Not too long ago, many of us idealized opportunities to work from home. What was not to love about working from the coziness of home? Your kids were at school, you could focus on productivity and you did not have to bother looking at your watch to be sure you could catch the last express train home. In this laissez-faire approach to work life, you would probably even fit in a 30-minute additional break to cook a delicious Chicken Florentine for dinner.
As good as that sounds, the vast majority of us were forced into unplanned, prolonged, work from home situations in March due to COVID-19. I would have never imagined how difficult it has turned out to be to manage a work-life balance during this extended period. It has been anything but cozy. Do not get me wrong, I love my family- my wife Berta, and my two kids Jon and Rona. They are everything to me- but I am not sure we make the best work colleagues.
Now that all four of us are home for the bulk of the day, our house seems smaller, the kitchen is more crowded and wi-fi drops constantly. Other than Berta’s part-time job and short trips to the store, we see each other all the time. In this newfound arrangement, all four of us are learning a lot about how to live one combined life.
This ongoing work-from-home arrangement meant I had to learn how to manage time and prioritize tasks better. One of the key skills I learned during this period is to separate work from family life. To do this efficiently and effectively, I let everyone know that although I work from home, it does not mean I am always accessible. This allows me to focus and dedicate my time to tasks that require attention without the worry of unnecessary interruptions.
Once we set those work-life boundaries, I had to overcome tech challenges of working remotely. I began to adopt a similar work schedule as the one I had while working in the office, including regular coffee breaks and lunch times, remaining accessible via an open chat, as well as scheduling and participating in team and company-wide online get-togethers. Maintaining work-life boundaries coupled with utilizing tech tools correctly have helped me destress while striving to create value for W. Capra.
Finally, Berta and I as parents are also learning how difficult it is to manage two kids, a fifth grader and a second grader, who are navigating the online schooling process. We have come to appreciate the work of many teachers, assistants, and personnel in the education system. If it is tough on us to manage two kids, I can imagine what it is to work with a class of 25 students. We are also sympathetic of what the kids are going through. They miss their school friends, their PE sessions and school lunches. This was all unplanned. While we are ready to go back to some normalcy that includes working outside of the house and playing hops with friends in the school gym, we know that looking back, we are going to miss the time we spent together as family under COVID-19. And above all- when we go back to the office work, hopefully we will have learnt a thing or two about the importance of work-life balance.
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