Whether you’ve worked from home off and on, or have never worked from home until now, this is a huge disruption to daily life. Going into a different physical space helps to separate work life from home life. Having compartmentalization is helpful for everyone to be effective in all aspects of life. 

However, the last few weeks have blurred the lines for almost everyone. Working from home is no easy feat, especially if you have kids who are online learning and need structure. In this post, we went behind-the-scenes with one of our Commercial Sales Reps, Sabrina, to see what she learned by working from home in a new virtual (literally) reality.   

1. Keep Everyone on a Schedule

We all have a schedule. Whether it’s our children who have assigned class and lunch time, or us who set up certain meeting times, our bodies and minds are accustomed to set schedules.

COVID-19 has changed all of that. It has put us in a position where we need to be flexible during a time of uncontrol. Now more than ever we need to set schedules and boundaries. It will help make life feel as normal as it can be during this time. 

So how do you set a schedule for yourself and kids to prevent them from interrupting during conference calls? 

Don’t break your routine. Before COVID-19, did you wake up at 5 am to work out, shower, and get your children ready for school? Don’t stop now. Still continue to do that. 

Also make sure to maintain your children’s school schedule as much as possible. For example, do they have math at 9 am? Gym at 11 am? Lunch at 12 pm? On weekends, create a schedule for the week that would match what they would follow if they were in school. 

Try to match your work schedule to your children. Schedule that conference call for 9 am when your kids are quietly working on homework. Eat lunch as a family at the same time. Have your children attend that online learning session while you respond to emails. 

We know this is a tough time! We’re all being the best substitute teachers and work from home employees that we can be. Hang in there. 

2. Designate a Work Space

It might be easy to curl up on your couch or in bed to work; however, that could actually make you less productive. Creating a “work zone” will help to keep that normalcy feeling of going into the office. Whether you have a dedicated room in your house  or you’ve taken over the kitchen table, mentally this work space will give you the same level of compartmentalization of going into an office. 

Where should your kids go? Sabrina mostly works from her kitchen table, and has her kids work at the dining room table. This way she has created two separate spaces, but is close enough to assist with any questions. 

3. Take Breaks

It can be easy to forget to take breaks while working from home. Normally if you’re at the office or on the road, you have certain triggers that cause you to take breaks. At home, you could be missing these triggers. It’s imperative to take breaks. Whether it’s a 5 minute yoga break, grabbing a quick snack for your kids, or a short walk around the block, do it. These breaks will allow you to have a clean break from work and you’ll feel revitalised and more productive. 

For children, their main break revolves around lunch and recess. They will still need at least 20 minutes to run outside, work on a puzzle, or play in an imaginary castle. This will help them to burn off energy and mentally take a break. 

Besides lunch and recess, try taking a 10-15 minute break mid morning and mid afternoon. We bet both you and your children will feel more refreshed. 

4. Try to Keep Home Clean and Bacteria Free

COVID-19 has taught us all to focus more on cleaning. With the recommendation to wear gloves, masks, and constantly wash your hands, maintaining a clean space can quickly start to become a worry. This is where breaks can help you to keep the house clean. 

Every couple of hours take 5 minutes to pick up any messes or move a load of laundry. Have your kids take a 10 minute break from school work so they can pick up their rooms. If they are old enough, make sure to set the expectation that they must pick up their plates and cups after eating. More often than not, these simple chores can be easily accomplished throughout the day so come 6 pm, you can focus on other tasks. 

On top of every day cleaning, you now have to worry about different surfaces and how long bacteria and infectious diseases can live on them. Some of the products we supply are non-porous so bacteria does not grow or absorb into the material. In fact, a variety of grocery stores, restaurants, and healthcare facilities use Corian® Solid Surface or Corian® Quartz which means you can feel a bit better about venturing out for those necessities. 

5. Take Time to Bond and Live in the Moment 

 Cherish this time with family. There probably won’t be another time where we are all forced to stay at home. Instead of rushing around everyday after school or work going to dance classes or sporting events, create memories that will last a lifetime. 

Sabrina has been using this time to go on bike rides with her kids. They are playing outdoor games and drawing with chalk. Her littlest even learned how to ride a bike with no training wheels. 

Yes, we are all in a situation where we are being tested in ways far beyond what we could have ever imagined. Take this time to enjoy, learn, and love your family. We’ll all get through this together.

On behalf of the entire H.J. Oldenkamp Company, we hope you stay safe and healthy!