The space you used to eat breakfast at 8:00am is now Mom or Dad’s home office and the living room couch is a classroom. When the whole family is home all day and night, rooms will morph and change depending on what’s happening. You could engage in a lively conversation over a bowl of cereal, but when a parent is video conferencing with colleagues, that’s a distraction. Not only that, but you’ll need to make a mental shift from family time and leisure into work time and back again.
How can a family manage without conflict? Design a space usage plan. Start each day answering these questions (the answers may be different on Monday than on Thursday.)
- What time does family space become workspace?
- What does each person need to accomplish today?
- How much privacy does each person need to avoid distractions?
And since we don’t have to stay inside all day, take a walk, run, or drive as a way to start the day. When you walk back in the front door, you’re not coming home, you’re going to work and school.
Have fun with this. Kids can make signs to designate work space, study space, play space, and even an art area. They can design Do Not Disturb cards each family member can post when they should not be interrupted. (Some organizations use red cards and green cards — red for don’t bother me and green for come on in.)
At the end of the day, shut down the work space and turn it back into family space. How about another trip outside. That can be your daily commute. It’s important to separate work life and home life, especially when they take place in the same place.