7 Step Guide on How to Communicate With Family Members That You Are Busy When Working From Home

7 Step Guide on How to Communicate With Family Members That You Are Busy When Working From Home.Blog cover

Remote work. While it has been around for a while now, not everyone has had a chance to find out what it entails. 

With the recent turn of events and most of the world switching to remote working to assist social distancing amid COVID-19 virus, it has become clear that most people were not prepared for this and might be confused on how to get things done from home.

But worry not, as we have compiled a 7-step guide on how to work from home undisturbed and still enjoy the perks of being around your loved ones.

1. Work during your usual working hours

Source: gihpy

You might be tempted to wake up later than usual just because you don’t have to commute, but it would do you more harm than good. Your body is used to the routine you had before and will naturally be inclined to be productive when you usually are.

Your family members are also most likely to respect you being busy if you are unavailable to them during the same time of the day that you usually are when you’re physically in the office.

Here are some tips to help you achieve this:

 Although you don’t have to spend time on commuting anymore, it is essential that you stay on track with the routine you have established. Your body will automatically get into “work” mode for you at the right time if you get up at the same time.

Greet each other in the morning via your favorite team messaging chat as you would in the office. This helps you all feel less distant and in-touch with the usual routine in the office.

 A simple alarm on your phone will do. This will help you stay on track with your usual routine and not give into the temptation of “just one more Netflix show”.
 

2. Wear real clothes

Source: gihpy

Yeah, we know. While this seems like an obvious one, many people think working from home in their PJs is the way to go. But the truth is, wearing anything BUT PJs  works both in your and your family’s favor.

You see, if you wake up and work in your PJs, your family will instinctively feel that you’re as approachable as usually when it’s lounge time.

Here are some tips to help you achieve this:

This classic tip will save you time spent on decision fatigue in the morning and create a sense of accomplishment first thing in the morning.
For what we know, there are no office shoes comfier than your fluffy slippers! Although, if you have a comfortable pair of smart looking shoes, we’d advise you to wear those instead to get in the appropriate mood.
While you don’t have to be all suited-up, PJs and sweatpants are a no-no. The point is- the further you can get from loungewear, the greater your chances of undisturbed work.
 

Now go put on some pants and keep reading on!

3. Use a do not disturb sign

As anyone who’s had just one day of working-from-home experience with anyone else in the house will tell you – interruptions from others can be even more annoying at home than in the office.

So it would be wise to use some kind of way to show them you’re busy. Of course, you could print out a clever do-not-disturb sign, but you’d risk having it on your door all day long and leaving no time for them to actually interact with you (which loses the whole point of having a sign anyway). 

This way your family can still enjoy time together without interrupting you in the middle of a conference call.

Here are some tips to help you achieve this:

There’s no point of having a do not disturb light hidden from sight. Place it somewhere where it is most easy for others to see.
It is super important to let others know how to interpret the colors. You could stick to the classic red for busy and green for available. And then set the custom colors together with your family and let them choose. This way, for example, if your kids favorite colour is purple, you could set that up to mean “playtime” or “tea time” . This is especially helpful if you have very tight deadlines but still wouldn’t want to miss out on the family time gained.
Leaving the light red for the whole day is a bulletproof way of it being ignored. You must take breaks for your own health , but also to encourage interaction with others when the color is anything but red.

And look, some have even found out that it works better with kids than it did with their coworkers.

4. Set up a dedicated workspace

Source: gihpy

Same as you have a desk in your office, you must prepare a dedicated workspace at home. Ideally, it would be an entirely separate room from anyone else, but we know that’s not always possible. 

