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4 tips for staying connected, from migrants who live far from family

Keeping close relationships

Forced separation, while new to most, is a fact of life for the world’s migrants. Many continue close ties with relatives, despite years or decades of physical distance.

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4 tips for staying connected, from migrants who live far from family

4 tips for staying connected, from migrants who live far from family

http://theconversation.com/4-tips-for-staying-connected-during-coronavirus-from-migrants-who-live-far-from-family-134362

theconversation.com

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Key Ideas

Keeping close relationships

Forced separation, while new to most, is a fact of life for the world’s migrants. Many continue close ties with relatives, despite years or decades of physical distance.

Phone calls

Video communication can be too draining and may make feelings of separation more intense. Written communication can feel too impersonal and may not be accessible to people with visual impairments.

Migrant families rely on phone calls for almost all of their communication as calls are intimate and convey emotions without the constant visual reminders of separation.

Communicate to connect

Migrants greet something like this: "I send greetings to you to my grandchildren, to my daughter-in-law, and to all those who surround you."

Such elaborated greetings articulate family relationships that stretch across space. They continually create and re-create connections despite the distance.

Manage conflict carefully

Migrant families avoid explicit disagreement and signal concerns in subtle ways. 

For instance, if they lack money, they may relate a story of their father's visit to the doctor and include a quote from him lamenting that he cannot afford his new prescription.

Celebrate together

Migrant families often reminisce about times when they lived together, recalling humorous incidents or past mishaps that lead to shared laughter.

Sharing these memories not only reflects their past together but also encourages them to imagine what it might be like to live together again.

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Remote work and children

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Get Creative With Your Schedule

If you have another adult home with you, consider a split schedule: At the beginning of each day, decide who will be the 'on point' parent. That person will work at the dining room table, feed the kids and suggest activities, while the other parent works in a different room.

One parent can also work before the children are awake, then you can stagger work times during the day, and the other parent can work when the children are in bed.

Be Up Front With Your Boss

Before you make adjustments to your work schedule in order to watch your children, talk to your boss or HR.

Let them know that your transition to home also means being responsible for your children. Create a schedule that you can share with your boss and assure them of your commitment to maintaining the level of excellence they expect.

If you clearly communicate your needs, you will decrease the level of stress and also open the door for coworkers to follow suit.

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Clear communication

The key to working from home is clear communication with your boss. Your manager might not be used to managing people virtually or may not have a ready-to-go suite of tools for remote workers.

To prevent a breakdown in communication, you need to know exactly what's expected of you from day-to-day. Ask your boss for a 10-minute video call to start and end the day. Reach out to coworkers and managers regularly so that you won't get forgotten.

Treat it like a real job
  • Don't lounge around in your pajamas. Treat it like a real job.
  • Create a space exclusively for work that is removed from distractions, just like you would at your office desk.
  • Create boundaries within your home that your family members understand when you're 'at work.'
  • Bookend your day. If you can't enter and leave a physical office that creates more precise boundaries, use psychological transitions like a 20-minute coffee in the morning, then exercise right after work.

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