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Working from home with kids – Coping with the pressure

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As more of us turn to self-isolation, the burden of work and home schooling is becoming a scary reality. We explore some coping strategies to help home workers cope with what might be the most challenging period of life so far.

In Norway parents have been told to home school their kids for 2 months. They have a set workload to teach and submissions must be submitted each day at 2pm. It might not come to that, but how do you even begin to cope with work pressure and home-schooling deadlines like that?

“Our kids were off school yesterday both with dry coughs, therefore we are in self-isolation for the near future from today. The reality of home schooling whilst trying to keep on working is very daunting indeed”, explains Jonathan Ratcliffe of Offices.co.uk

Working from home is tough. Home schooling is very tough. So, if you must combine the two for a long period of time, how are you going to cope?

You are going to have to plan well, get organised and work to a strict timetable if you want to get everything done. Equally, you’ll need to have a proper split between work, school, fun and rest.

“The first thing you need to do is lower your expectations of what you are going to achieve, both with work and schooling. If you try to do too much the experience is going to be highly stressful”, Ratcliffe adds.

  • Lower your expectations of what you will achieve with work
  • Simplify your day into a set routine
  • Don’t try and achieve too much
  • Pause and try and appreciate moments with your kids

Here are 10 tips on how to survive:

START EARLY AT THE SAME TIME EACH DAY: Routine is important for good sleep and mental health, for both you and your kids. School starts at a set time, so make sure you are ready and stick to the timetable.

GET DRESSED PROPERLY LIKE TEACHER AND STUDENT: Getting showered and dressed is important to divide sleep and school.

CREATE SPACES FOR DIFFERENT ACTVITIES: You might set up a teaching room (kitchen), quiet room (spare bedroom) and a play area (living room)

STRUCTURE YOUR DAY LIKE A SCHOOL DAY: Teaching time, activity time, play time and lunch time – just like their normal school routine

MAKE A PLAN WITH YOUR KIDS: At the start of the day ask them what they want to do (within reason) so they feel involved

TURN OFF YOUR PHONE: How are your kids meant to feel involved if you are checking emails?

SET ASIDE BREAKS FOR TV, IPAD AND EXERCISE: Use these times to schedule work emails or calls

TAKE EXERCISE: Depending on where you live, if you have a garden or not – try and get some fresh air, this also allows you some headspace

FINISH AT A SET TIME, BEDTIME AT A SET TIME: By getting a routine drilled in early on, you can try and get the kids to sleep at a sensible time, thereby giving yourself some space to work if you need to

DON’T BE TEMPTED TO HIT THE WINE: If you can, evening time will be the only real time you can realistically work. If you drink your concentration will be poor, sleep poor and you’ll wake in a grumpy mood. Try and keep drinking to a minimum.

“We are heading into unchartered territory here and no one knows what life will look like at the end. It’s important to realise that time with your kids is a gift, don’t try and do too much – hopefully we can all stay relatively positive through this difficult time”, concludes Ratcliffe.

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Coronavirus: Crawley businesses urged to check type of loan before borrowing

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Small business owners have been urged to check the type of loan they are signing up to before borrowing against their personal assets, as many have unnecessarily secured personal assets to the future of their business.

Despite the government offering to guarantee interest-free and charge-free loans, which are to be offered by as many as 40 of Britain’s biggest lenders, some banks continue to offer business owners their standard, and more expensive commercial loans, which are secured against their personal property.

Although some banks have said they will stop demanding personal assets, such as property or savings as collateral, the question still remains whether those that have already signed up for this financial help will be able to uncouple their hard-earned assets.

Oliver King, an associate solicitor in corporate law at Langleys Solicitors, said:

“Businesses that quickly found themselves in trouble, due to the current economic situation, may have already taken out loans, and have been obliged to provide additional security and personal guarantees by lenders, which could come back to bite them at a later date.

“Following pressure from the Institute of Directors to stop this practice, we urge the banks that have taken personal guarantees to do the honourable thing and waive the guarantees, rather than punish already hard-pressed SMEs.

“This would need to be a voluntary act by the banks, and one that continues on the current wave of goodwill we have seen in recent weeks, to avoid punishing SMEs further down the line.

“It remains to be seen whether, as the Treasury has indicated they expect, all of the lenders on the scheme to drop the requirement or not.

“There have also been calls for a similar scheme to be opened up to smaller, challenger banks that specialise in lending to SMEs, making them agile enough to make swift decisions, something which is certainly required in the present climate. As well as separate calls to open up the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to all businesses with turnover of less than £45m, as opposed to just those businesses that cannot access other loans.”

“It is essential that any small business looking to benefit from the government’s support programme looks into the details of the loan scheme being offered by any lender, extremely carefully. If directors are in any doubt then they should take immediate legal advice on the implications of the terms being offered to them.

Greater adoption of video call facilities

“Further to this, we may see a development in the way high street banks deal with legal advice. Any individual providing security or a guarantee on behalf of a third party, must obtain independent legal advice on the form, content and effect before proceeding. This absolute requirement is almost never waived, and is done to ensure that the guarantor is under no undue influence or duress to provide the guarantee.

“Previously at high street lenders this has been obliged to be done via a face-to-face meeting. However, in recent years, challenger banks and forward-thinking lenders have permitted this advice to be provided via a video conference call, something which the larger, high street banks have not yet adopted. Although I expect high street banks to miraculously now realise that this can be carried out over the telephone or on a video call and update their practices.”

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