It is undoubtedly a strange time right now for both employers and employees, as we try to find a way to continue to work remotely - especially with the added complications of workspaces, distractions and families that being at home brings. Working at home with children around is not something we would necessarily choose to keep us at our most efficient, however, there are a few things we can do to make our lives a little easier.
Your challenges will be different, dependent on how old your child/children are, but we’ve created a list of our top 5 tips, to help things run as smoothly as possible whilst you’re sharing your work space with your children:
1. CREATE A SCHEDULE
This can help if your children need to get some school work done, but also so they know when you aren’t available and when you can come together as a family. If you have a partner also working at home, it helps to set out who is ‘on duty’ at different points of the day, or when each of you might need help covering important calls. Attention spans will vary depending on the age of the child, but around 30 mins per activity is a good place to start.
2. SEPARATE YOURSELVES
This can be hard, depending on how much space you have in your home, and how many children you have. However, if you can separate the areas in which you work, this can help eliminate distractions on both sides. It is very easy to stop and ask Mum a question if she’s right next to you!
3. SET EXPECTATIONS
It’s a good idea to chat with your boss to discuss how you want to work during this period. You need to accomplish your work tasks, but you’re still going to have parenting duties to do. Maybe you’d rather work longer, but take a 2 hour break in the middle of the day, or maybe you want to start much earlier in the morning and finish earlier. Decide what might work for your family, then discuss this with your boss so you’re both on the same page, you’ll most likely find they are understanding, but communication is key.
4. UTILISE AVAILABLE TOOLS
Try to use some of the many free resources companies and celebrities are releasing for parents. Maybe set-up some activities for periods when you really need to focus on work. These don’t just have to be online websites or videos, these could be crafts, worksheets or sport challenges. Or maybe it could be an hour of video babysitting with the grandparents!
5. GO EASY ON YOURSELF
This was always going to be a really challenging time and having a family around can add an extra layer of complexity, but you’re not alone. We all have to do what we can to get by, and if that means slightly more screen time than normal, a messier house and less schooling than you thought you’d manage, then that’s okay. Try to take regular breaks and some relaxation time for yourself, even if it has to wait until the kids are in bed. Having chat groups or calls with other parents is a good way to share advice and keep you sane!
This blog was previously published on the UK Aquent site.