What to do when family become your ‘live-in colleagues’…

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Emma Jenkings of Mosaic Mediation.

My expertise revolves around relationships at work – colleagues, management and clients or suppliers. Yet now so many of us are faced with working around our loved ones – without much of an opportunity to get our own space. Now, the people we live with effectively become our ‘colleagues’!

So here are some tips on how to get on with your loved ones now they’re not allowed to leave you alone, and how to connect in a time of ‘self-isolation’:

  1. Notice changes
    If you pretend changes aren’t affecting you then you can’t put actions into place to manage potential negative feelings about the change. For example, noticing a frustration with the noise level is the catalyst for improving the situation -such as, negotiating with these new ‘colleagues’ about how and when the noise can be reduced. Or, finding moments of solitude if you need space. Or, reviewing how you communicate as a team, if feeling disconnected from them.
  1. Ask for help
    There is always some way that other people can assist, even if they can’t be in our physical space. Maybe that’s getting a grandparent to have a phone call with your children while you get some jobs done. Or, maybe it’s having really specific conversations with your other half or housemate about how to work and live around each other, in this ‘new normal’. Or booking in phone calls with friends, colleagues or clients to reduce potential loneliness.
  1. Find new ways to connect
    This is especially important if you live alone and spend a lot of time ‘lone working’. There has been an uptake recently in ‘online networking’ to keep business owners talking and building working relationships. There has also been an uptake in online coaching – so that people don’t feel alone in their business/strategy/relationship/household decision-making. I hear letter-writing may also be making a come-back!
  1. Find a ‘new’ thing to do
    Part of my previously ‘normal’ working hours were spent travelling to mediations or events. Now, during any gaps between clients – or while my children are doing home learning – I have lined up new projects to work on, such as creating an online course for clients and investing in a short course for me to study. If work is quieter right now, you could use the time to invest in yourself: write that book; pick up the dusty guitar again; bake or learn to cook from scratch; or, refresh your website.
  1. Learn about your ‘colleagues’
    Time together doesn’t have to be full of conflict and frustration. Right now you have ample opportunity to notice something new about them. Just as in conversations, arguments and general human interactions, if the focus is on ‘learning’ then it changes the dynamic of those interactions towards the positive. They may learn something new about you too!

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Socrates.

To find out more about mediation or training visit www.mosaicmediation.co.uk or email Emma at emma.jenkings@mosaicmediation.co.uk.

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