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Gah! What To Do When Your New Co-workers Are Your Partner And Kids

Socially distancing from the rest of the world means you’re hanging out more in your home. And this means you’re spending more time with your loved ones. Yes, this can be great, but it also has its challenges.

All relationships have to manage differences. One of the ways we do this is by spending time apart to get a break from domestic life and each other. Social isolation is magnifying your home life, including your closest relationships. How you can make home life more comfortable for everyone involved? Here are seven tips. 1. Hold team meetings with the ‘fam bam’. Discuss how you can manage each day and its requirements. Include ways to have space and privacy.

2. Make a space. Try to make a space in your house as a designated ‘do not disturb’ zone. Consider having a code word that says you need space. Mine is ‘storm warning’ which kids and partner know means ‘give her space’. Have an attitude that says it is ok to ask for space. To avoid burnout, build in some daily alone time for each person if they need it. I call it ‘spousal distancing’. 3. Create a scapegoat. I stole this great idea to use a scapegoat for fun. Create a character to cop the criticism. ‘Boris didn’t clean the bench tonight’ or ‘Did Boris forget to tell us its rubbish bin night?’ This will It break the tension and make for a laugh. 4. Implement routine and structure. Pandemic times are forcing unexpected changes in our lives. And it’s a marathon, not a sprint, so get into a comfortable rhythm. Everyone thrives on routine, such as exercising at 7am, eating breakfast at 8am, and starting work at 9am. Routine and structure keep us all anchored and feeling safe in unsettled times. The Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton was marooned with his men on the polar ice in 1915 for 16 months. All of the men survived, and routine and structure greatly assisted. They had a timetable every day including exercise, work, game time and mealtime. And any newfound non-commuting time can be put into self-care... Not more work! 5. Set boundaries. Create a gap between work time and family life. This means, for example, changing your outfit. Wearing different clothes helps everyone know you are not at work. 6. Look for the good. Notice what is great about WFH. It could be eating healthy lunches or sitting in the backyard and listening to the birds for five minutes. Find good qualities in your partner and kids by observing them as a worker or student or home organiser. Perhaps they show an excellent mellow influencing aspect of themselves on zoom meetings. Perhaps you now see how hard they work and what they juggle. Make sure you tell them all the great qualities you have observed in them. My partner was amazed to see that sometimes I can be too busy to heat up my lunch, and that I really do stack a great deal into my day. His observation of me made my work life very real for him. 7. Be kind. While WFH with the family might be stressful, aim to be courteous and tolerant, just like you would be with a co-worker. Kindness and respect are values that all households can make clear, support and acknowledge.  Need some extra support? Book a time to talk to me individually or as a couple. I am still available in-person or via Zoom during this lockdown period. I offer a free 10-minute consult for new clients, which is a great way to see if we clique and whether I may be able to help unstick you.

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