We’ve written a fair few articles on working from home over the years. After all, it’s often one of the major changes faced by employees becoming contractors. But this one’s somewhat different as now everyone who is able to is working from home and the challenges faced by contractors and freelancers working from home are a bit different too.
Contractors are now finding themselves working from home while their partners also work from home and, with schools closed, with their children at home too. So, while we usually offer tips on dealing with the isolation that working from home can bring, this one is about dealing with the pressures of working around people who aren’t normally at home with you, while you try to get to grips with the UK’s current way of life.
Flexibility is key
If you’re suddenly working in a household where your partner is also working from home along with your kids then you’re both going to have to adapt . If your partner is employed, how flexible they can be will depend somewhat on what they do, although we’re pleased to hear many employers are currently being accommodating with regards to core hours.
As the contractor, you are probably the one with more ability to be flexible so it may be a case of splitting up your day so that you’re working in the morning before your partner starts work, looking after or home-schooling your kids while your partner works, then swapping through the day. While it’s easy to say “oh, I’ll work in the evening,” how realistic is it if you’ve been looking after the kids all day? Especially if they’re very young.
Understand each other’s work diaries
As you’re going to be doing meetings via telephone and video conferencing now, it’s a good idea to make sure you know each other’s diaries so you can plan accordingly. For instance, if your partner has a meeting at three, you probably don’t want to schedule one at the same time in case your toddler runs riot. Being aware of each other’s schedules allows you both to work around each other and plan key tasks, calls and meetings whilst allowing you or your partner to take care of the children.
Find new ways to concentrate
If you like to work in absolute silence, that may be a problem for you for the next few weeks or months. Experiment with new ways to concentrate, whether that’s listening to music or a podcast, or using meditation techniques to drown out distractions. It will be trial and error for a time, but you’ll get there and you’ll find something that helps you get into the work zone.
This is new to all of us and many contractors may find this new way of working a struggle, so if you have tips of your own, we’d love to hear them.