So here are some ideas on re-purposing what you already have:

Yes, even if it’s that fluffy massive thing from your living room. It is of utmost importance you make yourself as comfortable as possible for the long hours you’re going to be seated for.
If possible, create a standing desk by working near a book shelf and simply using the space as a desk. This will help your posture and ensure you don’t get the health issues associated with sitting for long hours.
A great way to ensure an ergonomic layout is to use a breakfast tray or some books to elevate the laptop on your desk surface to the optimal height. Use a surface that is flat and wide enough so it can support your wrists while you work
This means simply being seated in an area that is well- ventilated. It could be sitting near the window and leaving it a tad open to let the oxygen in. If you have any plants, now is the best time to place them near your workspace. If you are capable of geting hold of some new plants at the moment, choose from these that are the best for air purifying and easy to maintain.

Wherever you choose to work, it is important you don’t work anywhere else, so it sets boundaries for your family of where you can be approached and where not. So, if you decide that the kitchen counter is the best possible place to work, work ONLY from there. Meaning, don’t start carrying your laptop around the house and working from anywhere.

You can check out some top tricks how to make the most out of your home office here.

 

5. Choose the best place for video calls

How to work from home

Source: gihpy

This tip definitely is an extension of having a dedicated workspace.

Each job is specific, and if yours entails talking to anyone on a video call, you might want to find the best backdrop in your house prior to choosing the final workspace to settle in for this time.

Here are some tips to help you achieve this:

While everyone understands you might not have the best view over Central Park in New York outside your window, it’s most important you choose to sit close enough to a wall that no children (or wifes, husbands, grannies and puppies for that matter) can run behind you unnoticed during an important call.
Another way to ensure no unwanted interruptions is to not be seated next or in front of any doors where anyone can enter. This way, you’ll be able to avoid something like that BBC interview that went wrong.
If the background absolutely must look neat or you just want to cover those freshly painted crayon drawings by your 5 year old Picasso, you can always re-purpose curtains or bed sheets and cover the wall behind you to help you in a rush.

6. Tell your neighbors (SMARTLY!)

Communicate To neighbors when working from home

Source: gihpy

This is a great rule if you live in a shared house or a flat. And neighbors in this sense means the ones you share your living space with, too. To help you assist with the most crucial times of the day, tell your neighbors and loved ones about your plans beforehand.

For example, tell them about the 30 minute conference call you’re gonna have at 4pm the next day.  This is simply to ensure no unexpected noises come from them when all you need is peace and quiet for that important Zoom sales pitch. 

Here are some tips to help you achieve this:

It is of utmost importance to contact your neighbors by using any method that doesn’t involve close contact. It could be a phone call, message or simply by talking through the door. If you absolutely must meet them face-to-face, ensure at least six feet (2 meters) distance between you two.
We believe this is a must no matter what is your work specific. But if you’re a musician, personal fitness trainer or a professional whose work involves noise, you should definitely tell your neighbors about the times you plan to practice or do 500 jumping jacks above their heads at. You know, to be sure your tuba practice doesn’t interfere with a toddlers’ sleepy time.
It would be plain rude for you to ask for more and incline your plans are more important than your neighbors’. Please, don’t be that person.
 

7. Use headphones

Source: Luxafor

If all else fails, use headphones. A staple in the offices worldwide and a great tool for cancelling noise from others, it really shouldn’t be used to cancel out people. 

This should be your last resort when it comes to showcasing your availability to your family.

Here are some suggestions:

It can be very helpful when your neighbors didn’t listen and just keep renovating their living room right next to your dedicated workspace. Or when your kids are watching the latest cartoons on Netflix.
If possible, use wireless headphones like these. As stressful as switching to remote work already is for you, figuring out where to put the cord from your headphones is just an unnecessary pain that can easily be avoided.
None really needs to have the headphones on for the whole day. Even you. Also, your family will appreciate you being available on your breaks as much as your hearing will.
 

Some final words

If there’s one and only one takeaway from this guide we’d like you to have, it’s that you must be as serious about working and setting up boundaries at home as you usually would while being in the office.

Just trust me, because as I’m writing this, my Luxafor Flag is red and about to go purple, so I could have some tea time with the kids just before the scheduled Zoom call that my neighbors are aware of.