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Working from Home and Distance Learning: Are You Ready for the New Normal?

Working home

As a public health crisis continues to ravage the country, more of us are working from home than ever before. At the same time, students across the United States are preparing to get back to school without stepping foot inside an actual classroom. How do busy parents with demanding careers navigate the twin specters of distance learning and working with kids in the house?

As parents gear up for another round of online classes, many are already juggling more than they can comfortably manage. Work performance is essential in an era of ballooning unemployment, but so is ensuring kids have access the best possible education. School closures mean working parents are now trying to navigate not only the increased demands of careers which can feel precarious during an economic downturn, but also the crucial tasks of supporting learning and keeping kids entertained throughout the day.

Tips for Managing a Packed Schedule in a Crowded Home

Everyone is home, which means you’re operating out of a space that must serve as not just shelter for your family but also as a home office, playground, classroom and sanctuary simultaneously. If just thinking about the stress of managing it all makes you anxious, you’re certainly not alone. Still, making it all work is possible; here are a few tips to help you navigate the new normal.

  • Work Out a Schedule Together – This is a great time to think out of the box when it comes to scheduling, and to give kids a sense of ownership over the process by including them. It’s a good idea to take advantage of any flexibility in your own schedule at the beginning of the day, too. If possible, make yourself available for help early in the school day so kids can get settled in properly. Investing a bit of time into the start of each school day can help ensure kids are equipped to learn independently while you work.
  • Press Your Collaborative Work Tools into Service – The same tools you use to work on collaborative projects from home can help you streamline the online school day. Older kids can check off completed assignments on shared tasks, attach documents for accountability purposes and take an active role in managing their day. All the while, you’re able to provide much-needed oversight while working.
  • Define “Structure” on Your Family’s Terms – For some families, working to recreate the schedule of a typical school and work day is the best kind of structure. For others, it may be more helpful to shake things up a bit. If kids are required to be logged in during normal school hours, can you work in the evening? If you have a pressing morning video conference, can a science lesson happen after dinner? Structure just means a consistent and effective routine; if that works better for your family later in the day, look for ways to adapt your schedules accordingly. 
  • Outsource What You Can – How much of your daily workload could be handed off to a skilled assistant, if only one were available? While there’s plenty about your job and daily life no one else is qualified to handle, there’s a good chance you’re juggling a few things you could outsource. That doesn’t have to mean hiring a full-time on-site assistant; virtual options provide flexibility and access to top talent, regardless of geography. 

Few people would call the current state of events an ideal situation, but it doesn’t have to be an untenable one. With some creative thinking and the right support, your career and your family can thrive even during a pandemic.

Posted on September 2nd, 2020 by Client Advocate Team

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