This is a challenging time, not only for Administrative Professionals working from home but especially for those with children. WFHSAHPs are the real MVPs.
With the public spread of COVID-19 putting the health of mothers, fathers, and their kids at risk, almost all Administrative Professionals with children have been forced to telecommute. On top of this, the possibility of a child contracting the virus from school has forced these working parents to enroll their children in virtual school while they work.
Normally, the backup plan involves a family member, babysitter, or nanny. However, many childcare workers must stay home themselves to avoid contracting and/or giving the virus to the children they are responsible for. Many parents are also no longer able to afford childcare while generating less income at work. What does this mean for working parents during this pandemic? This description of a typical week before the pandemic, for a full-time Executive Assistant from Toronto and single mother interviewed for a blog post on corporettemoms.com puts things into perspective.
How to Ease the Work and School Day Struggles
Organizing your schedule ahead of time and seeing it next to your child’s school schedule will help you plan out when it is best to have meetings or phone calls. Even parents with teenagers have claimed to encourage keeping their kids on a regular schedule. For the parents with younger children who do not want to risk taking their child to daycare, try to keep them busy during the more important parts of your workday, schedule video meetings during nap time, and plan ahead for interruptions by keeping your audio on mute.
For mothers and fathers with school-age children, it is also helpful to find activities like the ones employees of Career Builder suggest in the advice article entitled Balancing Kids and Work In Quarantine. Try not to beat yourself up over activities available to your child during this time. One of the people interviewed in the article above admits using movies on an iPad to keep her child busy during work and honestly claims “sometimes a parent must do what they must do!”
On the other end of things, the situation at work may also need a bit of tweaking. Ask the Executive you work for if he or she can be flexible during this time of the pandemic while your child is in virtual school. You can even ask your coworkers to take over some of your regular assignments for the time being.
Last, but certainly not least, Administrative Professionals who are now work from home parents should prioritize self-care when possible. If the mom or dad is not taking care of themselves emotionally, the child’s safety and mentality can be put at risk. According to another article from Career Builder entitled Can Working Parents Have It All, a good way to keep both a parent’s and child’s spirits elevated during this time is to keep a list of things you have completed for work in addition to an “it’s done” list your child has completed for school.
A Surprising Silver Lining
Those of you trying to find a balance between being an Administrative Professional and a parent during this pandemic will feel better for the chaotic weeks to come once a schedule is made, activities to preoccupy children during work hours are strategized, assistance is requested from your professional support system, and mental health in the entire household is taken care of. Let me leave you with this last silver lining, at the end of an article for The Washington Post, freelance writer and work from home parent Jason Basa Nemec writes “in the harsh light of the coronavirus pandemic, I hope that all of us who do this work are feeling at least a little bit more seen.”