School’s out and it’s not even Summer.
By Adam Smith on Friday, 20 March 2020
At around 5pm on the Thursday 19th March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that in order to apply further downward pressure on the upward curve of Corona cases, we would finally close the schools across the UK.
Millions of parents took to their respective WhatsApp groups to ask all the logistical questions from how to manage childcare cost, and if childcare was even allowed, to whether little Rupert’s trumpet lesson would be delivered on Skype. We were all half expecting it, but few had quite accepted it. Not just yet. Regardless, we now know for sure that the majority of children won’t be in schools or nurseries for the foreseeable future.
And, if you’re a parent working from home, you cannot avoid the fact that your child is now coming to work with you, whether you like it or not.
They will share your workspace, they probably won’t respect your workspace and if you don’t accept this, you will be very stressed indeed.
So, what will you do?
Lock them under the stairs? Pretend the screaming in the background of your conference call isn’t happening? Cough loudly, just like you would if your stomach rumbled in a face to face meeting?
No. You do none of the above. You keep calm and carry on.
Thankfully, we can all learn from Professor Robert Kelly’s experience when his daughter burst in on his live TV interview from his home study.
The interview has now clocked up over 35m views on YouTube. But what were the repercussions of this interruption? Professor Kelly was deemed a hero.
His daughter’s impromptu appearance was one of the most heart-warming live TV cameos of all time.
In fact, it made Professor Kelly a household name and he was inundated with messages of support.
So, from a practical perspective, what should you do if working from home and the kids are running free?
Firstly, if they’re curious, don’t quell that curiosity. Introduce them to your clients and business associates on calls and videos if they’re nearby. Your clients are people too., they will understand the plight.
Allow your kids to be around you when you work, let them watch you work, let them ask questions. They’ll grow bored of your routine quickly enough, trust me. And build in time for them in your day. While working from home can be a pain for some, there is a silver lining. You get to spend more time with the ones you love and you should take advantage of that.
And don’t forget, it’s not just kids that should make cameo appearances at work. It’s other family members, and pets.
So far this week I’ve had a conference call featuring a cat called Mog and an English Toy Terrier called Jackson. They’re family too remember.
You may wonder what the lasting impact will be if you allow your family to walk into your workplace willy nilly. The fact is, there won’t be a negative impact. Not if you’re in a workplace worth working in anyway.
We’re all in the same boat right now.
The true impact of this change is that your colleagues, your clients and other business associates will gain a candid insight into your real life. As a result, they’ll see you as the human being that you are. And your relationships will benefit.
The irony of the whole situation is that being apart from one another is likely to bring us closer than we’ve ever been before.