Have you recently found yourself working from home whilst having (small) children around, constantly wanting your attention?
Use our top initiatives to help manage working from home with kids, as best as you can.
Just like in the office, it is important to have your own spot where you can work at ease. If you live in a spacious house, turn one of the rooms into a temporary office. If you don't have this option, you can create your own spot in the living or dining room, or even in a bedroom, as a temporary workplace where you can work without being disturbed all the time.
The big advantage of working from home is that you don’t waste time commuting. Let children sleep in. This will allow you to benefit from some extra quiet time in the morning: no traffic jams, no hectic moments trying to get the children ready and then having drive to work. Use this time to make a quick start. It will enable you to finish a little earlier in the evening, leaving more time for some fun with the kids.
In order to be able to work without being constantly interrupted, you can plan some playful, quieter activities for smaller children. There are plenty of things they can do with little support from parents, such as painting, colouring, drawing. You can also divide your living room into different play corners for little ones: a DIY corner, a reading area, a corner to play with dolls…
Need to do a conference call? Keep your children quiet in the meantime by allowing them some TV or Netflix time or by letting them listen to a kids podcast. It is important not to offer everything at the same time or on the same day, but to offer some variety so they don’t get bored. Alternatively, if you have a good relationship with the other people on the conference call, you could even introduce your children to say hello.
It's very important for you to build some structure into your own working day. Arrange your tasks in order of importance and make sure you can carry out the most difficult tasks at times when it is calm for you, like early in the morning. By maintaining some form of structure within the family every day, children will adapt more quickly to this new situation and your work pace.
Keeping children occupied while focusing on work is not easy, especially if you need to do it on a daily basis during a longer period. Creating some form of routine might help. If the weather is nice, let them play outside or give them some free time to do whatever they feel like.
Save yourself a lot of time by, for example, doing your shopping once or twice a week and preparing a number of meals in advance during the weekend. This will free up some time during the evenings to spend with the kids.
Do your children still take a nap in the afternoon? Turn this time into your advantage by focusing on those tasks that require the most concentration. By doing so, you don't have to feel guilty when you are less concentrated during the play moments and you will feel less stressed.
If you are in virtual contact with colleagues or external partners on a daily basis, make sure to schedule those meetings at a quiet time during the day, in order not to be interrupted too much. This can be in the early morning when your children are still asleep for example, or at a time when they can watch TV or play on the tablet.
When both you and your partner work from home, it can be useful to alternate time spent with your children. Whilst one parent focuses on work, the other parent spends time doing activities with the kids. By doing this, both parents can continue to work at alternating moments.
Finally, it is important to ensure your work-life balance is maintained. Once your work day is done, shut down your PC and enjoy the evening. Plan something fun, like a family game night for example.
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