Ok, so this is happening. Either by choice to practice social distancing or because your company has “strongly encouraged” you to, you’re now working from home. If you’re like me, you actually like going into the office: you get to dress up, you enjoy your coworkers, and you get a lot of benefit from being face-to-face with your clients. Working from home is nice now and then, but now we’re here for at least two weeks. With children in the house. How are we going to do this?!
The answer, dear mommas, is one day at a time. Here’s my plan to make working from home as successful as it can be, given the situation:
Get Ready for the Day
I’m still getting dressed, putting on some makeup, and doing my hair so that I feel mentally prepared. Yes, I’m wearing leggings instead of dress pants, but I found out when I was on maternity leave with my first child that I need to put some effort into getting myself ready in order to be a productive member of society.
Set Office Hours
While I prefer being in the office, I work from home occasionally, and the temptation is real to turn “working from home” into “I checked email once an hour while making beds, cleaning the kitchen, and doing laundry.” We can’t do that, y’all. If you need to make your bed or clean up the breakfast dishes before you can focus on your work, do that before you start working just like you would if it were a normal workday. Once you begin work, focus on work! My normal workday is from 8:00 to 4:30, so I plan to work from 8:00 to 4:30 from my makeshift office as diligently as possible.
Usually, when I work from home, I work from our kitchen island…but usually, my kids aren’t home! So I’m setting up my home office for the next two weeks at a small desk in our guest room. I explained to my 4-year-old that even though momma will be in the house, I am working and I won’t be able to play until after I finish my work for the day (anyone want to place a bet for how many times she’ll be up to see if I’m finished for the day?). And listen, y’all, you do not need to get all fancy with your makeshift office. Please enjoy this picture of my very plain set-up.
Don’t Be A Hero
I’m fortunate that my husband is a teacher and, since his school is closed, he’s able to parent our 4-year-old and 2-year-old while I work a normal schedule…but I realize that isn’t the case for everyone. So please listen closely, dear momma: don’t be a hero. This is a weird time, we don’t know if we’ll be working from home for 2 weeks or 6 weeks, so do not stress about screen time. Let your kids watch movies. Let them play on the iPad. Let them play video games. You’re trying to work from home, you cannot possibly also create a perfect replica of their school or daycare experience and that’s ok! You have my permission to ignore anyone who tries to make you feel bad about doing what you have to do to 1) honor your work commitments and 2) preserve your sanity.
Want some more tips for working from home? Emily Ley, the creator of the Simplified family of planners, has a great post here.
I’m aware that being able to work from home is a huge privilege that many in our community do not have: grocery store clerks, health care workers, utility workers, trash collectors, the Chick-fil-a staff, and many more all have to go in to work and potentially put themselves (and their families) at risk of exposure. So let’s do the best job we can at work, and give grace and thanks to those who are still going in and keeping our economy running.