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We all know that remote work is a tale of two sides. The first is that you get such flexibility. You can work around your family with flexible hours, you can decide on the times of day that you are more productive, and it can help with mental health and even costs on your commute. It can certainly give you a better work-life balance. But the other side is one that people don’t tend to highlight a lot, and that is the difficulty many of us can face when working from home around the kids.
You may be wondering how can you say it is difficult when there are so many benefits, but there are times of the day, and of the year in fact, when you, if you have a family, will have your children at home. The juggle is real for work-from-home parents. Kids have much more time off throughout the year than many of us are allowed with annual leave when employed. Work doesn’t stop, but the kids need to be looked after. So what do you do? I wanted to share with you some of the tips for working from home around the kids.
How to manage working from home around the kids
Work out the times of the day you can work when kids are at home
Working from home with children is no easy thing to do, but the beauty of the school holidays is that there is no morning or afternoon rush to do the school run. So take advantage of the slower starts and lazy afternoons. The children will likely relax a little more in the mornings or perhaps want to enjoy some chill-out time in the afternoons.
Work out the more productive times of the day you can work and create a work schedule. Take advantage of those slower starts and afternoons and quiet time. It can help you all to be happy and productive during the day.
Plan your week ahead
Planning is key when you work from home and the kids are off school. But it isn’t just about planning your work with a daily schedule, you also need to plan ahead for keeping the kids occupied and happy, enjoy family time, and everything in between. Here are a few things that you can plan ahead to make your working week with kids running smoothly.
Plan time out of the house
Working from home around the kids can be relentless, especially if you are used to a pocket of time during school hours where you would be working. So what can you do? The best advice is to plan ahead some time outside of the house. Look at local events, think about places you can go, and meet up with friends. You don’t need to be out all day, but a couple of hours of fresh air will make such a difference. To you and to them.
Be open to changing work timings
If possible, look at your week ahead and be open to changing things. Zoom meetings or a conference call that could happen early in the morning, or deadlines that could be met at different times. It might not be possible for everything, but you can do your best to make work fit in for you so you can give everything 100%. Speak with family members and see if they can help out when you need uninterrupted work time.
Plan your meals and make use of kitchen appliances
It might sound like a small thing, but planning your meals can massively help take the pressure off when your kids are at home. Even if that is just chicken nuggets. Use appliances like the slow cooker so that you can prepare ahead of time and then forget all about it. It can take a few minutes in the morning, but make a big difference.
Allocate time each day for your home
Lastly, the one thing that can be pushed to the bottom of the list is the housework, and it can add pressure to your day that isn’t needed. So just allocate a small amount of time each day to keep on top of things. Twenty minutes a day in the evening or at a point where you have the time can help you to stay on top of things. Put washing in the machine and schedule it for the following day, put laundry away, and run the vacuum around the house. Once the time is up, that’s it. Don’t add too much pressure to your life during the school holidays.
Talk to your kids
If you have older children, then why not talk to them about your responsibilities? Explaining that you have to work and there are times of the day that you need their help such as being quiet or understanding. Planning your week means that you will have time to spend with them, but at the same time, they can help you at home by occupying themselves at certain times of the day when you need to concentrate. Talking to older kids can help them to better understand what is needed.
Get a designated area to work
If you don’t already have a home office to work create one when the kids are at home. This will help you to segregate working from home life and will give you an opportunity to walk away from work when you are finished. It can be hard to have an office space in your home, so even a corner with a desk, or a section of a dining or kitchen table can really help you to keep work in one area of your home, and it won’t impact home life or time with your children.
Rid yourself of guilt
We can all feel guilty when working from home around the kids. We can often feel torn between finishing off work or meeting a deadline and spending time with the family. It is completely normal to feel guilt surrounding that, but it does make things worse. Rid yourself of the guilt.
Planning can help you to manage your time more effectively so that you can be present with your family and in your working life. If your kids spend time on their tablets or watching TV then that is totally fine. Screens and video games can really help at times when you need to concentrate on other things. You can only do what you can each day. The most important thing is to be kind to yourself as it isn’t an easy juggle.
I hope these tips for working from home around the kids will help you in the future.