Astarted teleworking for many years, as a self-employed worker, employee and manager, I learned to work with my children aged 3 and 6 around, like last summer and most recently during the week of released. Here are some tips so you can get comfortable there, avoid the pitfalls and, who knows, maybe make it a new common practice.
1. Agree to give yourself time to adapt
It’s a safe bet that the first few hours will not be the most productive, between technical glitches, the feverishness of the children, the continuous news and the chat service of the company which is overflowing with jokes and instructions, we are gives time – to oneself and to children – to find its bearings and its “flow”
2. Work with the result in mind and not the hours
It’s in the DNA of organizations to assign us a cubicle and expect us to be sitting in it all day. However, teleworking is unnecessary and with children around, it is unthinkable. It is therefore an opportunity for both the employer and the employee to experience management by results and flexible hours.
To create a climate of trust favorable to teleworking, employer and employee must agree on a clear and important mission and on realistic deliverables. It is not enough not to work for a given number of hours, but to accomplish the strategic work necessary for the desired advancement or continuity.
For example, it is important to target priority projects and why they are so, in complete transparency. For example, we will say: “It is important that project A takes as little delay as possible because the company cannot afford to be paid later. ”
When possible, we will try to quantify productivity other than in hours. For example, instead of saying that the priority is to continue as customers, we will say that the customers who write must receive a response in the same day, because it is the reputation of the company that depends on it.
When all team members understand their individual and common mission, we have a situation conducive to commitment. Everyone is therefore better able to organize their time and regain a certain feeling of personal and collective efficiency, balance and satisfaction.
This is how we will overcome the greatest disadvantage of teleworking: the perception that we work less or less well.
3. Maintain a link to the team and communicate effectively
Kept away from the office gang, one can fear feeling isolated and tempted to tune into the miscellaneous corporate chat channel all day. However, once the priorities are clear, it is easier to organize our communications effectively.
CHAT: Whoever thinks of telecommuting thinks that they must always be online, ready to answer or participate in the chat. However, there is nothing more anxiety-provoking and counter-productive. So stay away from corporate chat and social media during your “focused work” blocks. Instead, take a few 15-minute social breaks, 2 to 4 times a day. And this, even if you manage a team. However, invite people to reach you directly, by phone or text message if they have a pressing question. You will therefore receive a notification directly, even when you are with the children.
HONOR YOUR CALLS: For discussions around priority projects or deliverables, also minimize chat and informal emails. Grab the phone and keep scheduled statutory meetings. Dare to even do them by video conference. Not only is communication more effective orally, but there will be something warm and friendly to your face-to-face exchanges from your respective environments.
TAKE BREAKS FROM THE COMPUTER: Some find their appeal more than others on the social web, but after a day of computer work, promise to leave your tools behind to reconnect to the analog world, to your family members and to your surroundings. Take a walk, bake cookies, or play ball with the kids. Without travel, you should have at least some space and time left for all of this!
4. Establish a work / family rhythm
What about the children in all of this? The rhythm is in a way the new routine that everyone will have to experience and make their own. Who says rhythm, says fluid: you do not need to plan everything exactly, but it must be predictable so that children know what to expect.
For example, we set up a fixed time for snacks, meals and screens, then we identify the time slots when we will be 100% available to play or chat with them, such as at the start, middle and end of the day. Useful beacons for them as well as for us, which could easily be sucked into the vortex of our computer or our usual work routine.
5. Do not chase children
So much the better if another adult is at home or if you decide to take turns with friends or a neighbor. However, if you share the house with the children, be aware that you cannot make them disappear to work as if nothing happened.
The source of conflict and stress is the need to control the situation. Accept that it will be different and imperfect, make rules, but be prepared to repeat them and explain them often, this is all new!
As for the workspace, sit within reasonable proximity of their play area so that they know you are there for them and inform them of the rules, such as the possibility of sitting near you for quiet and independent games or the need to put your hand on your arm to talk to you when you are on the phone.
Finally, to avoid your own frustration, schedule blocks of work of 1 to 2 hours maximum, depending on the age of the children, before taking a break during which you can interact with them or observe their activities.
Take the tally and if – through the requests, solving the spat and installing the craft materials – you manage to work 5 or 6 hours, it will be a very good day.
Take it all with a grain of salt, limiting the pressure is key.
Take the opportunity to be together, quite simply.
TYPICAL SCHEDULE OF TELEWORKING WITH CHILDREN
- 7:30 am-8am: play with the children
- 8 am-10am: social web and work block 1 (2h)
- 10 a.m .: snack break / children
- 10:30 am – 11:30 am: work block 2 (1h)
- 11.30am-1pm: family break / dinner
- 1 p.m. to 3 p.m .: work block 3 (2 hours)
- 3 pm-4pm: outside with the children
- 4 pm-4:30pm: social web and emails (30 min)
- 8 p.m.-9 p.m.: work block 3 (1 hour or more if needed)