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Work From Home, Learn From Home - Wait ! How?

How does one maintain productivity, remain calm & maintain family harmony, love & care, all at the same time?

It is now becoming clear that Social Distancing is essential to preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. Employers are asking employees to Work From Home (WFH), Schools are asking students to Learn From Home (LFH).

Sounds good... Wait! 

How does one maintain productivity, remain calm & maintain family harmony, love & care, all at the same time? 

Take my case. My wife & I are in CxO positions with two kids (14yo & 11yo) in an exam week, and aged loving parents (81yo & 71yo) visiting us this month. 

I would like to share with you some ideas that we are implementing as a family this week. I hope you find this useful.

First things first, It is NOT a holiday, it is a working day or a school day and one is working/learning from home. That said, the good news is, that there is no travel time, hence we are cutting two hours. This additional time becomes available to spend with the family. This is the most crucial communication to all family members which can ideally be used every morning.

Children have timetables at school and they stick to it The moment they are at home, they negotiate flexibility. Come on! As adults, we do the same. Hence, it is important to draw a schedule for the week with flexibility built-in and stick to it.  

Time Table with built-in flexibility

Children have timetables at school and they stick to it The moment they are at home, they negotiate flexibility. Come on! As adults, we do the same. Hence, it is important to draw a schedule for the week with flexibility built-in and stick to it.  

So, we get to choose 8 AM to 5 PM or 10 AM to 7 PM schedule and every 90min, you can take a 30-minutes break. This gives you 4 slots of 90-minutes with an hour to spare for any unplanned activities, kept as a buffer.

Children fill out their slots with subjects & we fill out our slots with group meetings, one on one calls or individual work topics. 

Family Meeting

We all have breakfast together and broadly communicate our schedule and plan out our break activities. 

For instance, 30-minute break slots can be used for playing a board game, watching a short video on youtube, even playing a short indoor game or doing a tea-party together & a flexible 30-minutes lunch break.

Oh yes, one of us is designated as a “Schedule Enforcer” to keep check of everybody. Normally it is my wife & sometimes, I take over.

Designating a certain area as ‘Work Place’

Based on the number of rooms one has, we need to designate a certain area as a workplace for each of us. If you are in that area, family members understand you are at work. Given all 4 of us are at home, this is the hard part, but we have had some success so far. In a few days, we will get better.

Planning Weekends

Can we go to the movies? Can we go to malls? What about birthday parties? Keeping all our energy high and mood up is key. 

We plan to list down “100 movies to watch as a family” & do 2-3 movies per weekend. Run & Cycle. Go down within our apartment complex and play a game of cricket or table tennis. Finish that book you bought or always wanted to read. Sleep more :) as we all complain about less sleep. 

We plan to try out partying with friends through video conferencing (most of the tools are now free) and keep socialising virtually. 

As I finish writing this article, my daughter walks into the room & asks “How long is this going to be last?”. 

I told her “It is the battle of the World vs the Virus and the world will win in a few weeks or months”  

Let us do our part and continue to remain positive and productive until then. 

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