How to NOT go mad with your family?

The country-wide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to another syndrome that is plaguing professionals working from home. We call it the WFH syndrome. This syndrome has one major cause – staying with your family 24X7.

We all love our families but staying with them all day long is taking the joy away from spending time with them. Let’s be honest! It’s driving us up the proverbial wall, especially during working hours. We have all had situations where our children needed a fight refereed during an all-important client call, or a colleague was made privy to our spouse’s agenda for the day, or someone thought that a  review call was the right time to disconnect the Wi-Fi to connect their phone charger. Scenarios such as these can put you off your game.

During workhours, you need to be able to think and concentrate on your work. Here are a few simple rules to help you maintain your sanity, during working hours at least.

Rule # 1 Put that remote down.

Ask the rest of your family to watch TV on mute or while wearing headphones. Or they could just read a book, paint, knit, or use their mobile phone.

Rule # 2 Mark your territory!

Create an office for yourself within your home. Let your family know that they cannot enter this space during working hours unless it is an emergency. Make sure you clearly define what constitutes an emergency.

Rule # 3 No food/beverage around your workstation

Step away from your workstation for your meals. Besides the fact that it is a healthy habit, it also protects the gadgets that you need for work. You don’t want to be spilling orange juice on your laptop or on the expensive headphones you just invested in.

Rule # 4 36-inch!

Maintain a minimum distance of 3 feet between two people working from the same house. Have two separate tables or create two different work corners. That should ensure that your colleagues aren’t apprised of your spouse’s meeting agenda.

Rule # 5 Do Not Disturb

During this time, your pets and kids will need your time and attention too. Put down clear rules on acceptable behaviour so that your productivity is not negatively impacted. Train your kids, partner, pets, and parents to be self-sufficient and to occupy themselves.  Ensure you spend quality time with them outside office hours.

Rule # 6 Dress up

Dress up like you are going to work. This will put in the right frame of mind. Don’t start working in your shorts and tees (unless that’s how you go to work). Also, you aren’t fooling anyone! It is evident that you are wearing a formal jacket on your regular-wear t-shirt.

Rule # 7 Find the spot

Set up your workstation where the Wi-Fi connection works best. Also, have a backup plan – a dongle, mobile hotspot, etc. – just in case you need it.

The WHO is asking all of us to sanitise your hands, home, surroundings. Likewise, you need to have a plan for mental sanitisation too to avoid side effects of your WFH syndrome.