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15 May 2021

WFH: Work from Home, With Family, Happily

WFH gives, there are also disadvantages of working from home. For starters, some of us might miss the connection with our coworkers. Some might miss the nice coffee shops near our offices. Some of us also may be more easily distracted with less real-time supervision. And one of the most overlooked parts is that the relationship with our family might be strained.

The strain in our relationship with family during WFH is not a mere hypothesis. In America, 45% workers feel that WFH has created problems with their families. Similar condition was also found in Asian countries, as reported by CNA. This means that many families around the world feel that WFH impacts their lives. If working from home has also caused issues with family in your life, here are some ways that professionals can do to avoid conflict with families during WFH. 

Setting Spatial Boundaries

Most people don’t like conflict with families, so how do we minimize family issues during WFH? One strategy for a better WFH would be to set spatial boundaries. The boundaries between personal and professional lives that we had before WFH were there for a reason. Separating work and home life has been proven to lower stress and improve productivity. Thus, set up a space reserved for working, and when you leave the space, let go of the work for a while.

Respect for Privacy

Second of all, there needs to be mutual respect for privacy. This mostly applies to families where more than one person works at home. When work seems to invade personal space, there might need to be a greater need for private moments to relax and recharge. If other family members who work from home need some space, it is best to give them what they need. Respecting each other’s private space is important for those who are working from home. 

Time Management

Third, to avoid conflict, time management is more crucial than ever. If working at an office requires us to manage time well, time management skill is needed now more than ever when you work at home, as you also need to allocate time for your family. Aside from reserving space for working, then, it is also wise to reserve time for family. Prioritize urgent task and set aside the less urgent ones whenever possible so that our loved ones aren’t ignored for the whole day.

Better Communication

Fourth, working at home with family around means that we need to communicate better. In a family, honesty is an irreplaceable value. Speak up your concerns and your needs honestly so that your family better understand your needs, especially when you’re working. At the same time, better communication also means that we need to listen better. Constantly check up on how your family feels so that you can be prepared if there are potential issues caused by WFH.

Support from Team Leaders

Last but not least, leaders can give more support and be more understanding for team members who have family-related issues caused by working from home. Some of us might not be privileged enough to have a functional family, and strains in relationships can interfere with the person’s life and working performance. If you’re a leader, give struggling team members more time to deal with their issues. And if there’s time, listen to their problems and give them support.

In the end, work and family do not have to be in opposition to one another. Issues caused by WFH can be resolved with clear boundaries, communication, and time management. Values such as honesty, trust, respect, and empathy are needed now more than ever to keep our family together as we take care of our work-related responsibilities. As long as we put our family first, working from home can be a good thing as we get to spend more time with our family, happily.

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