Business guide to Coronavirus

8 tips for working from home with kids

Many Australian working parents have been facing the reality of co-working with their small humans in tow.

We’ve collated our top 8 tips from parents around the world to help you prepare yourself and your fellow working parents.

1. Enlist a support team 

Whether it’s a partner, a close friend or relative who is also a parent in the same boat, or even a paid professional you trust (and can afford) to bring into your home, now is the time more than ever to reach out for help. With many working parents in the same boat and casual employees currently out of work there’s a village out there. Reach out.

2. Write a roster

If you’re unable to fully cover the regular working day and need to balance out your hours outside of 9am to 5pm, formulate a roster with your support team. The aim of a roster is to enable solid blocks of productivity (someone watching the kids, while you can focus and work uninterrupted). This ensures the kids are always properly supervised as well as allowing you to schedule important calls or meetings when you have some quiet time.

3. Communicate with your team 

Share your roster with your team so they know when you’re working and when you might not be online and manage your boundaries. Encourage empathy amongst the broader team. While most working parents would understand how challenging this can be, not everyone in your workplace will completely understand. Lead from the front and show support for flexibility in your workplace

4. Sort out your supplies

In addition to a roster, having a solid supply of pre-made meals, snacks at the ready, activities and arts and crafts supplies will make the days run smoother. Parents around the world are compiling great tips for indoor activities, check out: 

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5. Set boundaries with your kids

While the effectiveness of this is largely dependent on the age of your kids, it’s a great opportunity for them to learn boundaries and patience. Communicate openly about how you need their help and get them involved. For example: help them make a “Quiet” sign that you can hold up when you’re about to jump on a work call. Think about sticker charts or other positive encouragement to help get them on board with this new way of working. 

6. Don’t be a hero

Now is not the time to try and develop a full home school curriculum, make all organic meals and snacks from scratch or entirely ban screen time. It’s survival time and it’s not forever. You’ll burn out if you try and do two full time jobs simultaneously. 

7. Manage your wellbeing

When work and home blend and you’re trying to build productivity into every spare minute of the day, it’s easy to put yourself last. Ensure you get enough sleep, fresh air, good food and water. If the constant noise or interruptions leave you prone to anxiety, think about strategies to cope like using headphones with calming music, a brief walk in the fresh air or stopping for a quick mindfulness or meditation exercise. 

8. Have a good dose of humour 

When Professor Robert Kelly’s infamous BBC interview went viral, any parent who’s ever tried to have a conference call with a kid in the house immediately empathised. Take heart in the fact that you’ll at least give your colleagues a good chuckle if one of your little friends joins in.

Sara Friedman

Executive Manager, Acquisition Marketing – My Business

Sara is a marketing professional with over 15 years of experience working in Australian businesses, from start ups to top ASX listed organisations across media, telecommunications and financial services.

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