Working remotely from home with kids is not the same as working at the office. It's overwhelming for a working parent to balance their responsibilities. Being a parent doesn't mean you have to give up your job.
There are many ways to organize time around each other's schedules. It is a challenge but a rewarding one. Working from home during these difficult times is frustrating, but it's also an opportunity to grow closer as a family. Maintaining a healthy balance between work and kids is what we aim for; let's see how we can do that.
Create A Healthy Home Routine:
When working remotely, there is no boss to watch over, wasting time becomes easy. Especially when there are many competing demands for your time, with kids at home. To top that, temptations such as working in pajamas all day in bed, no shower, and snacking poorly, are prevalent in remote workers.
Setting a specific schedule and adhering to it will help you minimize the wastage of time and work late when working from home. Start and end work at fixed hours, wear what makes you feel confident, take planned breaks, and set clear boundaries between work and family time.
Create a schedule (including when your spouse is taking care of kids if you’re trading off) and pin it to the refrigerator so kids can refer to it throughout the day. Keep in mind things like when the kids wake up, what classes they take, their lunchtime, and your most productive hours.
Your schedule should also include uninterrupted work time, family meal breaks, supervised study time for your kids, and quality time with the whole family to track your daily tasks.
Setup a Dedicated Home Office:
Dedicate a home office when telecommuting, rather than leisurely working on the couch or bed. Transitioning your brain into work mode by always using the same place fro place. This way, your kids will also respect your workspace if it is not in a common area, such as at a kitchen table or bed.
We recommend taking your meetings in a closed-off space to preserve video call integrity (as adorable as when your toddler comes in between, but avoid that during important calls). This will reduce stress and help avoid distractions, including your kids.
Apart from a laptop, invest in a standing desk, a laptop stand, a good pair of noise-canceling headphones to create your workspace. Take inspiration from maintained from one of our interviews in How I Work Remotely series for workspace. Remote working tools essential for remote teams such as Zoom, Slack, etc. help remove the distance barrier between team members.
Set Clear Communication Expectations:
On top of communicating with your colleagues, it is also crucial to set boundaries with your kids when working remotely. Juggling childcare and remote work sometimes will make you unresponsive or unavailable. Define expectations clearly and fairly.
The key is here to communicate with your kids as well as your remote team. Update your work schedule, provide heads up to your team, indicating an added responsibility of kids to your day. Be open and proactive. Over-communicating will do you no harm; instead, it will demonstrate trust and help your team make adjustments accordingly.
Communicating clearly with the team will not only make your own life less stressful but also help you balance work and family life. Keep the team in the loop, and informed about your scenario, avoiding any misunderstanding and frustration caused by interruptions.
This change of scenario has anyway forced us to be more flexible. Sometimes, no matter how good your schedule is, there will be arguments, tears, and tantrums from your kids. Be forgiving about life situations and learn to deal with them.
Just like parents have to reset their expectations, companies need to, too. Work flexible office hours and let your team know that your commitment and work ethic is unwavering. If your company expects you to be online for eight hours straight, or available immediately via text or Slack message, that’s not realistic.
If you have an easy-going kid, you’re lucky, but things can get complicated many times. One second is enough to let all hell break loose. Some days will be great; some totally be messed up. Give yourselves a break, be patient, and forgiving. Flexibility is key to success in working in a crisis.
Maintain work-life balance:
Handling both work and childcare is a challenging but survivable task. Naturally, with kids at home, you would have to monitor their activities and yet mitigate distractions.
When both you and your spouse are working from home, alternate shifts to focus on both work and kids, don't let this take a toll on your patience and energy levels. Don't be afraid to look for resources or ask for help.
Maintaining a work-life balance is not rocket science. Acknowledge that if you try to focus 100% on both simultaneously, you'll burn out. Don't overwork yourself; add appropriate slots for breaks and nap times. Avoid sitting for long periods, take walks, play with your kids, and have peaceful family time.
Working remotely can be a great chance to spend time with your children and strengthen family bonds. Working at home, you can maximize your productivity and professionalism with a little bit of proper planning, preparation, and patience.
Turn this necessity into an opportunity and apply these tips to streamline your work and maintain healthy relationships with your kids. The most significant advantage is that you get to spend more time with your kids, and watch them grow up.