Whether employed by an employer or self-employed, it doesn’t get dreamier than being able to work from the comfort of your home. You get more time in your house, you cut out the commute, and you get to see much more of your family. However, working from home has its pitfalls too, and the foremost of which is that you may find it difficult to juggle between doing your work and taking care of your kids. Working from home can be overwhelming at times, with pressure mounting from both kids and the office. Success often requires a lot of compromise and patience on both parents. Many parents especially those who live in the cities do not have a lot of extra space to set up a home office, and if working parents do not have the space or resources to setup an adequate workplace, their productivity may undoubtedly suffer. Therefore, parents need to try to strike a balance between parenting and the office to keep both parties happy. Below are some ideas to do just that.
Before the pandemic year, working parents (especially mothers) sought flexible jobs which made it possible for them to easily juggle their personal and professional responsibilities. Though some of them just wanted to avoid the stress of getting to the office for their 9-5 and around 2020 these dreams seemed to come true as the global pandemic forced many employers to instruct their employees to work from home in order to curb curb the spread COVID. During this time the pandemic also forced many schools and daycare centers to close. Working parents found themselves trying to figure out how to work remotely while helping children with the abrupt shift to virtual learning.
How Can I Work From Home With Kids?
Spending more time at home with family is one of the upsides of working from home, but it comes with its own unique challenges too. It may be a little easier now with schools reopening, but when kids return from school they may not understand their parent needs to work the full day and just because they see their mom or dad home they can’t give their kids their undivided attention. It is important to establish a clear distinction between work and family life. Even a simple ‘quiet’ sign on the door or in the area the parent is working may help discourage your children from bumping into your Teams or Zoom meetings.
In our wold today modern technology has made remote work a more realistic opportunity and post pandemic more employers are willing to keep it up to lower cost and attract top talent. Before the Pandemic about 6% of the workforce working from home. During the Covid-19 pandemic that jumped to over 33%. As of 2022 16% of US companies are fully remote and 26% of the working population is working from their homes. Working from home is not going away, so many people need to learn to adapt to the new trend and adapt to new stress as parenting and working from home can take stress to new levels. Numerous studies have consistently shown that constant interruptions make it harder for working to find a workflow that works for them. As a result, parents tend to struggle with meeting deadlines and completing projects on time. To make remove work more productive and less frustrating here are some things that can be done.
Know When to Stop Working
Just like kids, adults thrive on routines and work much more productively when there is a work plan. Take it form a work at home parent. Having a work-from-home routines helps one stay focused and helps avoid battling constant interruptions or unnecessary multitasking. To add more predictability to your day, create a morning routine and be strict about it whenever possible. When it’s wake-up time, get up and prep for the day as you would before going to the office. Then head to your home office, whatever this looks like for you, and get into a ‘work’ state of mind. Optimize the rest of your day by adjusting your work schedule to allow for home life, whether this includes breaks to relax or time to catch up on chores and take over childcare. If you are involved in a lot of meetings like I am you can feel glued to your chair. Invest in a good wireless headset with decent range so that you can get up and talk at the same time. This will not only help your mental health but physical also.
Schedule Meetings Wisely
Almost every parent who works from home as a few unfortunate mishaps to share. It is a good practice to be proactive and plan for possible interruptions when scheduling meetings, which of course is not always possible if you have free-roaming toddlers, in which case it can be better to schedule calls during their normal sleep time or if you have old children, during their school hours. As a tip if you have kids around the home, always mute your calls unless you are talking, in which case a good noise cancelling headset can be of help too.
Optimize your Workspace for Focus
Although you don’t have to still this this all the time, it is also good practice to assign one are of the home to your dedicated workspace. This makes it easier to limit distractions and to focus on work without having your personal life seep in. Another thing to get get into a ‘work’ mindset. Start the day as if you would going to the office with coffee or tea in hand, dressed in daytime work clothes. This helps your mind separate work from home and gets you ready to focus. It is important to agree with everyone in your household on the rules for when and how they can get your attention. Parents can also get their kids to help out designing homemade office signs, witha great for “yes, you’re allowed in” or red for “don’t even think about it” lol. This way everyone will know when you care be disturbed.
Be Easy on Yourself and Ask for Help
As parents juggling working from home, school, childcare, etc we deserve a medal. However it can be overwhelming at time so don’t be afraid for asking for help, or just someone to talk to or lean on. This may mean getting support from family members, work team members, your boss, friends and others in your same situation.
Working from home can be a great opportunity to spend more time with your family. Don’t let work consume you and let it creep into your off work hours and family life. That is an easy and very easy slope to fall into since work and contacting teams members is just a computer away. Above all, don’t expect yourself to balance everything effortlessly and effectively all the time. There will be many ups and downs until you find your groove. Even then there will be unexpected challenges. Constantly look for opportunities to make your work life easier and when things become hard to manage take a time out and find time for yourself. It is important to remember to focus on self-care. If you are constantly stressed your are not doing any good to your family or employer. It took me a while but I finally found a balance that works, but it takes communication with your family, setting ground rules and keeping a ‘work’ routine.