I started working from home when I had three kids under the age of 3, due to the cost of childcare. Now, with the pandemic and companies generally understanding what an advantage it is to work while raising a family, many parents are making this transition, too.
When you’re working from home with kids, there are a lot of challenges you need to contend with. Reduced productivity, time management and motivation can all be problematic when you’re trying to get work done. However, the good news is there are things available out there which can help.
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How do you transition to working from home?
Working from home doesn't work for everyone. It took me a couple of years to get into my groove, and then I had to adapt as my children grew and our school schedules changed. Here's what I suggest if you want to give it a try:
Set up a quiet working space
With all of the distractions at home, it can be really hard to concentrate on work. It's essential to set up a quiet working space. Try to use a room that isn’t frequently used during the day. Place a sign on the door when you’re trying to work to let others know not to disturb you. Make sure the workspace is comfortable too as you won’t get a lot done if you aren’t comfortable.
Start as early as possible
One of the main challenges that can come from working from home is delaying the time you usually start. It’s tempting to sleep in and take longer to relax in the morning before starting. However, this only zaps your productivity.
If you want to ensure you stay productive, start as early as possible. The positive side to this is that the earlier you start, the earlier you’ll get to finish. This has worked for me for years, freeing me up to be available to the kids afterschool and in the evenings.
Set social media limits
You’ll find it way easier to waste time checking social media when you are in charge of your own schedule. I like to use an app to block those sites while I'm writing. I use a kitchen timer to set 10 minutes a few times a day to check in on my social media accounts, especially since they're part of my online business.
Maintain your usual “get ready” routine
I admit–I'm not consistent with this! Try to wake up at the same time, have your usual cup of coffee and get dressed for work. This mindset shift makes a big difference to your productivity.
These are just a few tips you can follow when transitioning to working from home. It can be a big adjustment, but there are lots of tools and tips out there to help. Trying to maintain your usual routine is one of the best things you can do during these changing times.
What tech do you need to work from home?
Depending on the type of work you are doing from home, you may need to upgrade your tech. At the very least, you'll need:
A decent router: When you rely on the internet to work from home, it’s important to make sure you have a good router. If you’ve had your existing router for a while now, you should upgrade. Consider asking your provider to send a newer one. Or, you can invest in one yourself if need be.
Network security: In some cases, you will need to improve your network security. At the very least, you’ll want to get a VPN set up so you can work privately away from the prying eyes of hackers. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got good virus protection in place. The latest internet security will help to keep you safer while working from home.
Noise cancelling headphones: Noise can be a real problem when you’re trying to work at home. So, to block it out you might want to consider investing in a pair of noise cancelling headphones. This will help you to better focus on your workload and drown out any distractions such as sounds from outside.
Online tools: I use the free version of Trello to keep on top of my multiple blogs and communicate with team members. Task management software and apps are super useful and often can be used for absolutely free.
Tips to Work from Home with Kids
Working from home is tough enough without the added challenges of kids. Reduced productivity, time management and motivation are all problems when you’re trying to get work done while balancing being a parent. Hopefully these posts will help you make it work for you.