More and more people are working from home. If you struggle to stay productive while working from home, these tips from full-time work-at-home mums may help.
If the thought of working from home with your child seems frightening, you are not alone. Children demand attention 24 hours a day, and it's no fun juggling conference calls, endless emails and tight deadlines all at the same time.
But don't panic yet! We spoke to mothers and experts who have learned how best to cope with life at the crossroads of working from home and being a mum.
Here are their tips for staying productive while working from home:
- Make a schedule
- Take advantage of nap time
- Separate mother and business roles
- Interruption plan
- Find extra help if you need it
5 Tips for working better from home
1. Make a schedule
It is important to plan your day carefully, with fixed "office" hours. How many hours do you hope to work that day? When will you call back? What can you do while your son or daughter is colouring in the next room? You get more done when you work smarter, not harder
That said, one of the best benefits of working from home is flexibility, especially if you are your own boss. If your son or daughter is fussing during your office hours and it's a beautiful day, it's okay to put assignments aside and play outside. You can catch up with your work later when your sweetie has calmed down.
If you have a deadline, make sure that you fix in advance how many hours a day you have to log when teleworking. Given the reason for working from home (the spread of the coronavirus), some employers will understand the need for non-traditional schedules.
2. Take advantage of nap time
Take advantage of afternoon naps to remain productive when working at home. Whether your child sleeps one or three hours, use this time to complete tasks that require your full focus and concentration. If for some reason your child is not tired, have quiet time instead. With a book alone in the room, let him calm down.
3. Separate mother and business roles
If you do not learn to separate your roles as a mother and as a businesswoman, by concentrating fully on both for a certain period of time, you will never feel that you are fulfilling either role well. To mentally separate yourself from the rest of the house, you can set up an office space.
This helps you to get away from your work when you have a door to close. If you don't have an office, try making a list of everything you're going to do the next day, leave it at your workstation and walk away. You do something to switch off work, which helps you stay productive while working at home.
4. Plan for interruptions
Every home worker has a horror story: you have an important phone call, your toddler wants to watch Plopsa or is suddenly hungry, and her boss has to listen to a whining child and mummy's excuses instead of her bright ideas. The advice? Turn the mute on during conference calls to avoid unexpected cries like "Mommmeee!" in the background.
Give your child a non-verbal "Do not disturb" when you want to be quiet for a moment. Perhaps you can wear a badge when you are on the phone, to indicate that children should not make noise or disturb you, but not if there is an emergency. If you have an office door, tie a red ribbon to it if you don't want to be disturbed. This tactic is best for older children; toddlers won't understand that they can't always have your undivided attention. If your toddler is fussing while you are on the phone, end the call and reschedule if possible.
5. Find extra help if you need it
You may think that by working from home you can skip childcare, but there will be days when you need help, and that is fine. You can also check for after-school care, schedule a babysitter or make concrete arrangements with your partner or relatives to organise childcare.
When your partner comes home after dinner, ask him to supervise bedtime. That way, you can work for at least another hour before the children shout "Mum! yell. And once they do, you'll be there for the conversation, with no rush hour to race through.