Adjusting to remote work presents a unique set of challenges for each individual. In the era of Covid-19, offices are not the only ones closing their doors – schools and child care centers too. This situation puts most working parents in a pinch because they have to support their children’s remote learning while accomplishing their job responsibilities. Now, is there a way to stay productive (and sane) while working from home with kids around?
Acknowledge that You Are Not Perfect (and That Is Okay)
Working from home with kids is incredibly frustrating. Parents all around the world are perplexed as to how they may continue working while caring for their children. The first thing to do in balancing your life as a parent and as an employee is to acknowledge that you are not perfect. You are allowed to be overwhelmed and vulnerable because you cannot get the best of both worlds. The good thing? It is okay to feel that way.
Some people may be luckier than you, such as they can afford to quit their job and focus on being full-time parents or they have helpers to take care of the kids. You are allowed to be jealous of those privileged people. However, complaining about it while doing nothing will not make it any easier for you. Let go of the envy and do these practical steps instead:
Prepare Helpful Tools
Remote work is an entirely different thing from parenting. Even without kids, working from home requires a different set of skills than performing the same task in the office. The good news is that you can learn and adapt. To get a better remote work experience, dedicate a separate space where you can focus. If this is not possible, such as your kids needing constant surveillance when not napping, you can create a working space near or in the nursery room. Set a budget for some helpful tools to ensure that you can be just as productive when working from home. Read about it here.
Adjust Communication Habit
While you can rely on IT assistance at the office, you are responsible for the majority of your own equipment and applications at home. The key to dealing with this is getting used to helpful communicating apps like Zoom, Google Team, and Slack. When you work from home, your coworkers and manager are unable to just drop by to see how things are going so it may be challenging to coordinate team projects. Understand that online communication is different from an in-person one, so try not to say ambiguous or incomplete statements to avoid miscommunication.
Do Not Disturb
Since you cannot completely avoid interruptions, manage them by establishing sensible boundaries. Set aside some “no-disturb” time for your more focused job. Make sure your children have a peaceful activity planned for that time, and if you live with your spouse, collaborate so that one person gets do-not-disturb time while the other handles child care and urgent duties. You may also use your do-not-disturb sign when you are in a virtual meeting or need to focus on something essential. Do-not-disturb time serves as a reminder to you as well. Turn off your notifications, mute your phone, and postpone house chores in the sink until you have finished the undisturbed work.
Parenting is a Fair Partnership
You can, in fact, squeeze your work, kids, and other responsibilities into a single time. It will not be simple, but it is doable. Create a schedule that you, your partner, and your kids can all follow. While flexibility is one of the primary advantages of remote work, you must still have a clear strategy to manage your time. Uninterrupted work time, flexible work time, devoted quality time with your children, and supervised or unsupervised study should all be included in the schedule.
Parenting should involve two parties. For example, you can be in charge of the kids from the morning to half of the afternoon and your partner can do it from half of the afternoon through the evening. Recognize that you will need to work irregular hours. Many full-time working-from-home parents work extremely early in the morning or very late at night. If your children are younger, you may use nap time to get some work done as well.
Set up Schedule for Your Kids
If your children are old enough, they should be able to participate in a weekly schedule. They are more inclined to follow the plan because they help design it. Your children’s schedule should contain their duties such as housework and schooling, as well as some playtime. You may need to arrange particular activities to assist your child pick what to study, depending on their age and personality. Virtual playdates keep your kids entertained while also allowing you to work more uninterruptedly. Schedule video calls using Zoom or Google Meet so they can socialize with their friends or family members. A short glance at their online class schedule will assist you in planning your own task.
When All Else Fail, Reach Out for Help
No matter how well you plan your routine, there will be disputes and frustration. If things go south, do not hesitate to reach out for help. You can talk to a professional or a trustworthy friend who will listen to your frustration. If needed, you can also hire a nanny if there is no way you can supervise your kids all time throughout the day. Remember, hiring a nanny does not make you bad parents; it simply means you want the best for your kids and are willing to work hard to pay for a helper.
Working from home allows you to be involved and see your kids growing up. Kids grow up so quickly, and it is possible to miss important milestones if you are stuck in the office all day. It may not feel like it right now, but after you get into the routine of working from home with your kids, you may realize that this is the way you want to work in the long run.