If your office has sent you to work from home during the pandemic, or you’re working for yourself turning a hobby into a business, learning to work effectively from home can be a real learning curve. This can be even more of a challenge for parents. Even if your child’s school has reopened, there will be times when you have to work with them at the house, such as when school is out at the end of term.
Here’s how you can work from home, as a parent.
There is no one system that will work perfectly for all families, and there will be times when it’s hard. Experiment with a few different ways to see what works for you. Even when you do find a solution, remember that it won’t be perfect all the time, and some days will need a different approach.
Find a Quiet Corner
If you’re new to working from home, you might not have an office space ready to go yet. If you can, find a quiet place where you can work. If possible, you want to be behind a door that you can close (as long as there is someone else in the house with the children). Noise-canceling headphones can help too. Talk to your children and explain that when you’re at your desk, you’re at work, and if possible, they should try not to disturb you.
Find things to keep your children busy during your work hours as much as you can. If they’re home for the school holidays, perhaps you could treat them to some new toys, books, or games that will be new and exciting enough to hold their attention. Give them their own work, by downloading teaching resources like these writing projects for kids in 3rd grade. If you’re really struggling, there’s no shame in recruiting the television as a babysitter.
It will be challenging, no matter how organized you are. You will be interrupted, so it’s important to schedule your work to be the most effective. Prioritize the things that are the most important. To make the most of your time, make a list of the key tasks that you need to achieve each day, so you can focus on those.
If have a partner who is also working from home, work as a team to alternate who is wrangling the kids and who is working. If you’re on your own with the kids, see who you can recruit to help you. Could one of your parents or another friend or relative babysit for a few hours, so you can knock out your most important work or attend virtual meetings undisturbed?
Get Me Time
Juggling work and parenting is hard work, and working from home can make it hard to separate your work and home life. Avoid getting burnt out by trying to give yourself at least occasional me-time. Take a break for a quiet few minutes and a cup of coffee, at least.