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Reduce Squabbles to Increase Productivity While Working from Home

Working remotely is the new normal for many employees. This change is requiring millions of workers to adapt. However, when family time increases, so can domestic stress. Add social isolation mandates, and you have a recipe for increased bickering and family squabbles.

Have you experienced this “quarantine quarreling”? Has it affected your work productivity?

We’re all familiar with bickering. It’s about the small stuff: “Whose turn is it to walk the dog?” and “How come no one put the wet laundry in the dryer?” Reducing bickering begins with understanding it is normal. Feeling less guilty about it can help you focus on intervention strategies.

The inevitable is fewer incidents of its occurrence, fewer interruptions of your job, and more instances of members of your family communicating healthily. Even children can learn conflict resolution skills, and all can build the resilience necessary to cope with twists and turns in how the world responds to the pandemic. To these ends:

  1. Have regular family meetings to discuss the need for a private, quiet workspace. Refresh and reinforce agreements about the rules to keep your remote workspace a productive one.

  2. Take planned breaks to attend to family needs, which don’t vanish while you are working. Even 30 minutes spent attending to chores will reduce frustrations or resentments attributed to your being “always unavailable.”

  3. Decide on definite work hours, if possible. Inertia often makes it easier to keep working after hours than to switch gears in favor of work-life balance.

  4. Plan events on a family calendar so that everyone can look forward to and anchor themselves on them. This increases resilience and the ability to be more patient in the present.

  5. Exercise with family members. The positive effects of exercising together are well documented in research. There is perhaps no more efficient way to accomplish three important goals at once—improving health, managing stress, and building bonds with those you love.


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