Whether you’re a seasoned remote worker or new to the WFH life, the past week has likely upended some of your usual business routines. Recent school and daycare closures also mean that a huge number of parents are trying to find a way to balance childcare with productivity—and anyone who has kids at home knows how challenging this can be. Below, we rounded up some helpful resources for anyone wondering how to manage remote work with kids around.
Set up your work-from-home basics
If you don’t normally work from home, you’ll need to start at the beginning and take some time to set yourself up. That means making sure you have all the right tools and supplies to carry on your work while away from the office, and thinking through what your new routine will look like. If you can, chat with your employer ahead of time and arrange to take home things like a laptop, mouse and keyboard because having the right setup can make a big difference in your workflow. This helpful NPR article covers all the basics—with tips on acquiring the right tech, using video conferencing platforms and how to mentally “get ready for work” when you’re not leaving the house.
Create a work-from-home schedule with your kids
With many schools and daycares closing for the foreseeable future, actually getting remote work done can feel like a lofty goal for most parents. And while it’s a good idea to manage your expectations around how productive you can be with your kids around, there are some strategies that can help you find some balance. CNBC suggests creating a daily schedule with your kids to help maintain structure and order. Depending on how old your kids are, you can perhaps squeeze in some productivity while they’re studying or playing solo. And, introduce the expectation that you aren’t to be disturbed during certain hours unless it’s an emergency. And, the most helpful tip? Communicate with your employer and set clear expectations around how much you’ll realistically be able to accomplish.
Check in regularly with your team
During a dynamic situation like the one we’re facing, it’s more important than ever to stay tuned into the latest developments at your workplace. Communicating with all members of your team can help manage feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for everyone. For employees, that means ensuring you review all internal comms, and checking in regularly with supervisors and colleagues. For employers, that means sharing regular updates around your company expectations. Basecamp founder and CEO Jason Fried recently set a great example with his company-wide letter, which acknowledges the challenge facing parents and non-parents alike.
Commit to order, yield to chaos
Let’s face it: this is new territory—even for people who always work remotely. And like all parents know, making a plan can be helpful, but sticking to it is another story! Sometimes it’s necessary to cut yourself and your kids some slack as you all adjust to a new situation. This CNN article shares insights from a working mom on how to manage any anxiety that comes from your new work-from-home reality. By all means, create a plan with your family—but if nap time doesn’t go according to schedule, try not to sweat it too much.
Put a moratorium on parental guilt
Lots of people have been sharing the schedules they’ve created with their own kids on Twitter. These can provide awesome inspiration for you and your kids when you’re creating your own, and help you plan out if/when you’ll be able to carve out time for remote work. But, now is not the time to compare yourself to other parents or give in to feelings of guilt. This could very well be the time to let kids enjoy a few treats, like a special meal or extra episode of their favorite show. And, if your kids’ schedule looks more like this one, that’s also a-ok.