We've previously shared a few tips to help you succeed in working from home. However, with schools, kindergartens and daycare centers now closed, for those with children, working from home means working and taking care of the kids at the same time. As many of you realise, this is not an easy task at all. Doing both roles perfectly is nearly impossible and it can be exhausting trying to do so, but below are a few tips to help you juggle as much as possible.
Ensure your workplace is suitable and identify clear boundaries
Best practice when working from home, with or without children, is to set up a dedicated space to do your work - it's where you'll spend most of the day, so make sure it's as comfortable and motivating as possible. Also, tell your children that the place is for work and not to be disturbed while they are there. If your children have difficulty understanding, you may want to set up a small workspace for them with coloring books, games, and toys. By giving them a dedicated space as well, it may be easier to get your children to understand the concept of a workspace by making a "no interruptions within working space" rule.
Schedule your day
Again, when working from home, having a schedule is of utmost importance. Make a realistic plan at the beginning of the day so that you can take a break if needed. You may also want to make a day-plan for your children that helps create their daily routine. For example, you could take a walk with your kids in the morning using the time that you used to spend on your commute. Alternatively, you could cook with the children or join an online workout together. Try to finish your work by the end of the usual office hour to set aside time to spend with your family.
Keep them preoccupied and entertained
Families may begin to run out of ideas to keep children entertained while sheltering in place or quarantining themselves at home. Although it may be tempting to rely on additional screen time to fill the gap, you can find various offline activities that can stimulate creativity and encourage physical activity. For example, creating treasure hunts, board game sessions, picking fruit by hanging it on a clothesline, setting up a small tent in the house or on the balcony for a camping experience, or creating a secret base by simply dividing the room with a cloth. You don’t have to come up with all these creative ideas - if you search online, there are millions of brilliant ideas you can try today.
Stay in touch and keep informed
There may be some parents who you only ever see doing the school events, but this keeps you closely connected nonetheless. Now that you’re indoors, take that relationship online by reaching out on social media or if you have their mobile number. You can share tips and also your children could participate in a Skype or Zoom call to keep in contact as well. It may be an idea to set up a group discussion to the children, held by the parents, over such a call to keep them informed on what’s going on and allow them to ask questions.
It can be challenging to remain positive in such uncertain times. However, if you are a parent working from home and also minding your child, then there are certain aspects of that which you should be grateful for. Erin Spoonster, Senior Consultant at Computer Futures says, "We are all facing tough times, the best thing to do is stay positive. I get to spend more time with my family, and while it has its challenges, it also has plenty of rewards".
Not only are you saving time during your day by not commuting, but you are also saving money by cooking fresh meals and eating in your home. You are getting to spend extra precious time with your loved ones, and engage with your children in a way you may never have been able to before. It can be stressful not being able to go out, but keep in mind that by staying home, you are playing an important role in keeping your family and yourself safe, as well as contributing to the society.
All these tips aside, working at home with kids isn’t an easy job, especially if you have small children. It often doesn't work out the way you think it should when you're dealing with them. If you find it difficult to juggle taking care of your children and doing the same amount of work as you normally do, you may want to talk to your manager about the situation. Your manager might realise how hard it can be by watching the kids barging into a video call with them. Also, don’t forget to take time off from all your duties once in a while and take care of yourself.
Working from home and struggling to balance work with childcare? We can offer you more advice and tips on this, plus anything else employment-related in the current climate. Please feel free to reach out from the form below. You can see the latest jobs on our job search page. If you can't find what you're looking for, please register your CV and our consultant will get in touch with you once we find the right opportunity for you.