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Company Culture | 4 minute read

A guide to balancing work and family for virtual employees

December 2, 2015

If you are a parent, you understand both the perks and the potential challenges that working from home present. Lines can get blurred so you have to find a way to create definite and clear home-office boundaries. It is necessary to find a way to proactively balance the demands of our professional "virtual" lives with the ongoing responsibilities of our personal lives. 

Read more: Get our take on communicating in a virtual work environment

Employers are thinking outside the box to accommodate the shift of focus for employees who now tend to place greater emphasis on working from home rather than having higher salaries (Forbes). Yet according to a recent article published by Glassdoor, it seems the overall work-life balance satisfaction has been consistently decreasing in recent years. As parents who work virtually, we would like to offer four tips to help us in our daily effort to remain productive and maintain a positive, balanced family life.   

Tip 1: Own your schedule  

Organize and plan ahead of time. Ask yourself: What are your priorities at work this week, and what are they at home? Schedule work meetings around picking up or dropping off your kids at school, if possible. In fact, create a family calendar.

We recommend using a Google Calendar because of the following:

  • It's easily shared and synced with all smartphone devices
  • It's color coded, easy to understand and can be updated in real-time
  • You can print the week’s schedule out the Sunday prior to set expectations with the family

 

 

 

 


These benefits allow you and your family to have a better picture of what to expect going into the work week.    

Tip 2: Maintain a routine 

Create a consistent morning routine to avoid hectic and frazzled mornings. Prepare lunches and backpacks the night before and keep breakfast rather simple. Get yourself ready for the day before your kids wake up. This will help you get some quality time with your kids before taking them to school and getting your workday started. Later in the day, know when to stop working and turn off your computer so you can focus on your family and spend quality time with them. Once the kids have gone to bed, perhaps knock out some household work but, most importantly, relax and do something for yourself.  

Tip 3: Balance your priorities

Asking important questions about your different responsibilities can help you define your priorities for yourself, your family and your job. What key things does your family need to stay on track? What are some projects at work that you need to overachieve on? What do you personally need to for your own health, well-being and sanity to help you thrive? Where can you get support when needed?  It is important to know when and how to delegate — deciding what you need to do yourself and what someone else can handle.  

Tip 4: Make time for breaks

When working from home, there aren't many opportunities that take you outside your "office," so it is important to understand how to manage your own schedule. You could take a one-hour break, leave the home office area and visit a different part of your house to relax, unwind and gain some clarity. Grab a cup of coffee, let the dog out, put a load of clothes in your washer — regardless of what you choose to do when you are not sitting in front of your computer, keep in mind it is important to step away at some point to refresh. Taking a break will help you be more productive the rest of the day and think more clearly which will result in a better workday and reduce stress.   

We do understand that achieving a work-life balance as a parent may seem elusive, especially in today’s connected world. It can be quite challenging and become overwhelming at times. At the end of the day, it's key to know there's no standard of perfection you have to master to be considered a great employee and a great parent. By making small changes in your everyday life, such as starting a family calendar, keeping your morning routine, taking a lunch break in the workday and knowing how to delegate and manage your schedule, will make a great impact in the overall quality of your life and positively affect your family.  

COMMUNICATION IN A VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENT 

About Parental Control Committee

The Parental Control Committee is an employee-driven WilsonHCG resource for information on balancing responsibilities as parents and as corporate citizens. Committee members ask questions, share advice, and make suggestions for larger initiatives to create a better work environment for parents. Beyond WilsonHCG, Parental Control’s mission is to help all working parents by sharing tips and information for a better work-life balance.

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