5 tips for balancing working from home with parenting.
It would be fair to say Australia’s COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have impacted working-from-home (WFH) parents even more than most.
Sure, there are some positives to being at home and spending more time with the kids. But let’s be honest, there are also some challenges – like trying to focus on work and be productive when your little ones are craving attention. If you’re concerned or struggling with a work/life balance that’s been tipped on its head, you’re not alone.
To help, we’ve put together our top five tips for parenting while working from home and staying sane in the process.
1. Be realistic about what you can acheive.
It’s a big adjustment to go from working kid-free in a team environment to working while your offspring are learning or playing in the next room. This is not a time to set unrealistic goals as either an employee or a parent. You simply can’t do everything all at once. Make achievable to-do lists, make some time to relax and check on your children, and make sure you’re not too hard on yourself. Nobody wins if you start to burn out.
2. Make your own workspace and use it
Simultaneously working and parenting under one roof is tricky, so use the different areas of your house to your advantage. One of the first things you should do as a WFH parent is set up your home office or create a designated workspace, which you’ll definitely need for video meetings. That’s the easy part. Then you need to actually use this space consistently and effectively. Go there to work, but go elsewhere to catch up with the kids or sit together for a snack.
3. Set routines – but stay flexible.
When you’re suddenly working from home all the time, it’s a good idea to maintain your sense of routine as much as possible. Whatever routine means to you – coffee, breakfast, browsing the news and social media, stretching your legs, checking emails at certain intervals, etc. – try not to let WFH with dependents around mess up your everyday schedules and habits. However, it’s also important to remain somewhat flexible in these unusual circumstances. Why not gather the family for a lunch break and take a short drive in your safe, comfortable Hyundai Santa Fe or Hyundai Tucson down to the nearest park? Some fresh air and quality time outside the house will do you all wonders.
4. Lay down some family ground rules.
It’s one thing to set up your home office and mentally prepare yourself for a lifestyle change, but it will all amount to nothing if you don’t communicate your approach to the rest of the household. Along with the children, this includes your co-parent, partner or any other adults sharing the home. Have a family dinner to talk about everyone’s responsibilities, expectations and concerns during this unusual period. Laying a few ground rules will help eliminate any uncertainty about this unexpected arrangement.
5. Look on the bright side
The current situation may not be ideal, but look on the bright side – it’s an opportunity for you to find out if the WFH lifestyle is suitable long-term, for your children to see you in ‘work mode’ and perhaps become more independent, and for the entire household to bond in a new way.
And remember, this phase won’t last forever. Eventually you’ll be back driving the kids to school and picking them up in your Hyundai SUV after another day at the office. Enjoy the novelty while it lasts.