Working from home with kids isn’t for everyone, and it might not be possible for you or your situation. If you happen to be working at home with kids, or thinking about it for the future, we’d love to share a few bits of advice and lessons.
It’s not always easy to strike a balance between work and family time, but it’s so worth it.
Tip #1: Enjoy the little moments. There are often times when kids wake up and you hear them talking to themselves and toys — those moments are priceless. Working from home lets you take a moment to enjoy such actions.
Tip #2: Communicate clearly. Setting expectations with your partner, coworker, and the employer is paramount to know when you can or cannot help.
Tip #3: Take the pressure off! If things don’t work out the way you’d hoped today, it feels best to default to sending love to your kids and make a plan to catch up on work after bed or the following day.
Tip #4: Utilize nap/sleep times. Naps may not be easy to schedule or plan on, but making the most of each one can help you relax when you might take a break from work to play during their awake times.
Tip #5: Rotate toys to keep them new and interesting. This can buy an extra 10–20 minutes of independent playtime to get a few more things done!
Tip #6: Have a bottle ready before meetings. If the baby might wake up or get cranky mid-meeting, having a bottle ready to go can be a life-saver to distract and appease.
Tip #7: Remember the bigger picture. Some days may be a bit rougher than others. Keep focused on the work tasks that matter most, hold to the bigger vision, and remember the benefits of being able to work from home.
Tip #8: Aim for the best balance possible. Take an afternoon walk if you can or even a morning to spend with your family at the beach.
Tip #9: Be fully present in your current activity. That means that if you’re home and spending time with your family/kids you’re doing that 100%. It’s easy to sneak in work here and there when you’re remote and work from home. It can be so hard to separate the two, but learning to is crucial.
Tip #10: Take little breaks from work to spend some time playing, exploring or learning with the kids. I also have the flexibility to perhaps take an hour or so during the week to join on a school trip, go the beach or do a hike in the forest.
Tip #11: Leave your phone on your desk. When you’re spending time with your family, try leaving your phone out of reach to really focus on your children.
Tip #12: Plan ahead. Think through when it’s best to focus on working and when there’s more flexibility to hang out with the family — not just when there’s a mini-crisis but also when it’s time to have some fun with the kids!
Tip #13: Set internal and external guidelines. Setting guidelines helps everyone experiences the benefits of this work arrangement.
Tip #14: Have a structure. There is definitely flexibility within each day, but letting everyone know when you usually get started for the day and when you normally jump offline for the evening. This helps to set expectations and create space throughout the day for meaningful interactions and life to be lived.
Tip #15: Mindfully enjoy! To work remotely is such a special opportunity that you want to mindfully enjoy each and every day that you have the opportunity to do this type of thing. Don't get so caught up in wanting to succeed and push hard that you miss many opportunities to engage in your life.