Surviving telework (with children)

Since last week, there has been turmoil in the workplace and in almost all industries affected by the quarantine of employees, the threat of a major closure or cancellation. Monday morning, many employees, encouraged to voluntary social isolation, will be teleworking. Or – the height – in teleworking with children. How can this double task be carried out without losing your mind?
As a teleworker for many years, as a self-employed worker, employee and manager, I learned to work with my children aged 3 and 6 around, like last summer and very recently during the week. spring break. Here are some tips to help you find your comfort, avoid the pitfalls and, who knows, maybe make it a new common practice.

1. Agree to allow yourself time to adapt

It’s a safe bet that the first hours will not be the most productive, between the technical glitches, the feverishness of the children, the continuous news and the chat service of the company which overflows with jokes and directives, we gives time – to yourself and to children – to find your bearings and your “flow”

2. Work with the result in mind and not the hours

It’s in the DNA of organizations to assign us a cubicle and expect us to be seated there all day. However, in teleworking, it is useless and with the children around, it is unthinkable. It is therefore an opportunity for both the employer and the employee to experience results-based management and flexible schedules.

To establish a climate of trust favorable to teleworking, employer and employee must agree on a clear and important mission and on realistic deliverables. It is not enough to work for a given number of hours, but to accomplish the strategic work necessary for the advancement or the desired continuity.

It is important, for example, to target priority projects and why it is, in complete transparency. For example, say, “It is important that project A is as late as possible because the business cannot afford to be paid later.” ”

When possible, we will try to quantify productivity other than in hours. For example, instead of saying that the priority is to continue to customers, it will be said that customers who write must receive an answer the same day, because it is the reputation of the company that depends on it.

When all the members of the team understand their individual and common mission, we have a situation favorable to engagement. Everyone is therefore better able to organize their time and regain a certain feeling of personal and collective efficiency, balance and satisfaction.

This is how we will overcome the biggest disadvantage of telework: the perception that we work less or less well.

3. Maintain a bond with the team and communicate effectively

Staying away from the office gang, you can be afraid of feeling isolated and tempted to connect to the various channels of corporate chat all day. Once the priorities are clear, it is easier to organize our communications effectively.

Chat: Anyone who thinks of telecommuting thinks they should always be online, ready to answer or participate in chat. However, there is nothing more anxiety-provoking and counterproductive. Stay away from corporate and social media chats during your “concentrated work” blocks. Give yourself a few 15-minute social breaks, 2 to 4 times a day. Even if you manage a team. However, invite people to reach you directly, by phone or by text message if they have an urgent question. You will therefore receive a notification directly, even when you are with the children.

HONOR YOUR CALLS: For discussions about priority projects or deliverables, also minimize chat and informal emails. Grab the phone and hold the scheduled statutory meetings. Even dare to do them by video conference. Not only is communication more effective orally, but there will be something warm and friendly about your face-to-face discussions from your respective environments.

TAKE A BREAK FROM THE COMPUTER: Some find their account more than others on the social web, but after a day of work at the computer, promise to leave your tools behind to reconnect to the analog world, to members of your family and your environment. Go out for a walk, bake cookies or play ball with the kids. Without travel, you should have at least a little space and time for all this!

4. Establish a work / family rhythm

What about the kids? Rhythm is sort of the new routine that everyone will have to experience and learn. Who says rhythm, says fluid: no need to plan everything around the clock, but it must be predictable so that children know what awaits them.

For example, we set a fixed time for snacks, meals and screens, then we identify the time slots where we will be 100% available to play or chat with them, such as at the beginning, middle and end of the day. Useful tags for them as for us, which could easily be sucked by the vortex of our computer or our usual work routine.

5. Don’t chase children

So much the better if another adult is at home or if you decide to take turns with friends or a neighbor. However, if you share the house with the children, be aware that you cannot make them disappear to work as if nothing had happened.

The source of conflict and stress is the need to control the situation. Accept that it will be different and imperfect, establish rules, but be prepared to repeat them and explain them often, it’s all new!

As for the workspace, install yourself in a reasonable proximity to their playground so that they know you are there for them and inform them of the rules, such as the possibility of sitting near you for calm and autonomous games or the need to put your hand on your arm to talk to you while on the phone.

Finally, to avoid your own frustration, plan work blocks of 1 to 2 hours maximum, depending on the age of the children, before taking a break during which you can interact with them or observe their activities.

Take it into account and if – through the requests, the resolution of the spatches and the installation of DIY materials – you get to work 5 or 6 hours, it will be a very good day.

Take it all with a grain of salt, limiting the pressure is the key.
Simply take the opportunity to be together.


7:30 am-8am: play with children
8h-10h: social web and work block 1 (2h)
10 a.m .: snack break / children
10:30 am – 11:30 am: block 2 work (1h)
11.30am-1pm: family break / dinner
1 pm-3pm: block 3 work (2h)
3 p.m. – 4 p.m .: outside with children
4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m .: social web and emails (30 min)
8 pm-9pm: block 3 work (1 hour or more if necessary)

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