we are having to use PTO every now and then, but we still have jobs unlike millions of others who no longer do.

If at all possible, keep the glass half full.

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