Working from home has been a huge adjustment for able businesses across the UK in the last two months. And yet, for many people, this is just one side of the coin; home schooling their children is the other side. Now that children have ‘returned to school’ after the Easter holidays, the struggle of juggling working from home and home schooling is again a reality for many employees and workers.
We spoke to Bharat Gorsia, Managing Director of Simultech IT, about his experiences of running a business with his wife Manju whilst home schooling his two young children 9 year old Khushal and 3 year old Kian.
“Running a business whilst ensuring Kian is kept busy and Khushal completes his home schooling has been challenging and fabulous at the same time. The most surprising and rewarding thing I have noticed is how much our whole household has embraced technology during this time. Thankfully Khushal’s school is using Microsoft Teams, OneNote and Outlook – all systems that we work with and promote at Simultech IT. Khushal has totally embraced Teams and in fact he is in the process of setting up a quiz for our family who are spread across the world, we will be hosting this on Saturday and can’t wait.”
Every parent will agree that combining the roles of a parent, teacher and employee all in one day, and doing those roles well, is very challenging. Here are our top tips for creating good balance and not losing your mind!
Schedule, schedule, schedule
“My wife and I have created a routine whereby Khushal has been getting on with his work online and we make sure that he’s keeping on track with his timetable, at the same time my wife Manju and I are running a business and having meetings in our home office acting as a “tag team” when one is in the office the other looks after the children” explains Bharat. It is important to schedule calls carefully around lessons, if you are indeed structuring the home schooling like a day at school. Book meetings during lesson breaks if possible so that you can keep track of where your children are at and provide help as required. Special circumstances also call for special measures; use your work calendar to record all home-schooling lessons and work meetings so that you have a single view of the day.
Collaboration isn’t just online meetings
Whilst school lessons are underway, keeping in touch and collaborating with colleagues is still very possible. Microsoft Teams enables you to continue communicating with colleagues, provide input and collaborate on projects. “Using the chat function or quick calling, I can be connected to colleagues in a second, making 1:1 meetings and collaborating on documents easy”, adds Bharat. Email is also a valuable tool and, since almost everyone is in front of the screen instead of on the road, emails are likely to be read and responded to much quicker.
The beauty of Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams is that a variety of different communication options are pulled together in to one integrated solution, which is easily accessed not only from your PC but from any mobile device, tablet or phone.
The right equipment
For the unavoidable times when a meeting has to coincide with home-schooling, having good quality equipment can make all the difference. Noise cancelling headphones mean that you can join a meeting without any unwanted background noise, and the kids can focus on learning without having to be a part of your meeting! Bharat admits that his set have saved a difficult situation on more than one occasion over the last 2 months: “I’ve got a great set by Sennheiser, which are Microsoft Teams certified and wireless, so I can move whenever I need to”.
Bharat contends that one of the most important strategies he has isn’t related to technology at all: “To make sure we don’t become “hangry” we make sure we have plenty of pizza bases and toppings with lots of cheese, we all love pizza and the children help us make them!”
Whilst having strategies like these can offer balance, sometimes the support of colleagues can make all the difference. “The most rewarding thing for me, as a Director of a tech company, is not only to see how happy we all are in our family routine and how well we have adapted to it but also to see my children embracing technology to communicate with their teachers, friends and family. Also, I have had a great team around me at work and we all support each other which reassures you that you aren’t alone”, explains Bharat. “We are all in the same boat and supporting each other and sharing tips on how to survive homeworking and home-schooling is the best way to get through this”.
If you need any help in supporting your employees create the best working from home and home-schooling environment, talk to us at Simultech IT today by calling 0203 918 5250 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can offer advice on solutions and equipment to make your day that bit easier!