Now that the majority of us are working from home and our children are more than likely going to be at home with us, questions are beginning to arise. The thought of how we are going to be able to juggle it all can feel pretty daunting, which is the last thing we need with everything that is going on in the world.
The media is inundating us with information about how to look after our physical health (which is obviously very important), but our mental health is just as important. As a person who runs a business from home the majority of the time, with 2 small children vying for my attention, I understand this all too well. I know that it can sometimes feel like there is just too much to juggle, it can feel isolating and a little lonely, especially if you are used to working in a busy environment with other adults.
With that in mind, I’ve compiled my top tips on all things “working from home with children” and how to set up, yes you guessed it, a good routine!
Top Tips For Working From Home With Kids Around:
Set up a morning routine. Shower, put real clothes on (not PJs) and take this opportunity to have breakfast etc. Start the day as if you would when you were going into the office, just with a little more time and a little less stress.
If your partner is also working from home, sit down and discuss what your days are going to look like together – what time you have conference calls and need to be uninterrupted, if you have a deadline that you are working towards etc. From there, you can create a rough plan of who is going to look after the kids and when. Divide and conquer, it is not one parents responsibility to look after the kids when you both have jobs to do. Communication is going to be key .
Manage expectations. The majority of your colleagues are going to be in the same situation and will hopefully sympathise with how much you are juggling. So, don’t over promise and under deliver. If your partner is going to be on a call all morning and as a result you are looking after your little ones, set expectations with colleagues and let them know that you will be available once that call is done.
If you have a slightly older child, set up something that will keep them preoccupied for a little while. Research shows that if you play with your child uninterruptedly for 15 mins then they should feel happy to continue playing on their own for a while.
If space allows, set up a work area and use that as your desk and workspace. This will ensure the rest of your house feels like home and as a result, you should be able to switch off once the working day is done. Also, explain to your child that this is a working area. If they want to sit with you, set them up a little work station where they can draw, do puzzles, play with playdoh etc.
Make sure you take at least a 30-minute lunch break at around the same time each day. If it is safe for you to do so, get some fresh air.
Try and speak to people throughout the day that aren’t your partner and child, either on the phone or via video call. Working from home can often feel isolating and it is so important for us to keep that social contact in one form or another.
Have a cut-off time. When you are working from home, it is really easy to keep doing bits in the evening. Set a time that you close the laptop and step away from the “office”.
These tips are what have worked for me. I’d love to hear any other tips that you’ve found help you manage the juggle of working from home with children.