It’s back to school 2020! The whole family is getting back to the routine of a balanced lifestyle. This year, in the COVID-19 context, it has the added “bonus” of pandemic precautions. Masks, healthy snacks, hand sanitizers and all the items on each child’s school’s list have been purchased. You’re all set. Yay!
But, despite being out of lockdown, you feel trapped.
Inhale, exhale, smile! Unlike the sudden announcement of the lockdown in March, in the back-to-school momentum, you can use this time to prepare for a work-life balance that will not erode your love life.
The solution? A meeting! Just like you like the ones that typically have at work with your team. Go to your favorite drive-thru that morning to bring back little bites or bake them. Have an agenda. Insert discussion points to organize your spaces and schedules. Based them on your responsibilities according to the following considerations.
1) OFFICIALIZE YOUR HOURS
After reviewing each of your family member’s obligations, assign each of your respective periods: work hours, family time and solo moments. Maybe you can take care of the children in the morning and your spouse takes over at the end of the day. On Wednesdays, you connect for a happy hour with friends and he gets Thursdays. Maybe you need the support of grandparents or neighbours? Have a meeting with them too.
2) DEFINE YOUR SPACES
If you each have your own office, no problem. Your office, your choices, your rules. If you share an office, define the spaces where each of you may leave your things: your documents, your computer and all that you need to be productive at work. If you are using spaces that are common family areas, decide on office versus family hours. Here too assign a place for your work stuff.
3) ESTABLISH THE CODE OF CONDUCT FOR BREAKS
Will you take your breaks at the same time or separately? Will you allow your loved one to bring the household chores as a topic of conversation? Is it okay to turn on the TV? Agree on what is allowed and not in these moments of resourcing.
4) RESPECT THE OTHER IN HIS WORK AND SOLO MODES
Together, decide on a code or time slots for interruptions. A double-sided sign “I’m in my bubble | You’re welcome” for your door, a whiteboard informing of your duties or the classic of putting on your headset, will announce “Do not disturb”. Also agree on acceptable inconvenience exceptions, just like when you were away at work.
5) HAVE A DAILY SCRUM
Start your workday by announcing important changes or specific moments, in your schedule.
6) PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU WEAR
Unless you were a yoga teacher before the compulsory telework mode, your wardrobe was at least divided into two: work wear and weekend wear. Since then, your work clothes are now in the back of your closet, stored away until you go back to the office. Without necessarily wearing your work shoes, consider dressing to perform. Plus changing your clothes at the end of the work day will also help both of you to transfer your perceptions as partners. Try it and let me know the results, julie @etiquettejulie.com.
7) COMPLIMENT BEFORE CRITICIZING
When you are both in telework mode, there are no official transitions to leave behind work before entering home life. Beware of annoyances. Do not transfer what irritates you from your spousal colleague to your couple and vice-versa. Apart from what you wear, a good tip is to use the first name of an irritating coworker with humor to name what niggles at you. “Oh la la that JP is at is again. This time he forgot to fill the printer. Grrrr! I guess, I’ll have to talk to HR about it.” Being away from colleagues also implies a lack of spontaneous recognition of one’s contributions. As you do face-to-face with your team, acknowledge each other’s efforts. Celebrate your successes too.
Lastly, in your current dynamic, it is perfectly acceptable for you to flirt at work … Here too, try it. 😉
Translated from my September 21st, 2020 published article on veroniquecloutier.com .