5 work from home tips for parents
Work from home!
We all want it, mostly. We cannot all get it. And when we do get it, it’s not always what we think it will be. With some effort, WFH can be a joy!
Full disclosure: This is for parents of young children who work from home and have very little space of their own.
Ok, with two kids aged 3 & 5, this is how I make WFH work from a 2-room apartment.
Setting: My ‘home office’ setting is located in my kids’ sleeping room. We don’t have any other space. Here’s what I have in my office — A medium-sized wooden table, a comfortable office chair (treat yourself), a dell monitor (a must), a PC, and a mouse.
Another disclosure: My older kid attends daycare full day (3 times a week) and half-day (2 days a week). I am also not the primary carer in my home.
Here are 5 ways I make WFH work with two kids
- Work with your kids’ routine
On days when my older kid comes back early, I schedule my more important work for when he’s not around (obviously). I always start early, take a break when the younger one naps (she only falls asleep on my arms), and try to leave early. Again, obvious.
2. Plan meetings, and get comfortable with kids occasionally interrupting you
I don’t do impromptu meetings. And when I do, I make it short. If I have an important call, I inform my wife early and ask for her help with the kids during that period. It works well most times.
When kids do interrupt, introduce them, ask for a 30-second break, and try to get them out of the room. Trying to shush or wish them away never works. Everyone loses in this scenario. What I do is acknowledge their presence, let whomever I’m meeting with know my kids are in the room, and politely try to get them out.
3. Mute as appropriately possible, use appropriate video backgrounds, or stay off-camera where possible
All of this should go without saying by now. Mute when you’re not speaking, this can sometimes help accommodate the kids without interrupting your work.
4. Set boundaries
Set boundaries with kids and other family members, your boss, co-workers, and everyone else. Your kids need to know when your workday ends. So, if someone comes to you 5 minutes before you were supposed to leave, it can wait till tomorrow.
5. Give yourself a break
Working from home has its perks and challenges. For me, the perks outweigh the challenges. If done right, most of these challenges can become perks too. Cut yourself some slack when everything doesn’t work out as planned.
Make the best of the time you save working from home. If you currently work from home as I do, you save at least 2 hours of commute every day.
What do you do with that time? Hopefully not work. If work, make sure you’re getting paid for it.
Do not use that two hours to work. Spend it on yourself, with your kids, read, take long walks, showers, anything that rocks your boat. It will make going to work easier every day.
Do you work from home with kids? Let me know what works for you in the comments. I’m always open to learning from other people who have ‘been there, done that.’
Till next time,