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How to Work Productively From Home With Children

03 March 2022

We all have our ideal workspace situation. Clean, sleek, and modern furniture with the perfect amount of space that only you need to navigate, a chair that wraps perfectly around you, and a bookshelf filled with only your best. A minimalist's dream.

Well, sometimes our dream work-from-home space is exactly that, a dream. It probably doesn't include the destruction of toddler toys or grouchy teens demanding food at every hour on the hour.

Working from home with your kids is not easy. It is a huge adjustment for all parties involved but it does not mean it is impossible.

If this is an obstacle you are trying to tackle, keep on reading as below, you will find out how to work productively from home with children.

1) Add Structure

When you are working from home, it is easy to feel like the lines between structure and boundaries are nonexistent.

If you are new to working remotely, you will soon learn that structure is your best bet at separating your home life from your work life.

By adding some form of structure to your day, you will regain some control and give your family something to look forward to.

If finding a balance between work and looking after your children is currently a challenge, creating a simple spreadsheet or daily planner can give structure to everyone’s day.

It will give them an idea of when things can be a bit more flexible or when you need to be uninterrupted.

If your children are old enough to have access to devices, a shared family calendar will work just as well as a shared google spreadsheet. Adding in key work times, family time and chores will give everyone the structure they need.

Of course, this is dependent on the age of your children. If they are younger, ask them to be a bit more involved in creating a “Today” checklist, showing and explaining things you all want to do and achieve for the day. Then let them check off each one as the day progresses.

Structure doesn't have to mean strict lists and rules, it can be something fun and exciting for your kids too. Creating themes for the week and having a “goal activity” to work towards at the end of the day can also help form structure.

2) Communicate And Have Boundaries

Working from home can lead to feelings being misunderstood and isolated. Leaning on your colleagues and being honest with them is essential in helping you remain sane and productive.

By informing them of your current work situation, they will be able to be more empathetic and helpful in terms of your workload or just overall mental wellbeing.

Letting your boss know the times you are available from and when you are not (such as fetching the kids from school or the usual bath time debacle) can also help them understand better and manage expectations easier.

Honesty and communication are crucial during this time. Not only will it help you but it will also help your colleagues understand what you are working through and will allow both parties to create structure accordingly, which in turn will enhance productivity.

In addition, if your children are older - creating boundaries is recommended and will help the adjustment phase of this period.

Explaining the times when you need uninterrupted work time (unless there is an actual emergency) and when things can be a bit more open-ended, helps give them understanding and ground to work off.

If you and your partner are both working from home, divide and conquer. Discuss workloads and times, separate the roles of parent and worker, and schedule times where one parent can focus on work while the other is on child duty. Working as a team is one way to make working remotely that much easier.

3) Stick To A Schedule

If there is only one thing you take away from this article, let it be this. Stick to a schedule.

It will be such a blessing when you are successfully managing both work and parenting. This is because schedules are non-negotiable and if you set that rule from the beginning, your family and yourself will get into a routine a lot quicker.

Creating a schedule and sticking it on your door for all to see is important and will improve your work-life balance tremendously. If your child is still too young to read and understand, sit down with them and explain it then use pictures for better understanding.

If you have urgent meetings where you cannot be interrupted, let your children know in advance and explain what they could do while you are working too.

Although schedules do change and some tasks no longer need to be completed, being adaptable is just as important as being strict with the schedule.

Conclusion

Implementing the right strategies will help you and your family get through the day and once work hours are over, you can give your children and partner all the love and attention they (and you) need.