How to work from home with kids

There’s working from home…and then there’s working from home with children. Dun, dun, dun.

You think school holidays were hard. This is a new frontier, especially as many of your normal care options (eg. the grandparents) mightn’t be possible.

Do you know who’s best placed to get through this time? Beamers! Ie. part-time professionals who are used to being highly productive in short sprints of time. You’ve definitely got this, even if you feel a bit frazzled. We’ve put together our tips for making it through:

Challenge any traditional roles your family falls into — put everything on the table

If you have two working parents, both work together. Try not to focus on who normally does what. Look at who needs to do what — and who can do what!

Get creative about where to find additional hours:

  • Can you split days so each parent gets a work shift and a kids shift? Eg. 6am-12pm and 12.30pm-6.30pm.
  • Work before the kids get up or after the kids are in bed
  • Do you have any leave up your sleeve? (annual leave, pandemic leave, carers leave, long-service leave)

If you’re a single parent, hoo boy, you just have every last scrap of our admiration.

Renegotiate what your work looks like

Chances are, especially if you have younger kids, you could be getting 10 minutes to the hour of focussed work done, if that. Now is the time to re-prioritise your work with your manager — and get realistic about what your new work-life blend looks like. The aim = stop you burning out.

Be prepared to:

  • Define the number of focussed work hours you can have per week. Be realistic, not ambitious!
  • Reduce your work hours. The amount of work you can do while having the kids around must be discussed with your employer.
  • Adjust your roles and responsibilities; focus in on delivering the top business priorities. Temporarily rescope your role if required. (Check out our Ask Beam on this subject or email us if you need more assistance.)
  • Focus on getting one thing done at a time
  • Work out if there are any must-do tasks on your plate that are ok for times when you’re distracted? (Eg. CRM updates)
  • Have team phone calls with kids running in. In fact, we’d say it’s now not PC to pretend your kids aren’t there!

Get the kids sorted

To resist spiralling into days of panicky screen time (#nojudgment), have a really clear plan for every day. We aren’t going to get into detail here as there are plenty of resources out there right now. But some thoughts:

  • Get the kids out for a spot of exercise first thing before sitting down to do some school work. Helps with focus. Hmmmm actually not just for the kids — works for adults too.
  • Create and agree to a schedule at the start of each day
  • Build in clear blocks of time for getting solid work done — when you’re explaining these times to your kids, compare it with situations in kinder/school that they’re familiar with (eg. lessons in class when they have to do independent work).
  • Find your tribe: Join an online community to share homeschool resources, ask questions and post memes: eg.
  • Rope in your community to help you out via Zoom chat. Book play dates, run competitions (eg. Lego Masters style), get the grandparents to set tasks (the kids are much more likely to do these if it’s not you asking!)
  • Sign up for online lessons: piano, guitar, dance, etc
  • If things are falling to pieces it’s MOVIE TIME! AGAIN!!!
  • Make time for being present when you can be (in case you need to be distracted later ;))
  • Getting stressed? Read this article: You are not your child’s teacher.

Then get yourself sorted!

  • If possible, work from a separate part of the house from where the kids are. “Out of sight, out of mind!”
  • If your partner’s also WFH, make sure EACH of you get some child-free time during the day, whether it’s going for a run, catching up with a friend (social distancing!), etc. Having a kid-free break even for just half an hour will help with your sanity having the kids around ALL THE TIME!

Be kind to yourself and realistic.

We are all trying to find our way through this.

This isn’t business as usual.

You won’t be able to get as many tasks done as normal. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get the most important tasks done.

But the most important task is looking after yourself and your humans. There are things bigger than work happening right now. And honestly, we just want to give you a big hug!

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