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Surviving “Homework”…

Well, like it or not, “back to school” has a whole new meaning this year.  While a lot of us still go to the office, a whole host of traditional office jobs are now being done remotely.  

And so is school, with many systems around the world running virtual classrooms for kids or radically reduced classrooms making the most of social distancing guidelines.  

While you might feel more confident than you did this Spring as schools shut down and teachers and administrators scrambled for protocols, this Fall is shaping up to be just as challenging.  So how can you keep your kids learning and actually get your work done?  

Here’s a few tips we’ve gathered as we’ve transitioned to more remote work within the team…

Create boundaries.  Dedicate a space in the house to do the work.  For you, that might mean a home office, but for your kids, requiring them to work in a specific area when school is “in” will help them to get more done.  Mentally, this helps everyone, because our brains begin to associate certain places with “work” and others with “play.”  

Create a schedule.  School and work both traditionally have hours associated with them, and the COVID-19 era made those schedules obsolete overnight.  Getting back to them is beneficial for you and the kids because, like those “boundaries” above, we associate times with tasks.  It’s also far easier to schedule your own work if you create schedules that keep them focused on school activities while you’re focused on working.  Just as importantly, this allows everyone to begin and end their days consistently, which can reduce stress and lead to better productivity.  

Chunk your time.  With kids at home, there’s no way around interacting with them, so, in those schedules above, set aside time for you to check-in with them, verify they understand their school assignments, answer any questions they might have, and even ensure their computer or tablets are working properly.   This may seem silly, but the more you enforce rules like “No interruptions” the more you open up potential problems to solve after work.   This also gives you a chance to spend some quality time with your children when you normally couldn’t.  Make the most of it!

Take a deep breath.  Look, everyone has been impacted, so even if your child is overheard on a stray Zoom call or pops up on screen due to an “emergency,” it’s not the end of the world.  Sure, it was a little odd a year ago, but guess what?  The world has changed.  Your job now is a LOT different than it used to be, just like your child’s schoolwork is.  

Lastly, for you, don’t forget to keep your own saw sharp.  Not being able to easily engage with co-workers or mentors means some of the latent learning you’re used to receiving isn’t happening.  Take time to recognize this and tune in to podcasts or webinars that can serve to further your own education, too.  

As school starts back, following these simple rules – and adding to them – is the key to keeping your own sanity and continuing to grow in your work.  There was no way to have anticipated this, so the good news is everyone is in the same boat.  

Don’t worry, it’s going to be just fine!