Covid-19 has caused major disruptions for people all over the world, imposing travel bans, the minimisation of social gatherings and even more importantly introduced the idea of ‘social-distancing’ which is to become a part of our daily lives for the foreseeable future.
Your employer would most likely have discussed with you a contingency plan in the event you need to work from home, and no doubt, for those of us who are parents the issue just builds as you also need to consider potential school and day care closures.
To help you prepare for the potential disruption of work and school routines (and assist with keeping your sanity during the process), we have put together a set of guidelines using leadership guidelines to navigate you overcome the challenge presented by Coronavirus, and put you back in the driver’s seat.
Have a conversation
Nip the situation in the bud and discuss the scenarios you as a working parent may face if you were to work from home. You will need to consider the scenario if your child’s school closes, but work does not or vice versa (or both). Let your boss know that you want to clarify your mutual expectations for each of these scenarios, so that no one is left blindsided. Some great conversation tips would be to use open-ended questions such as “My understanding of how we handle this scenario is this, do I have this right?”
Make sure you cover specific details, with the end goal that the arrangement meets everyone’s expectations.
Even without a pandemic to heighten the expectations of juggling childcare, housework, work and other parenting responsibilities can often cause frustration.
Have a conversation with your parenting partner about how you can proactively manage changes to your schedules with one or both of you working from home, and also how potential school closures will affect your routines and come up with a game plan that everyone is happy with and can stick to in the event it needs to be put into action. This conversation is easier when you are talking in planning mode, rather than crisis mode. I know a lot of us will argue that working under pressure works, but it’s often easier to come up with creative outside the box solutions in a calm, proactive (not reactive) environment.
Get tech savvy
Technology is necessary not just, for entertaining the kids at home, but also for schoolwork and of course, to sustain you be able to work from home effectively. Run a quick check of your equipment, and make sure you have enough devices for everyone to get what they need. You also need to check your internet capabilities to handle multiple devices, and familiarise yourself with work log in procedures and school technology systems. For younger kids, you may need to relax screen time rules to keep them occupied while you work!
Think outside the box
While you may not be able to replace day care or schooling based on the restrictions in your area, you can trade for another option. Some schools may be offering classes online, but consider other ways that you might be able to make things easier for one another.
Focus on the bigger picture
In times of crisis, it is often easy to lose sight of what the bigger picture is and turn to reactive solutions. As working parents, we have the opportunity to show our children that while this is a scary time, we can manage it by working together.