What to do when your family become your co-workers during the lockdown
Guest blog by Freddie De Luca at Concord Conflict Solutions
During this lockdown many businesses are having to operate from home. Whilst this brings some benefits, such as avoiding the rush hour commute, it also brings challenges. One such challenge is how to manage when your family have become your “co-workers”. You are sharing rooms, wifi and soundscape with them and this can be very tricky. Having some effective skills to help you reduce clashes can save you a lot of stress.
- Recognise: it’s helpful to recognise that most people approach their work colleagues in a different manner to their loved ones. Your family may not appreciate your “work manager” voice. Equally, sharing your “home soundscape” with your work colleagues may not enhance your career. “Clash points” will arise but they can be solved.
- Identify: the next step is to identify the specific “clash points”. Is it mid-morning when teenage family surface with music? Does your boss always call just when your young children are getting tired? Or perhaps the wifi struggles to meet demand in the early evenings. Work out who you are clashing with and what type of challenge it is (sound, wifi, childcare, etc)
- Think ahead: When there is a problem it is always better to have a conversation than to bottle things up. The key thing is how you approach that conversation – this will dictate whether it is constructive or ineffective. Consider these things when arranging to speak with your “clash partners”:
- your aims: what is the key thing you’d like to change
- what the other person might have to say
- the right place and timefor the conversation
- how you (and they) might react
- Request: ask for a conversation at a time when you are both fresh, calm and with minimal audience or distractions – as far as possible. Listen to the other person and encourage them to listen equally to you. Calmly ask for the change you need (explaining why you need it can help) and try to accommodate any request that the other person has too. Focus on what can work for the future, not what hasn’t worked in the past.
- Summarise: Be sure everyone is clear what has been agreed. Write it down and stick it on the fridge if you feel it would help, remembering to avoid ‘work manager’ mode! Perhaps agree to review how things are working after a suitable period. It is important for all involved to acknowledge that this situation is unprecedented and challenging for everyone so an “us” approach, rather than “you vs them”, will get the best results for you at work and at home.
- Next steps: If conflict at home or work (actual or virtual) is adding to your daily stress we can help you achieve the change you need, without escalating tensions. Our expert, affordable services vary from 1:1 support to help you identify solo strategies for addressing issues, through to mediations that bring together two or more people to resolve even the most entrenched or heated difficulties.
Find out more at concordconflictsolutions.com
About the author
Freddie De Luca has developed her expertise in mediation following decades as a solicitor. After seeing the broad range of solutions offered by mediation she trained in Melbourne before returning to the UK to practice exclusively in resolving conflict via mediation.