By: Paige, Change Management Manager, Plano, TX, United States
In the last few months, navigating through the pandemic has yielded changes in every aspect of our daily lives. Because of COVID-19, many companies have suddenly moved to full remote work. My husband and I received news about this and school closings while our family was on spring break.
As you guessed, we weren’t exactly ready to dive into all the rapid changes—even as seasoned remote workers. Being an active member of McAfee’s Virtual Culture Club (VCC), a group that brings global remote team members together, I made sure to incorporate what I’ve learned from these connections.
Now that I’ve spent significant time managing work and three boys from home, here are my four remote work adoption tips for parents who are also playing educator like me.
Tip No. #1: Schedule Breaks
Before the pandemic, I preferred to work through lunch, so I could attend my children’s soccer and tennis games, volunteer or take over for my husband who manages school pickup, starts the kids on homework and prepares dinner. We had a pretty good routine and it worked well for us.
In our new norm, there is no such thing as a routine anymore. We had to become comfortable with that. In my work schedule, meetings with varied times are constant for me since my role supports business in different places around the globe. At the start of the pandemic, our children transitioned to online classes, which also occur at different times and days each week.
The change in routine and moving schedules took a while to become familiar with. I had to start blocking out time to fit in preparing lunch for the kids, eating meals and making time for a short walk around the neighborhood to get out and feel the sun. Once I started doing that, I felt so much lighter.
Plan breaks away from your computer and make space to get energy out with your family.
Tip No. #2: Allow Your Professional and Personal Life to Collide
Our professional and personal lives occupy the same space now. I believe you can still manage both successfully. Though having a dedicated office space to work is necessary, I encourage you to let your kids pull up a chair to draw, craft or even read a book alongside you. This will help reduce any pressure you may have about balancing your time as a parent. Sometimes, our children just want to be near us.
Recently, McAfee hosted an Online Safety Session series virtually on Facebook, where cybersecurity experts shared knowledge and best practices with parents, teachers and kids to stay safe online. I was able to invite my oldest child to sit next to me, so we could watch it together. It was a win-win—a learning opportunity for her, a way to inspire them with my career space and a chance to spend time together.
When possible, find opportunities to break up your work day with positive family interactions.
Tip No. #3: Sprinkle in a Little Joy
A few months ago, my youngest child, who is a preschooler, started to practice writing on sticky notes and handing them to me while I was working. I’d smile, thank him and put the notes to the side of my laptop. Dissatisfied with my placement, he would quickly put the note on top of my laptop and made sure it stayed on there with extra tape every time I stepped away. Now, every time I close my laptop and see his note, it brings me great joy.
There are many ways to add joy in your day when you work from home:
- Take a selfie with something that caught your attention on your lunch walks and send it to your team
- Treat yourself to a food delivery you’re craving with no judgment
- Play your favorite song loudly between meetings
Make time for the smallest joys that makes you happy every day.
Tip. No. 4: Remember: Change is Hard, Empathy isn’t
As a change manager, I know firsthand that change is hard. Change is expected. And throughout my career experiences, I’ve learned that change is constant. It’s also okay to feel what you are feeling. We need to have grace for one another when there is an occasional interruption from kids or even pets. If you can be a great worker in the office, you can be a great worker at home.
During video conference calls, sometimes my kids enjoy making cameo appearances so they can see my teammates. My teammates, and especially my leader, always reassure me, “Paige, do not worry about it. It’s totally fine.” Now, when we have extra time at the end of a team meeting, we introduce our kids, pets or partners.
Remember, we are all in this together, globally. We are all adjusting.
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