It’s been a little more than a month since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and in that time, the way we work has changed dramatically. Many people work from home because their offices have closed or they’ve been instructed to stay away from large crowds.
According to a survey of 10,000 workers, most people believe they are just as productive working remotely from home compared to in-office. But this is a different story for those working from home and, simultaneously, taking care of their loved ones (elderly parents, sick family members, or family). This presents a unique challenge, as balancing work and caregiving responsibilities can be difficult when you’re in the same place.
What can an employee who works from home do to maintain a good balance between work and personal life?
Here are a few tips for working from home while caring for a loved one.
Make a schedule and stick to it
One of the most important things you can do when working from home and caring for a loved one is to create a schedule and stick to it. This will help you better manage your time and avoid overlap between work and caregiving responsibilities.
If possible, create a schedule that allows you to have dedicated times for each activity. For example, you may want to set aside specific hours for working, caring for your loved one, and personal time. If your loved one needs constant care, you may need to be flexible with your schedule. However, it is still essential to create a schedule and stick to it as much as possible.
Communicate with your employer
Another important tip for working from home while caring for a loved one is communicating with your employer. Let them know about your situation and discuss any accommodations that may be necessary.
For example, you may need to adjust your work hours or take on a lighter workload. Employers are generally understanding of these types of situations and may be able to offer some flexibility.
However, it is important to communicate with your employer early on and keep them updated as your situation changes. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts down the road.
Take breaks and care for yourself
Taking breaks and caring for yourself when working from home and caring for a loved one is also essential. This can be difficult to do, but it is important to remember that you cannot pour from an empty cup.
Make sure to schedule some time for yourself, even if it is just a few minutes each day. Use this time to do something that you enjoy or that helps you relax. This can be anything from reading, going for a walk, or listening to music.
It is also essential to ensure that you eat healthy meals and get enough sleep. Taking care of yourself will help you be more productive and better able to care for your loved one.
Plans for interruptions
No matter how well you plan, there will always be interruptions when working from home and caring for a loved one. This is to be expected, and it is vital to plan how to deal with these interruptions.
Some things that you may want to consider include:
- Have a backup plan for child care in case your loved one needs more attention than you can give. Ask family members who can give you a hand from time to time. Make sure to ready your child as someone will look out for them, and you don’t want them to be unfamiliar with them and cause problems for your family member.
- If your parent is sick, make a strategy for how you’ll care for them while also working. Suppose your elderly parents always need assistance getting up from sitting or resting. You may buy lift chairs to make it simpler for them to stand up without your help. This way, you can work while caring for them and not being concerned
- Have a list of emergency contacts you can call if there is an issue with your loved one. This may include their doctor, a neighbor, or a family member.
- If possible, try to work when your loved one is sleeping or occupied with something else. This will give you some uninterrupted time to get your work done.
Develop coping mechanism
Last but not least, it is essential to develop coping mechanisms for dealing with the stress of working from home and caring for a loved one. This can be anything from journaling, and meditation, to exercise.
Find what works for you, and schedule some time for it every day. This will help you to reduce stress and better manage your emotions. Also, keep your lines open at all times and don’t disengage.
To sum up
Working from home while caring for a loved one can be challenging. Still, it is possible to successfully manage both roles with some planning and organization. Following these tips can make it work for you and your family.