The past few weeks have been challenging working from home with my new co-workers (age: 8 and 8). They are noisy, demanding, and at times, completely irrational! If you are self-quarantined with your kids like our family, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
I work out of Vancouver, Canada. Like many of you living outside of region, the concept of social-distancing and self-quarantining started for us only few weeks ago. But for the majority of my colleagues working in Asia, practicing social-distancing and administering e-schooling have been the norm since January of this year.
The .Asia HQ is located in Hong Kong, so working remotely has been the norm for me. One of the benefits of having an international team is that we can service .Asia partners and customers from all time zones. These days, in addition to business discussions our team conversations often lead to the struggles of working remotely and homeschooling while managing life’s many other demands.
Like you, we’ve had to make drastic changes not only to our schedules, our home space but also mental shifts to adjust to the new normal.
In these stressful times, myself and other parents in the .Asia team have found the following tips and tricks helpful in our roles as the designated adults of the household. We hope you’ll find our musing entertaining, if not helpful.
Seize the Morning
It always baffles me why kids always wake up so early when there is no school! The past few weeks were no different. They have been my 7am alarm with no snooze button. If I’m being completely honest, this really has been a blessing in disguise, and allowed me time to squeeze in a quick workout 3 – 4 times a week. The trick, I find, is to go straight from your pajamas to workout clothing.
Pavan Budhrani, our Director of Biz Dev, has a toddler at home and finds his full stride even earlier in the morning. He schedules around 2 hours to work on his most pressing tasks before the rest of his family wakes up.
Grocery shopping… talk about things we never knew we took for granted! Are you wearing gloves to shop? Face masks? What’s the protocol here? As a family, we try to plan our meals ahead and batch cook for the week. Our kids have been fantastic little sous-chefs! I try to limit my kitchen access to three times a day, this prevents me from constantly cleaning up, or worse, waltzing in for another snack.
Restaurant businesses around the world have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis. We try to order take out / delivery from our favorite local joints once a week to support the local restaurants in our community, all the while making our lives easier.
Working from Home with Kids
Kelvin Truong, our Web Technologist, recommends workplace splitting for increased productivity. He believes having a dedicated workspace sets a consistent mental tone and helps you get into a better working mode. Kelvin wears noises cancelling headphones while working out of the dining room while his wife works from the computer desk, and his preteen daughter e-schools in her own room.
I try to set 3 main goals for each workday the night before, so I can ‘hit the ground running’ the next day, so to speak. We do the same for our kids, for example, one of their daily goals this week has been ‘jump rope 300 times’!
Time blocking, carving out uninterrupted 1-hour blocks of time throughout the day for creative work such as writing or strategizing has been very helpful. I match my time block schedule with the kids’ and do the same for them. For example, I will block 1-hour for work and schedule the same window for my children to read for an hour, or have individual quiet time (so that there is no fighting), or TV time. Pavan does something similar by planning his deep work when his daughter is napping or feeding.
Is it still necessary to schedule family time with the kids now that they are with us all day, everyday? “Yes!” says Edmon Chung, our CEO, his kids are genuinely perplexed by why he is in yet another meeting, and then another one… Edmon recommends reserving family time on your calendar whether it’s drawing or simply watching a TV show together. June Lau, our Community Relations & Project Manager, has recently taught her daughter the Chinese card game – Big Two (鋤大D) which has kept them talking and laughing throughout the Covid-19 school closure.
And perhaps, at the end of the day, remembering to laugh and doing our part to keep healthy for our community are the most important things we need to be doing right now. Here at .Asia we are thinking of our friends who have been adversely affected by the Corona Virus. We are thankful that our partners and work colleagues are staying healthy and safe. Even more, we are grateful for the opportunity to continue to work and serve our communities online from our homes.
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