Juggling a remote work-from-home schedule while caring for children – especially babies and toddlers – can be a challenge. Managing your time, setting reasonable expectations for yourself, and ensuring the health, mental well-being and comfort of yourself and your kids are all vital elements of a successful work/life balance. But this can feel impossible when you’re in the thick of it. To smooth the way a bit and find some balance, check out the following tips.
Set A Flexible Schedule
Most employers understand that parents who are working from home while caring for young ones are unlikely to be fully able to work a traditional 9-to-5 schedule. As such, have an honest conversation with your supervisor about expectations and productivity levels while you’re in remote mode. You’ll want to arrange a schedule that allows you to be effective in your work role, while also being available as needed for your kids. To get manager buy-in and support, go to them with a proposed flexible schedule that demonstrates how you plan to manage your workload while still managing the realities of your children’s needs.
Create A Quiet Space
When on the clock for your employer, it’s essential that you have a dedicated workspace that allows you to focus and concentrate. Whether you’re in an office, a table set up in your bedroom, or even a corner alcove in your home, try to designate it as off-limits for kids, pets and other household members. This will help you mentally and physically separate home and work to the extent it’s possible. If you can’t create a space that’s 100 percent work-only, create a “work box” that contains all of your laptop, essential files, work materials and charging cords so you essentially have a portable office to take wherever you can find a quiet workspace.
Ask For Help
With many working parents operating remotely, novel ideas have developed to help ensure both work and children are cared for. For example, if you have a bubble consisting of other working parents, consider the practicality of hiring an outside child care provider to watch all of your children during a specified time of day. Others in your household may also be able to shoulder some of the responsibility by staggering their own work schedules to ensure the young ones in your home have the attention they need while parental work is being performed. Creative time management can help reduce stress and improve productivity.
Give Yourself A Break
Balancing remote work and childcare is a tall order, and as such, it’s important to take care of yourself and cut yourself a break. Make easy-to-prepare meals as needed, and don’t fret over the small stuff, like a spic-and-span house. Be kind to yourself and spend your days as comfortably as possible. A sports bra, T-shirt, and a dependable pair of leggings are sufficient for both work and running after little ones. Schedule virtual meetings as necessary and have a jacket or cardigan close at hand if you need to unexpectedly hop on a virtual call during the day. Also carve out time that’s just for you, even if it’s just 20 minutes alone de-stressing, reading a favorite book or an evening spent binge-watching your favorite show.
If ever there was a balancing act, it’s that of a work-from-home parent. Use all of the resources at your disposal, be upfront with your manager about your limitations, and give yourself permission to attend to your kids as necessary. If you can get them on a schedule of some sort, that can also be a good time management tool that can help you maintain both your sanity and your productivity.