Working from home is a tough adjustment in itself.
But now that schools are closed, working parents are having to deal with the dual challenge of getting stuff done while their children run about the place.
We spoke to mum-of-two and LinkedIn careers expert Charlotte Davies to get her top six tips for working from home with kids in tow.
Talk to your kids about what’s happening
Communication is key – your children need to know that this isn’t a holiday. They need to keep learning and you need to keep working.
Charlotte says: ‘Talk to your children about what is going on and help them understand why you need to concentrate on work.
‘Explain that they should try not to disturb you (except in emergencies…) while reassuring them you’re still there for them.
‘The likelihood is they’ll find the whole experience novel & fun, but there is a chance they could be confused or worried.’
Create space in your working area for your children
Give your younger kids a matching mini desk like one mum did, or just create a place for them to quietly play near your working space – this will make sure they don’t feel lonely and know that you’re right there if they need you.
‘This could range from a cot or playpen to a small table stocked with arts & craft supplies, or with work from school if your child is slightly older,’ Charlotte advises.
Have a schedule
‘Arrange important calls and meetings to take place during your child’s regular nap time,’ Charlotte says. ‘If your children are too old for naps, establish a “quiet play time” every day where they can read or play quietly and use this time for calls or work that needs your full attention.’
Tell colleagues your kids are at home
No one’s going to kick off about you needing to care for your children during the lockdown, but it’s worth giving everyone’s a heads up that your kids are around during Zoom calls and phone chats – if only so they’re not baffled by the background noise of Peppa Pig.
Have quality time with your children
‘Make sure to arrange regular intervals of quality time with your children throughout the working day,’ says Charlotte. ‘Whether it’s playing their favourite game, reading together or even taking them outdoors to let off some steam, the dedicated attention from you will help ensure they don’t feel ignored and haven’t had a boring day!’
Remember you’re not alone
Loads of parents are in the same boat – find communities online and chat with other parents.
Charlotte says: ‘Make the most of your community on LinkedIn to combat any isolation you may feel and utilise the tools available on the platform, including 16 courses regarding working from home that have just been opened up to all by the LinkedIn team.’