||by Jennifer Hernandez
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
My spouse and I never imagined bringing our newborn child into this world during a pandemic. However, we quickly learned this pregnancy was going to be far from “normal”. Like many of us have experienced during the last nine months, due to social distancing guidelines, we were unable to celebrate some of life's big moments like having a baby shower. Not to mention dads going to prenatal appointments was a big no-no.
As 2020 has slowly progressed, not much has changed except for the fact that I am is a working mother who now has an infant child to take care. Thankfully, I am fortunate enough to work for a univeristy that is very flexible with my working schedule and allowing me to work from home.
Life at home has been a juggling act of being productive, taking care of the little one, staying sane, and secretly fitting in some self-care time. I wonder how the other working moms and dads are doing it? So many children are home learning remotely, yet parents still need to be as attentive and effective at work as if they're in the office. Knowing there are other working parents going through similar experiences, below are a few helpful tips I have found useful in my routine that I would like to share:
Schedule Similar Tasks Together
- I am sure you have heard doing similar tasks together in the same time block helps increase productivity and efficiency. Implementing this strategy was a game changer. I scheduled tasks requiqiring more attention and concentration when it was more quiet. For example, when my newborn went down for her morning nap, the next two hours were “crunch time”. All of my detailed project work and complicated tasks were handled during this time. I made sure to leave duties that were lower priority to more active times in my household. It is all just a balancing game these days!
Take a Break
- I know what you are thinking. Aren’t we supposed to be talking about being productive? Yes, we are and taking breaks are imperative to your mental health during times like these. According to a new analysis conducted by Great Place to Work and health-care start-up Maven, roughly 9.8 million working mothers in the U.S. are suffering from workplace burnout1.
- It isn’t easy juggling work responsibilities with child-care. Taking breaks to breathe, clear your mind actually acts like a reset button. It helps as a motivator throughout the day to get the necessary work done without constantly feeling overwhelmed.
- Be honest with your supervisor about your current home and work-life imbalance. Trust me, you are not alone. Majority of the whole world can share your pain. By speaking with your supervisor, the option of alternative hours or work load changes might be presented. This could allow you to productively continue to work and meet goals, but still find the balance to be present with the children too! You never know your options if you don’t ask.
Make Technology Your Friend
- Now more than ever, employers seem to be more understanding that technology can empower employees to be effective when working from home. If you are new to working from home there might be a bit of a learning curve with technology on how everything works… and that is okay! Take the time to understand how these tools can assist you to get your job done. You might learn these new resources are actually really helpful with doing the same tasks more efficiently.
- A great example is the increased usage of Zoom meetings. Previously to covid-19, the majority of work meetings were in-person - making being in the office mandatory. Now, schedules are more efficient because employees can login to their virtual meetings on their laptop or mobile device and when finished, get right back to work without the fuss of commuting to and from the office. Genius!
I hope my experience and tips of working at home with children successfully during this pandemic has been helpful to you in identifying ways to persevere in this unique time.