I’m sitting outside on a chair with my laptop, watching my 3 year old jump on a trampoline, singing ‘Let it Go’ over and over again. My husband kept her occupied all morning, now he needs to get work done. I’ve worked the odd day at home with my daughter around but now this is my new normal.

With so many people working from home and trying to continue with “business as usual,” there are other factors to consider – whether it’s barking dogs, cats that like to sit on your keyboard or a inquisitive 3 year old daughter, our BAU is starting to change.

I reached out to some of my connections and colleagues for advice, and I want to share their tips and thoughts.

Excerpts from the mwah. team 

Suzanne Gavrilovic, Business Director of mwah. Sydney

What works for you?

Staying connected with the team. Being able to be honest about competing priorities. I am concerned about my daughter, who is essentially a single parent, who will need to see the progress of two kids at home (7 and 5), while staying sane.

What will you do if you have to work with children at home?

I will have to help my daughter out. I don’t work Fridays, so it’s a no-brainer for me to have her children then, but  I may try Thursdays as well to give her two clear days to work. If they are out of school all together, my mother may actually help as well. It will be different when we add the children into the mix and we will just have to do the best we can. The reality is we won’t be working a 9-5 day. We will have to get work done in and around everything else!

Sally Wolford, Business Director of mwah. Adelaide

What works for you?

I have an almost-8 year old who has some learning difficulties; what will work for us personally is flexibility and support networks. Having a flexible employer who totally gets that a working day is going to be very different is key right now. Having friends and colleagues connect and check in with each other is great and really needed.

What will you do if you have to work with children at home?

I suspect my working day will extend to start early and finish late with lots of interruptions in between, while also ensuring that I am supporting learning for my son. I’ve been compiling lots of learning activities but we will also be heading outside (we live remotely in the Adelaide hills) and learning through hands-on experience. Juggling will be key but so will ensuring that we keep a sense of normality and calmness in our household. I will be sharing what my day is going to look like with colleagues so they know what to expect.

Rhonda Brighton-Hall, Founder/CEO of mwah.

What works for you?

My kids are 21 and 23, so they’re usually out and about and away, but they’re coming home to bunker down together. It’s scary times, so we want to be together. What does work for us? Respect and treating everyone as an equal. We’re in this together.

What will you do if you have to work with children at home?

Have a family meeting and talk about who’s bunkering down here, what works for everyone, and how to give enough space. The first few days have been fun, but 624 days (I did the maths for 6 months) in a row might see the novelty wearing thin. You can only talk about work or Survivor for so long.

Adult children may seem easier, but what do you need to consider when you could have 4 or 5 people working from home at the same time?

Yep! We’re there, and it’s noisy. If we move to the dining room or the living room or the kitchen, it makes that room into a work space, and we don’t want to turn ‘our home’ into ‘the office.’ It’s about making free space that isn’t covered in work. We’re still finding a balance, but the rules already are “you can’t have your own room and another permanent room.” We each have our ‘home office’ space and then everything else is activity based working.

What hasn’t worked for you?

Asking other people to be quiet. If you need quiet, you have to find the quiet space and not try to create a quiet house

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