Your company has transitioned to a work-from-home arrangement and now your childcare provider is on lockdown. With your kids now at home, you have to figure out how to take care of them while also put in your 9-5. Our team had to transition to working from home too. After a few months of working in this new environment, this is what we found worked best for us when managing work and kids.
1. Discuss the situation with your employer
It’s important to discuss your situation with your employer if it does get challenging. Being honest will help build trust and will let your employer know that you do care about the job. They themselves might be in the same boat as you so they will understand where you’re coming from.
See if it’s possible to have flexible working hours to make up for lost time during the day. Let them know how you plan to work and care for your kids. For example, you might not be available to work immediately in the morning as you have to get your kids ready. So, you won’t be able to attend any meetings in the morning. If the situation does change, also be sure to update them.
2. Designate a work space
Dedicate a space in your home where you will focus on work. It will create boundaries within your home so that you can limit mixing your home and work life. By only focusing on work in this space, you and your family are able to associate the area with your job.
3. Set a routine
It is important to set a routine for your kids and especially yourself. Doing so will help maintain some good habits while minimizing the stress you feel throughout the day. Think about what you did before heading to work. Did you wear makeup? How dressed up were you? Or did you have a morning coffee? Whatever it is, integrate those habits that will put you in the working mindset.
If you’re unsure of what your child’s routine should be, follow the one they had when they were at school or at their childcare centre. Since they are used to this routine, they will understand what to do. Plus, if they do go back, they will be able to integrate themselves as you were able to maintain a consistent routine with them.
Once you have a routine for both yourself and your child, try to merge the schedules together so that everything balances out. Eat your meals together, have important meetings while your child is sleeping, or focus purely on an important project when you know your child will be busy playing. Doing so can reduce how often you feel overwhelmed.
4. Work with your partner
Your partner may also be working from home. If so, divide the duties between yourselves. Look at both of your schedules and determine when each of you will be busy or free. For example, if you have an important meeting to attend to at 2:00pm but your partner has some off-time, then your partner can take care of your child at that time. While dividing the duties, make sure to still support one another and be respectful of how you each work. Communication is key during these circumstances.
5. Take time for yourself
With your life being so busy, it can be easy to forget about one of the most important things – Yourself. Make sure to take time out of your day for yourself. Whether that is eating, reading a book, watching some tv, having that time to focus on your well-being will help you perform better.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when having to balance work and kids. It’s a different environment when having to work from home which means you are faced with new challenges. But to help ease that feeling, communication and planning are two things you need to focus on. Doing so can ensure that you are getting work done while your children’s needs are met.