As COVID-19 continues to sweep across the country, it’s very likely that you’ll find yourself working from home for the foreseeable future.
There are many benefits to working remotely, but having your kids around when you’re trying to do your job can be a challenge. With schools and daycare centers closing for weeks in order to prevent the highly contagious disease from spreading, children have become their parents’ demanding new co-workers.
Although it might take some time to get used to, it is possible to be a productive employee while your children are a mere few feet away from you. Here’s how HiringThing parents are managing getting work done while keeping their kids busy:
Create A Flexible Schedule
Most children are used to structure in their day. It’s important to create a schedule so you’re not wasting time trying to figure out what to do the minute your kids are done with their current activity. Schedules should include time for learning, playing and eating. If possible, try to incorporate outside activities and online courses into their new routine. Jess Tejani, our Chief Operating Officer, recommends creating a loose schedule, so you’re not stressed out about making sure every activity is done at a specific time. Things don’t always go according to plan, and it’s easier on everyone if you can roll with changes and are prepared with backup plans. It’s a good idea to let your colleagues and clients know your new working hours and which times you won’t be available. Consider scheduling meetings during nap times or learning hours.
Have A Dedicated Work Space
Even if you don’t have a spare room to work out of, it’s extremely helpful to designate an area of your home as your office. Let your kids know that when you’re in that area, you’re “at work” and need some alone time. Of course, you can’t expect young children to stay out of your new office space, but having a physical work area may help them understand when you need to focus on work for a while. Becca Noland, our Human Resources Manager, also recommends having a designated space for your children to do their school work. Many teachers are providing students with study materials so they can continue learning while schools are closed, and setting up a “classroom” in your home may help your kids get in the right headspace to focus on their assignments. You could also share a work zone with your children and pick a time when the whole family can tackle individual projects simultaneously.
Get Help From Your Children
Your kids will be looking for things to do, which makes this the perfect opportunity for you to disguise a few chores as fun activities. Many children enjoy helping in the kitchen, which can be a huge time saver. HiringThing Customer Support Representative, Leslie Cary, recommends filling the fridge with snacks and meals on Sundays. This allows her daughter to help herself when she needs a quick bite to eat during the week. Depending on how old your children are, they can also give you a hand with laundry and cleaning, giving you a few extra hours a week to get some work done.
Offer Rewards For Completed Checklists
When children are home, it can be hard to get them to focus on anything other than the television. Our Accounting Manager, Lynn Heeps, sets up a checklist for her children to complete every day, and offers rewards when the to-do’s are completed. Your kids will likely be more excited to get their work done if they know a movie or video game is waiting for them at the end of the day. Jennifer Doepke, HiringThing’s Director of Client Services, created a points-based incentive system that motivates her children to complete their daily chores and online courses. Once their points accumulate, they can choose to cash them in for a candy treat or save them until they have enough points to buy a small prize item on Amazon.
It may be challenging to manage working while you’re home with the kids, but you can do it! Don’t be too hard on yourself and remember that many of your coworkers are in the same position. You likely won’t get the same amount of work done that you would in a normal work day, and that’s okay. Enjoy the extra time you get to spend with your little ones and do the best you can to create a work-from-home system that works for your family.
HiringThing has been a 100% remote software company since 2012, so we’re experts when it comes to working from home. Check out our Remote Work Manifesto to learn how we’ve created a unique company culture that keeps our team happy and productive.