By Sandy Sponaugle
Posted on March 17, 2020
Filed under: Blog, News

Navigating work and life changes due to the Coronavirus

In addition to the health concerns of the coronavirus, one of the biggest challenges is how it is disrupting work and family life.

Businesses are having employees begin working from home. Schools and universities sent kids home to take their classes virtually.

As parents, not only do we have to navigate potential changes to our work environment – we have to handle the changes happening in our entire household.

I’ve had to face these challenges myself as my daughter Tabitha was recently sent home from university. She thought she had another 6 weeks of school with friends, plus scheduled band and gymnastics performances she was excited about. Then, at a drop of a hat, she had to go home and finish her freshman year of college from her childhood room.

So, how do we begin to navigate these changes?

  • Acknowledge the challenges our kids are having.

Hearing Tabitha talk about her disappointments has put her challenges into perspective.

She’s frustrated and sad to miss out on college experiences. She’s also used to a certain amount of newfound freedom as a college student, and now she’s got to answer to her parents again.

The first step to communicating effectively is to listen. Listen to your kids’ frustrations and acknowledge them so that you can handle these challenging situations from a place of compassion.

  • Discuss needs and expectations from a place of mutual respect.

If your children are teenagers or older, have open conversations where you can both share your needs.

My goal with Tabitha is for us to help one another navigate this new dynamic and new set of circumstances with mutual respect. I want to understand her needs as well as expressing my expectations, so that we can navigate this new environment together.

This will make for a more harmonious agreement of expectations, and a more harmonious household as we face the unknown future.

  • Create your own workplace standards at home.

Many of us work in office environments because that is how we thrive. Personally, I always prefer working in an office versus working from home.

Over the years, I’ve found that in order to be my most productive at home, I’ve had to create certain home-workplace standards such as:

– Creating set work hours, just like going into the workplace.

– Showering and changing before starting the workday. (Resist the urge to work in your pajamas – you’ll feel better for it!)

– Creating your own workspace where you have privacy and a pleasant environment. (Make it feel as much like a home office as possible.)

  • Create supportive methods of communication with your team.

If you are transitioning to a more online environment, consider using systems like Asana for project management and Slack for team communications (versus mile-long email chains).

We’ve been using Zoom for video conferences, webinars and even their phone system for a while now. If it’s new to you, check it out and embrace the power of video so we can connect with other humans in a safe and productive way.

These are just a few of the options out there that can help you stay focused and communicate effectively as a team.

Ultimately, know that we are all figuring this out together. As you discover new needs or challenges, continue communicating both with your family and team in order to handle the unknown harmoniously.

Are you in the midst of making this transition? What have you and your family found to be helpful? Leave a comment down below.

‘Til next time,
Sandy

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