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  • Lynette Van Steinburg

Survival Tactics: This is not normal virtual work.

Not long ago if someone had called into a meeting and said "I've got my 11-month-old on my lap, I hope that’s okay?" the majority of the time the answer would have been "No." But, today that answer is, and should be, "Sure, do whatever you have to do," because this is not normal virtual work.

Here are some tips to help you survive these first few weeks of self-distancing whether you’re new to virtual work or new to having other people in your space while you’re trying to work.

People in your space

  • Be realistic, you can't ignore your children while working when you’re home parenting 24x7.

  • Sit down with your family/house mates each night and brainstorm what you’re each going to do tomorrow. Include fun things and chores and be sure to include a list of non-internet fun things to do while virtual meetings are happening so you have enough bandwidth to use your webcam. If your childhood didn’t include the internet then you’re probably going to be better at brainstorming these ideas than your kids are. Pinterest has ideas if you don't!

  • Before you go into a meeting with a baby or toddler in the room collect together whatever you might need to keep them settled.

  • Create some boundaries and set expectations. If you're working, when is it okay to be interrupted? When will you take a break? When will you be finished for the day? Consider making a sign for your desk or door to indicate when you'd prefer not to be disturbed - emergencies only, please!

  • Schedule some group fun time so your kids/partner/roommate know you want to spend time with them when you aren't working (even when you're all sharing the same space 24x7). Time to bring back family game night!

You - okay, you've got the kids busy, you're in your workspace, now how do you get to work, stay focused and be healthy?

  • Create a task list to keep your momentum going through the distractions

  • Create some boundaries for yourself. It can be hard to get started, but it can be even harder to stop

  • Consider doing a 5 minute guided mediation (e.g. Simple Habit, Asana Rebel, LumosityMind)

  • Music and apps can help you focus (e.g. Binaural Beats, Noisli, Brain Wave - Sharp Mind)

  • Consider joining an online gym (,,

  • Try to eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch the snacks!

Note: you can do nearly everything online these days - when appropriate I've given you 3 examples to check out, but there's typically a dozen of everything to try if you don't like my suggestions. Get googling!

Tomorrow - Survival Tactics 2: Your Team and Your Technology

I help people be better at their virtual work. Tell me what I can do for you.

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