How to Work From Home With ChildrenReading Time: 4 minutes
Working remotely is hard as it is, but to work from home with children takes a special set of skills. Not many people possess these skills. Some work-from-home skills are innate while others are acquired. However, all of them require determination, rigour and an abundance of patience.
A growing number of parents choose a flexible, work-from-home career. Although this might sound comfortable and convenient, it’s more complicated than that. It is a huge challenge and not at all glamorous. When you work from home with children, it is rather difficult to achieve work-life balance.
According to a recent Gallup survey, nearly half of all US workers worked remotely at least some of the time in 2017.
What are some of the best practices for an individual to successfully work from home with children?
Establishing Ground Rules
To avoid blurring the line between being working parent and a stay-at-home parent, it’s important to establish some ground rules.
Inside of a company’s policy it can be stated that parents are allowed to work from home. Yet, that’s all the indication that is given. Nothing else is specified. The corporate employee manual gives a person permission to work from home, but provides no tools to do this well.
The first thing to do when you decide to work from home with children is to establish some ground rules. The next step is to communicate these rules to all stakeholders.
The ground rules should be built around your working hours. When you work from home with children, it’s easy to simply work 24/7. To avoid this, set your daily goals. Do you want to spend more time with your children? Do you want to be the one picking them up from school? Who will be in charge of breakfasts, lunches and dinner?
Once all of this is determined, set your working hours around your activities. This working time should be sacred. Children or other family members should not bother you during these times.
Communication is Key
So, who are these stakeholders that need to be kept in the loop? Of course, there is your family. But your managers and team members must also be aware of your work from home schedule.
Remote workers in general struggle with communicating to their colleagues about their working days or hours. They might be taking all of the mornings off to spend that time with family. Meanwhile, their team is struggling to get a hold of them. Sounds a familiar scenario in your organization?
To avoid these issues and any misunderstandings about work-from-home schedules, communication is key. There is an easy way to keep teams in the loop about working days or about team members taking special kinds of leave. It’s called Vacation Tracker.
Vacation Tracker doesn’t just track vacations. Up to 25 fully customizable Leave Types can be programmed on this easy-to-use Slack integration. Your organization can facilitate the lives of individuals who work from home with children by downloading the Vacation Tracker 14-day free trial today.
Work From Home Tips and Tricks
Once you’ve communicated your work-from-home plan to your partner, coworkers and to your children, it’s time to actually do the work.
Some tips and tricks to really get the work done is to ensure that boundaries are respected. Ideally, you would have a separate area to work from, that isn’t easily accessible to your children. It should be an area dedicated to your work, where you can get some peace and quiet.
Another suggestion is to set a timer while you work. Certain Slack integrations actually offer this feature, but you could easily do this on any smartphone as well. By setting a timer, you can take breaks and check in on your kids in between tasks. Short breaks are also great for productivity.
Moreover, as you work, avoid multitasking. Try instead to maximize your focus and productivity by dividing work into shorter tasks that you can get through quickly. This way, your breaks can be multiplied, but you will still be accomplishing a lot. A solution to keeping from being distracted by all of the tasks that working from home can offer, is to have a desktop computer. Contrary to a laptop, that you can take to bed with you, or sit with on the couch, the desktop is immobile. It stays in the office and helps to ensure greater focus. It’s good solution to avoid sitting or standing at your laptop all day long.
Remote Work Learning Curve
Almost a third of all workers work most of the time from home.
They all go through the same difficulties and challenges. Definitely, there is a remote work learning curve, especially when children are involved.
There is no shame in not getting it right, right away. It’s normal to get so overwhelmed that you need a vacation from your work-from-home lifestyle.
Overall, it will take time before you create the lifestyle you want, so it’s important to be patient. To combat the isolation, you can definitely find others like you, either in your own organization, or online. You may have already crossed path with another parent who works from home, decamping at your local Starbuck to get a break from their kids.
The Perks of Working From Home With Children
Yet, to work from home with children does have its perks. You have freedom and flexibility. So that you can always be there when your children need you. You get confidence from being able to create your own routine and through being disciplined.
To conclude, it would be nice for organizations to give parents more guidance as to making their work-from-home lives easier. Companies can also put the right systems or software in place to ensure that all of their remote workers still fully feel part of a team.
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