According to a 2020 Stanford study, 42% of the US labor force works from home full time. Another statistic that affects our work-from-home population is that about 40% of American households include at least one child under 18. Without any number-crunching or expertise in data analysis, it is safe to say that most people pursuing a professional career with a work-at-home job are doing so in the presence of kids. Working from home with kids is not easy, so here are a few things to note and plan for more professional success as a work from home parent.
The good and the bad
One of the positive consequences of being a work from home parent is that kids are getting more access to role models. They spend more time observing the adults in their lives working and can see firsthand what those work activities are like. Kids also have more time with the adults in their lives, which could provide increased opportunities for bonding.
Another benefit of remote work with children is avoiding heavy traffic during your morning commute and juggling daycare and childcare schedules. As a work from home parent, you can be present and supervise your kids with peace of mind, knowing they are safe and cared for. Working from home was especially helpful in the height of the pandemic when kids had to stay home from school and needed extra help with remote learning.
Major Con of Working from Home with Kids
Of course, anyone embarking on a professional career from home, like with a virtual assistant job, understands there are some challenges, too. Kids are not your typical officemates or work colleagues that are predictable and stay actively productive in between coffee and lunch breaks. Kids are generally less disciplined than office workers who recognize when quiet time is essential.
Organization is key to survival
The key to managing a WFH lifestyle with kids is organization. When you work from home with kids, you are essentially managing two jobs at the same time. If you remain organized, you can make the most efficient use of your time, and, therefore, survive what otherwise is just an overload on your time and energy.
All of the work from home tips talk about organization and time management. It is absolutely essential. You need to organize your tasks for the day and coordinate that schedule with the kids’ tasks. Kids, unfortunately, do not have the same attention span as adults, so when organizing their tasks, you need to keep that in mind. While you can sit down and focus on one activity for an hour, they will need at least two activities to keep them occupied for that same hour.
You must also organize your space if you want to be successful working from home with kids. You need a designated workspace that is out of the way and does not interfere with the kids’ activity space. At the same time, you need to be able to see and hear the kids from your home office. Organizing the workspace and activity space also means keeping tools and materials handy in both areas so task time can be efficient. Neither you nor the kids should require a lot of set-up time to carry out your scheduled tasks.
Finally, organize your team and you’re ready to rock the at-home workday. Consider those kids part of your team and communicate with them accordingly. They need to be briefed about the daily goals: putting in several hours of productive time, taking breaks to prep and eat meals, acquiring at least one new piece of knowledge, producing a creative item. You and the kids are a team working toward the same goals, and everyone knows that a team effort is more likely to be successful.