2020 has, amongst other things, been the year in which our working practices have undergone a radical transition. To keep workspaces as sparsely populated as possible, and to shield everyone from the novel coronavirus, we’ve been working from home – and it’s likely that many of us will continue to work from home, even after the danger has passed.
But working from home isn’t all plain sailing, especially if the home environment hasn’t been set up with work in mind. According to polling by instantprint, a Rotherham-based printing company specialising in flyers and signage, the most egregious source of distraction are children – 28% of respondents to the poll reported that children can be a pain when they’re trying to get stuff done, beating out pets, partners and Netflix. Consider the fact that not everyone who responded to the poll has children in the house, and the problem becomes especially galling for parents. If you consider only children in a certain age range, then the figure might well be higher still.
How to Cope with Distraction
If you’re in this position, then you might find yourself pulled in multiple directions. It can be an incredibly stressful experience, having your attention fragmented by constant interruptions. You might settle down to focus on a particular task, get interrupted, and find yourself taking twenty minutes or more to pick up where you left off. So what’s to be done?
Create a Personal Workspace
If your home doesn’t come with an office, then it’s time that you made one. This area of the house should be understood to be off limits to everyone but you. You might hang a do-not-disturb sign on the door, but a better idea is to just persuade everyone that you aren’t going to be pleased at any intrusion.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance when you’re at home requires a little bit of planning. If you don’t set out in advance which hours you’ll be spending working, and which you’ll be spending socialising with your nearest and dearest, then you can be fairly sure that the two will be at odds with one another. You’ll be answering emails when you should be spending time with the children, or fending off children when you should be answering emails. Having a set routine will not only make you more productive, it’ll provide structure to everyone else.
Bringing in a childminder is a complicated thing, especially when there’s a pandemic ongoing. But you might easily recruit family members, including grandparents, to pitch in. Form a support-bubble with another household. Of course, once the pandemic has concluded, you’ll be able to think about paying for serious childcare.