Home working and family life

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working from home

Even as the UK government begins to lift restrictions that affect all aspects of our lives, it seems that ‘work from home’ (WFH) is here to stay. Although the actual directive ‘work from home of you can’ is about to be revised, many firms have found that they have been able to work more efficiently during WFH. Such aspects as time saved for commuting and money saved on commuting and shopping during the working week have seen staff think differently about how they should be carrying out their jobs. They have also seen how much better their work-life balance can be, if a hybrid part-WFH, part-office-based model is adopted in the future.

But working from home is not a natural state of living for many people. For example, if you work in a house with other members of your family that may be home schooling or on school holidays, or if they are doing their own jobs from home, then it’s not always as easy to be as productive as in an office –  away from the myriad distractions and your ‘normal life’.

Positive family impacts

So how does your working at home affect your family? Often it can be in a very positive way. Some clients have mentioned to me that their working from home has made other people realise how difficult their job was, or how many meetings they had each day. As all this is taking place within four walls at home – no traveling to meetings, all calls taken at home – there’s no way of disguising the fact that if you’re busy, you’re busy. Because an office job formerly happened ‘behind closed doors’ to your family life, no amount of explaining could fully define what your working day was. Now they can see it for themselves.

Unconscious signals

Even working from home, you need to try and keep your work life and home life as completely separate entities where you can. We don’t always realise how family and partners absorb the unconscious signals and information we are putting out. I’ve found this can be especially noticeable with younger members of the family. I was thinking about this in relation to my youngest son, when he started asking me when he was about 10, “How many people have you helped to get a job today?” The fact that he even acknowledges what my job entails is interesting in itself, but also that he understands that I am helping people to find employment as part of my own day-to-day life.

I have also heard him comment: “You like your work. My friend’s parents moan a lot when they get home from work.” Again, this is very gratifying that he has taken on board what I am doing and that I am enjoying it. His comment also highlights another aspect of WFH of course – that for many people going to an office every day is actually a welcome distraction from home life and it’s not always seen as a an ideal. And that their children have noticed this too. That cut-off of leaving work every day for many is a vital part of their lives. However, I think I may have gone too far and my son has been listening to me too much when he said he’d applied to be a Junior Road Safety Officer at the age of seven – because he says it would look good on his CV…

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