By Dr (Maj.) Manish Mannan
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic swept the country, schools and colleges have been declared shut and offices have switched to work from home policies. Most of the parents have worked from home with their kids for the occasional sick day or weather-related school closure, the prospect of doing so for weeks on end amid long-term school closures is especially daunting. Many of them are getting panic attacks everyday as they are juggling with putting plans into place to keep their kids engaged and also managing their own work schedules.
Experts suggest that one should try to keep calm as much as possible in such scenario and never compare yourself with others. Take it one day at a time.
Let go of the gender-specific roles in household
Don’t forget the fact that you’re not a superwoman. You cannot manage everything – be it doing dishes, taking care of kids and elderly or making the mind-boggling PPTs – on your own. Ask your partner or other family members to help you as much as they can. Since domestic helps have also gone on leave, the family members can help you in doing the dishes, dusting and laundry. Let go of the gender specific roles in your household in this crisis situation. There is nothing wrong if a male member of the house is making lunch while you are finishing your con call.
Tips to schedule your work:
Set a daily schedule and stick to it
In the late afternoon, when other members plan to take a nap and kids would love to watch TV, this is just the ideal time to finish your most important office work that needs maximum attention.
Stop pretending at work that things are not challenging at home. It has been found that anxiety reduces and parents get to manage everyone’s expectations better if they are upfront with co-workers about what is going on.
Your sanity is priority
You can’t be an effective employee or parent if you’re constantly worried about the work from home setup. Stop worrying about stuff like ‘My kid is watching too much TV’ and then start feeling guilty about it. Always express your gratitude to the situation because so many parents do not have the luxury of working from home.
No organisation expects you to not take time off when working from home. You can opt for small breaks and utilise this time to get some quality time with your kids. You can also participate in the activities they are doing at this time.
Challenges faced with children while working from home
Managing work without hampering productivity is the biggest challenge when you work from home. Your kids believe that since you’re at home, you will take part in their activities. But it’s very important that you should make your kids understand the urgency of your work. Give them loads of puzzles, colouring books and board games. When you’re making some PPT or writing something, give your kids also some writing exercises with a timeline. Make it a competition of who finishes first. Give them a treat when they win a challenge.
Schedule your work
Get started early
When you work from home, you wake up and put on a pot of coffee, and start working immediately, much earlier than normal working hours. You only start making breakfast once you need a break.
Have positive feelings
Research suggests a lack of positive feelings about a task can also contribute to procrastination. When you work at home you are surrounded by things that are personally meaningful to you. In comparison, your work can seem less meaningful. This contrast may make it difficult at times to stay focused and productive.
(The writer is HOD, Paediatrics & Neonatology, Paras Hospital, Gurugram)
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