With the COVID-19 global pandemic currently raging on, millions of employees across the globe have been forced to work from their homes – an arrangement that many foresee will continue until well into next year.
It can’t be denied that working from home has a few huge advantages; for one thing, the hours-long exhausting commute to and from the office is officially gone, which means more time for yourself and less money spent on gas.
To add to that, everyone can now customize their workspace to fit their taste, preferences, and according to what they find to be the most helpful for their productivity levels. Want your desk to be covered in leafy plants and tiny succulents? No one’s stopping you. Do you think you’d work better with a kneel chair rather than the usual office chair? Then, go right ahead!
Despite these incredible benefits, working from home still has several glaring disadvantages – especially for those with kids.
With that, here are three tips for working from home with kids.
Set a Routine
If left unchecked and unmonitored, there’s a huge chance that your kids will spend the entire day languishing on the couch, watching an endless stream of Minecraft videos. While this would definitely earn you some peace and quiet, it doesn’t really bode well for their learning and development, which is why a strict daily routine has to be set in place.
Now, this doesn’t mean that every hour of the day has to be accounted for. Rather, assign designated times for them to accomplish all the necessities – for instance, activities like meals, bedtime, showers, chores, and homework all have to be established and cast in stone.
Why it Helps: Creating a rigid schedule for the daily necessities saves you time and effort in running after your kids, trying to make sure that they’re clean, fed, and are finished with their school assignments.
Be Creative with the Schedule
Parents with young kids understandably find it challenging to accomplish all their responsibilities and deliverables within their regular working hours. Naturally, your children can’t be left to their own devices and have to be closely monitored – unless you want to come back to colored markers on the wall and orange juice stains on the carpet, that is!
For those who find themselves in the same scenario, creating a schedule is a must. Perhaps you and your partner can agree on staggered work times during the day, allowing one to accomplish everything they need to do while the other keeps a close eye on the kids. Or, maybe you can start on your deliverables before the kids are up, allowing you to work freely and undisturbed. Also, for single parents, creating a schedule that accommodates to both you and your kids needs would be extremely beneficial. For example, you can work more efficiently when your kids are eating or taking a break, or you can even decide to do most of your work before your kids start their online classes to help you take the load off so you’d have less to worry about.
Why it Helps: Parents with very young children may find working from home twice as challenging, which is why splitting their schedule with another adult in the house would be their best bet. Doing so would give them the opportunity to accomplish their work tasks while ensuring that their kids are taken care of. Single parents doing work while their kids are busy with things unrelated to their schoolwork or even while they are still asleep or before they start their classes would also have the same benefits if done right.
Make Use of Visual Cues
The majority of kids are unable to understand the importance of a workday, which is why they won’t hesitate to interrupt you while you’re in the middle of a Zoom meeting or while you’re furiously typing a report to meet an upcoming deadline. There may be times when the interruption consists of an emergency or is otherwise justified; however, there will also be times when the interruption is due to a drawing that they want to show you or a fun fact about the solar system that they just learned.
To minimize unnecessary disturbance, create visual cues to remind your children that mom or dad is working and shouldn’t be interrupted unless absolutely needed. For instance, you can mark your workspace with masking tape and create a rule that kids aren’t allowed to go beyond those lines or you can hang a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on your door whenever you’re in the midst of something particularly important. On the other hand, you can open your office door or remove your headphones to signal that you’re finally free to accommodate their needs.
Why it Helps: Making use of visual cues to indicate whether or not you’re free helps your kids learn the importance of your work responsibilities. Rather than interrupt you whenever they fancy and for whatever reason, they instead only come to you if it’s truly necessary or when you aren’t particularly busy.
Working from home is challenging enough as it is but add kids into the mix and it oftentimes becomes a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. However, these are three effective strategies that you can implement, allowing you to work in peace without compromising the safety and well-being of your children.