Many companies are still asking employees to work from home. Whether this is your first time, or you regularly WFM, we look at how to stay productive (especially with children home all the time with schools closed).

All around the world global companies are either asking or enforcing work-from-home policies amid the spread of Covid-19. Children have also been sent home from school to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Classes have not been cancelled and parents are now finding themselves in the new roles of caterers, office admins, therapists and assistants to mini-executives – all on top of their regular jobs.

It is realistic to assume that this working lifestyle will become the new normal for many of us, at least until September when we hope to see schools reopened. With some employees working from home for the first time, figuring out how to stay on task in a new environment and keeping harmony in the home will require new measures to stop everyday feeling like a dreaded Monday.

With a good planning, a balance of structure and flexibility and creativity, everyone will be able to fulfil their obligations.

Set up a good workspace

If you have children also in the home you will all need a well-equipped home/office space for everyone. They will also have their video conference calls with teachers and constant printouts of daily work. If you don’t have a home office, do as much as you can to create a bespoke space exclusively for work. Not having a well-equipped space can cause a temporary decrease in productivity. Make sure you have all the basics needed for everyone. Once the dedicated workspace area is up and running it becomes easier to concentrate and reap the benefits of remote work. Many people feel more productive working from home, citing benefits such as fewer interruptions from colleagues, less office politics and reduced daily stress from not commuting. Use the commuting time gained to sneak in an online yoga class or a hobby.

Good communication

Your children will feel like mini-colleagues and need to be motivated in the style of an all-hands meeting. It is important to be realistic of your working situation and the willpower needed to make it succeed. Take the time to explain to them what’s happening, go through everyone’s daily timetable to be transparent when you are available to help. Keep up the communication at work, with your team to know exactly what is expected from you.

Create a timetable

The key is to not try and mimic your children’s day at school or a day at the office. It is important to recognise that this new situation requires a new way of operating, making way for cooking lunch, fitting in exercise and adding time for chores. For parents of young children, starting an early morning work shift will allow for time on your own work, creating a window of productivity before the ‘school day’ begins.

Even for those used to WFH, it can feel unstructured and isolating. Loneliness can make people feel less motivated and less productive, sticking to a timetable can help. Allow time to reach out to co-workers, managers, teachers and friends.

Dress to impress & enjoy your day

Just because you can lounge around in your pyjamas doesn’t mean that you actually should. Sticking to your daily routine of taking a shower and getting dressed can help make you more productive. Multiple studies show a positive link between happiness and productivity.

Avoid judging yourself, your children or others on what you can get done each day. People of all ages and all levels of a company are adjusting to a new normal. Sir Isaac Newton discovered the theory of gravity during the quarantine of the plague, we can reach our own milestones.