Millions of people around the world are trying to keep the economy going by working remotely. Offices are closing to increase social distancing and slow the spread of coronavirus and work is moving to our houses. For many employees and managers alike, working from home is new and uncharted territory. Even for those of us with experience working from home, having roommates, partners, dependents, and children at home is creating new challenges.
Kimberly Kudan has worked in the seed industry for over 20 years. She founded Kuden Enterprises in 2019 to focus on helping clients personal growth through experiential learning retreats. She shares advice about working with children in the house. It comes from her 25 years of employment with kids home in the summertime.
For Employees with kids at home:
1. Create a designated space to work
2. Discuss rules around when you may not be disturbed
3. Have a plan when you will be “offline” or “with your office door closed” – what is the activity for the rest of the family during the planned time for work
4. If you do not have a separate room to isolate from background noise, find some instrumental classical music to drown out background noise and enhance focus (I suggest Vivaldi’s Four Seasons)
5. Invest in a decent quality headset for noise-canceling streaming music and/or conferencing (typically a headset microphone with a plugin is reasonably priced with background noise canceling)
It is no longer practical to expect undivided attention toward our work during the day given kids are home from school, friends and loved ones may be in need physically or emotionally, and we ourselves our managing the stresses of the current situation.
Leaders, please demonstrate to your teams that it’s ok to step out of a meeting because a child needs help or because we want to respond to a text from our family. It’s ok. Don’t apologize. We’re all trying to be productive while caring for ourselves and for those around us.David Shapero, Chief Business Officer at LinkedIn
For Managers unfamiliar with remote working employees:
1. Depending on the type of work – set clear goals within a specific timeline (daily or weekly)
2. Set up check-in calls or video conferences to get an update on what you can do to support your staff (the timing is dependent on the goals you have set)
3. Encourage your employees to schedule the check-in calls with you so that you are not babysitting
4. Embrace a flexible mindset to enable your employees to adapt in a way that works for them without losing focus on accomplishing the goals
5. Review the goals periodically and DON’T set arbitrary goals – if you don’t know the priorities then have your employees lay them out for you