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COVID-19: 7 Tips on Working from Home

03.24.20 | Life Application | by Michelle Myers

COVID-19: 7 Tips on Working from Home

    Home and work. For the majority of us, these are two of the most essential parts of our lives. Normally, regular rhythms help us separate our different roles and responsibilities in each place. But now, most of us are working from home. How are we supposed to simultaneously juggle business meetings and tasks, household chores, family relationships, and some sense of normalcy? Not to mention -- homeschool!

    Do you feel that pressure, too? Here are seven quick tips on how to maximize working from home:

    Get up and get dressed. 

    Yes, you can probably sleep in a little later, and you can wear your pajamas all day, but just because you can, that doesn’t mean you should. It’s simple, but it’s true – if you’re wearing loungewear, you will probably want to lounge, not work. 

    Over-communicate with your family.

    Your work and family demands will dictate how rigid your schedule needs to be, but the point is valid for every home: you need a plan, and you need to be on the same page. Even my three-year-old knows she can help our family by playing quietly with her dollhouse while her brothers are doing their schoolwork! Don't just set a plan for the responsibilities (work, school, chores), schedule in some fun family activities too (movies, board games, walks, and hikes)!

    Over-communicate with your co-workers.

    Effective communication at work is always a priority, but especially at times when stress and emotions are operating at record highs. Assume the best, give lots of grace, and don’t forget to go beyond “shop talk.” If you work in a business environment, God has still called you to ministry! There are so many hurting people around you, so check on your co-workers. Be a source of encouragement. Pray for them, or even better, pray for God to make a way so you can pray with them.

    BOUNDARIES: Set, Communicate, Stick.

    Part of communicating with your family and co-workers should include the boundaries you set for yourself. When will you be working? When will you be homeschooling? When will you be "husband/wife" or "dad/mom?" Set the boundary, communicate the boundary, and stick to the boundary! As you're developing new habits, you may need to schedule "office hours" in a room away from the family noise. You may need to delete email/social media off of your phone or stick your phone on the charger in another room during family time. Boundaries do us no good if we only set them. We have to communicate them to those around us, and we have to stick to them. 

    Build in accountability.

    As a general rule, most personalities lean toward extremes under stress. To what extremes are you most vulnerable? Do you tend to be more of a workaholic, or do you lean toward procrastination? Ask a friend to hold you accountable in whatever areas you know are likely to be a struggle for you in this season. 

    Apologize often and quickly.

    This environment is a new challenge for most of us, and we're all likely to make our share of mistakes. Miss an important email from a co-worker? Say you're sorry. Lose your temper with your spouse? Apologize. Lose your patience homeschooling one day? Ask your kids for forgiveness. Kids don't despise imperfect parents; they already know you're not perfect. Pride creates relational distance, and humility lends its way to intimacy. Bonus: your kids are much more likely to own their mistakes when you’ve modeled owning yours. 

    Pursue what this season makes possible.

    Pastor Bruce said it well in his sermon from this past Sunday: “Fear sees the obstacles, but faith sees the opportunities.” So what does this new season make possible for your family? Do you pray together in the morning, or do you rush out the door to go your separate ways? Are there any areas of your work where your younger kids could help? Would your older children be interested in learning more about what you do? Could canceled extracurricular activities mean more family dinners around the table?

    Yes, this season is sure to bring some challenges, but his blessings are there, too. Sometimes we just have to have the faith to look for them.