For a long time, working remotely was considered a dream, a luxury or some sort of company benefit. Today practically everyone is working from home (including the children!) and for many working parents, it’s turning into a nightmare!
So how can you juggle childcare and continue to work remotely with children at home? At Ten2Two, we regularly help our members find part time jobs or flexible roles that offer working from home options.
Here we share some of our top 12 member tips on how to work remotely with children during the coronavirus crisis.
- Stagger your working day – if you have to look after young children and there are two people working in the household, one approach is to stagger your working day. For example, one parent can start at 7am and finish at 1pm whilst the other parent takes over minding the children.
- Set expectations – no matter how young or old your children are, it’s important that everyone understands the limitations of the current situation and equally everyone pitches in and helps as a family team. Ask your children questions about how they think they could help every day and if they understand your work commitments. Set some boundaries and think about a daily routine.
- Have a flexible routine – children are used to a routine at school. Setting a routine at home can also be useful for everyone, but it’s important to be flexible too. Mark out your work times, conference calls and other work commitments, so that everyone knows for the week when you are available or not. Try to make sure you eat together at mealtimes and get out at least once a day for some exercise or games outdoor. Maybe even create a checklist of challenge activities for your children to work on independently during the day like reading a new book, drawing a picture, cleaning their room etc..and remember to communicate the routine to everyone.
- Chill out about children – your children may wander into a screen shot on a conference call. Remember Robert Kelly’s infamous moment during a BBC news interview on international policy in Korea. Today, everyone is in the same boat so don’t worry if your child wanders in uninvited. For those still working, this might even be a time when people get to know each other a bit more and create deeper, more lasting working relationships together. Alternatively, take precautions and just lock your door.
- Don’t compare – if you can share home schooling tasks with a partner, so much the better. But many homes have a lone parent or multiple children with different educational needs. If that’s you, take your foot off the gas and whatever you do, don’t start comparing yourself to others on social media. Remember most of us are not natural or trained teachers. Do your best and try to be patient, taking regular breaks with your children during homeschooling.
- Define your workspace – not everyone has the luxury of a home office but do at least try to designate a specific space in your house or garage where you can work (ideally with a door!). Maybe think of doing the same thing for your children, so that they can feel “grown up” and take responsibility for their own schoolwork in a quiet spot at their own desk.
- Look into faster broadband – a common problem for remote workers is not having good tech in the house. It becomes even more of an issue if you’re a family all trying to log on at once. If you can afford to, it’s worth looking in to see what broadband deals there are to get faster internet access or asking your employer to help pay the bill.
- Get set with tech – not all families have access to tech for everyone and with lots of the home-schooling work being set up online, some parents have been able to borrow Chrome books and iPads from school. It’s worth asking if this is the case in your household or purchasing used equipment.
- Talk to your employer and team members – it’s important to share experiences and best practices around how to work remotely with children at home. Working from home is not easy when you have children at home too, especially younger children. Be honest and share your concerns and any useful tips together.
- Try to do one thing well – it’s hard when you feel like you’re not achieving either good work or good parenting. Accept that you won’t be able to achieve everything you want to achieve and try to focus on doing one thing well per day, particularly when it comes to home schooling primary children. And remember to give yourself a pat on the back afterwards!
- Log off and log out – this is a trying period for everyone. If you’re still working, try not to let it dominate your every working hour. If you can approach work with a clear head, you’ll get more done in less time and you’ll feel better generally.
- Look after your own mental health – You need to take time for yourself for the sake of your own mental wellbeing. See if you can send the kids to bed a bit early and sit down to a film night or some ‘me-time’. A Facetime or Zoom chat with friends can also offer much needed company where you can share home-schooling horrors or teenage tantrums! Or try getting up a bit earlier and going for a brisk walk or jog.
We know this is an unusual time for businesses. We hope to see all our contacts and Ten2Two members again soon, but until then, we will still be working to provide flexible consultancy and any immediate flexible roles that require local, professional talent. Not everybody has stopped working – and some companies are finding they still need talent at short notice, so please keep an eye out for our emails. Best of luck and stay strong as we navigate these difficult times together.
The Ten2Two team