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How Parents Can Make Remote Work, Work

Toddler reaching for laptop

3 Practical Tips for Parents Who Work from Home

Working from home full-time is entirely new territory for many. The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly changed our lives, and we’re all trying to get used to it. While working remotely, has a lot of benefits, some may struggle with it —particularly parents.

Since schools were closed and kids must stay home too, trying to be productive at work while you take care of your kids and give them the attention they need can be complicated. It can be a little easier when you have older kids who can take care of themselves, but with small children, it is trickier.

Being a parent trying to juggle remote work and taking care of your kids can be a challenge. Here are some tips that can help you successfully get through this complicated time.

Woman reading to children

Plan Your Day the Night Before

A little planning goes a long way, especially when there are so many things going on. Divide your workday in a way that won’t make you feel like you’re leaving something out. Plan for deep work and shallow work time throughout the day. Schedule those activities that require more focus during your deep work time and be strict about avoiding distractions.

Plan the more straightforward tasks that don’t require so much attention during the shallow work time. It makes room for you to give your kids more attention when they need it while you read emails, clean your inbox, schedule calls, etc. For example, if after lunch, things get a little crazy, and your children demand more attention, that would be a good time for shallow work.

Define and Follow a Morning Routine

Mornings in most households are hectic, whether you go to work at the office or stay home. Add kids to the equation, and it can be chaotic. Consistently following a morning routine can ease things up a lot, as it helps train your brain on what to expect and how to react. Wake up at the same time every day so that you can get yourself and the little ones ready —take a shower, eat breakfast, brush your teeth— for the day ahead.

Designate a Space for Work

Having a space for work, you can call your own, is essential for productivity. It doesn’t have to be a big home office; there are many ways you can create a dedicated workspace at home. All you need is your work equipment and good lighting.

Communicate with Your Family and Team

Boundaries are necessary, so don’t feel guilty when you set them. If you have grade-schoolers at home, help them understand which hours of the day are your “deep focus hours” so you can limit interruptions as much as possible during that time. Talk with your spouse and define an arrangement that works for both of you. Maybe your deep work hours can be in the morning while your spouse leaves high-focus tasks for the afternoon.

Talk to your team and your colleagues, so they are aware of your situation at home. It will help them be understanding and minimize your stress levels as you come to terms with the fact that there are things you cannot control, and that’s fine. You’re doing the best you can, and that’s what matters.

Make Time for Quality Time and Rest

Avoid working more than you would at the office. Define a healthy work schedule that works for you but leaves time to spend with your family —play games or watch a movie— as well as time for self-care.