“Nobody could possibly have this harder than me.”
This is a thought that has probably crossed most people's minds during the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Personally, with four children to home school, an 8-month-old baby to nurse, and trying to spend time on my own workload, it's something that goes through my head on a frequent basis.
Working from home has never been such an uphill battle. Trying to get in the hours while balancing a work conference call, the tantruming toddler and the 11 year old in desperate need of assistance with their school work is enough to have you running for the hills (if lock-down allowed, of course).
However, employers and colleagues can help ease this burden. Be understanding if an individual sometimes doesn't log into a conference call or logs in late. Don't expect them to be sitting at a desk working their exact office working hours. Look at the productivity of the individual, and not the time that they've been sitting in front of their laptop. If they're getting a few hours in during the early hours when the rest of the family are still sleeping and further hours during the late afternoon and early evening when everyone has been schooled, fed and watered, then so be it. As long as their output is approximately where it needs to be, then there should be no need to worry.
Open channels of communication will help. Check in with employees and colleagues – make sure to keep in regular contact. Supporting one another through these difficult times and being understanding will help those who may be struggling. We are living through exceptional times, so it’s understandable that some days may be difficult and perhaps not as productive as others.
This situation will not last forever. Our routines will return, along with some sense of normality. However, for now, uncertainty and disarray are the new normal in all aspects of life. It’s important that, where we grant each other leeway at home when tempers flare and patience runs out, we grant a degree of leeway at work, too.
If you need some guidance on how to work from home effectively, why not try this quick online module, designed by RWA e-Learning: https://rwaconsultancy.com/coronavirus-updates/remote-working-during-covid-19
The module covers various aspects of remote working, including productivity, protecting against cyber risks, and looking after mental health and well-being.