How to work through the school holidays…and survive!

School holidays and work are like a terrible mathematical equation…one will not go into the other, no matter how long you stare at the problem.

Even though there’s no magic bullet, we’ve put together a few ideas from Beam’s community and team to help get you started.

But know that it will be messy — so breathe into it, many people are in the same boat. Here are some key tactics to win/get through the school holidays:

Start prepping for the next school holiday now

Ok, so this isn’t helpful just yet, but we promise these tips will help in the future.

  • Normalise working from home with your employer across the year so that you have this flexibility baked in when holidays arrive. (Some school holiday juggles involve working from home, so having this as part of your standard role will make life a LOT easier.)
  • Invest in building a strong community at school and beyond so that you can share care with friends during the holidays. This is the best money saving option!
  • Encourage your workplace to enable people to be online and working at different times. At Beam, we use a combination of Slack and Google spreadsheets to work asynchronously. This is ideal for holiday coverage.

Negotiate a flex-up flex-down arrangement with your manager

Work more days when you can during the year…so that you can work fewer days when the holidays arrive. This type of flex really suits roles that have clear busy and quiet periods during the year: eg. Finance managers.

The pick & mix approach aka the hustle method

Let’s face it, this is most of us! Many people juggle through the hols using a combination of options. Here are some of the main ways we see people finding extra time to cover their days:

      • Long service leave
      • Annual leave
      • Grandparents
      • Vacation care
      • Sport / drama camps
      • Hiring babysitters / local teenagers to be with the kids while you work
      • Taking the kids to work for a day
      • Swapping playdates and sleepovers with your tribe

Tap into your local community (FB groups or real life!) and council for ideas about all the different care options available in your neighbourhood. If you’re looking for ways to build a community of people around you, this podcast has some excellent advice from a military mum on making new friends!

Spread your normal hours across more days

If you work part-time, set your kids up with activities so you can get a few hours’ work done from home every day. This is how Gill, Beam’s Marketplace Manager, manages the juggle. It means that clients are still looked after but she’s available for the rest of the day.

Put in catch-up hours at night

If you need to buy a little more time, login at night with any admin tasks that aren’t time sensitive. It’s not perfect but it will get you through! This is especially suited to night owls so make sure this rhythm makes sense for you. Early risers could wake up super early to get work done before the house wakes up.

Book in some time for yourself after school goes back

There’s nothing worse than starting the year tired! Make sure you pop some time in the calendar (on a weekend if your annual leave is kaput) to reset and take a breather once you’ve made it through the holidays. Phew!

All of Beam’s roles are career-worthy and part-time — and many of them have working from home options or can be done during school hours.