Child Care and Other Strategies When Working from Home

Published on Monday, 05 December 2016
Last updated on Thursday, 03 January 2019

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Working from home is often touted as the ideal solution for parents who want to return to the paid workforce without putting their child in full time care. Working from home does afford parents more time with their children and more time in the home, it does however come with its own set of challenges.

Parents who maintain paid work in the home, whether it is running a business, freelancing or working for a company from home, will tell you that organisation and flexibility are the keys to success.

However, there are also some tangible changes you can make to your physical environment which will help you achieve professional success in a home based office setting. Once you have made the decision to work from home consider:

  • Creating an office or work area which is separate to the busiest living areas of your home. Explain to your children that this area is a no-go-zone during work hours and make sure your children understand when you are working.
  • Investing in some headphones and some music so you are not distracted by the noise and chaos happening outside your office door.
  • Operating two phone numbers, one for business and one for personal calls, so you aren't distracted by personal calls during working hours and vice versa.

People who work from home are not required to use child care, however, many successful working parents find that strategic use of child care whether it be centre based, with a babysitter or a grandparent significantly increases productivity.

By sourcing care for your child for just a few hours every week you are guaranteeing yourself some solid uninterrupted work time. Consider employing a babysitter on a regular basis to mind the kids while you lock yourself away in your office for a few hours.

This works really well if you have a young baby which requires breastfeeding and/or you don't mind the noise of your older children around the house while you work. 

When you are happy with your work environment and have implemented a few systems to make your ideal work/life balance achievable remember:

Be flexible

Your working day will need to be as flexible as possible to accommodate your child's changing needs. Set yourself some parameters but make them elastic so you don't get stressed and frustrated when everything changes at the last minute.

Be organised

To ensure your working hours are as useful as possible try and maintain a prioritised task list which you can use to monitor your work in progress. It is all too easy to turn on the computer to do some work and get side tracked by emails or the Internet. By maintaining a to-do list which is ready and waiting, you are less likely to lose time thinking about what you need to do and other distraction!

Work when you can but make time to relax

While it may seem tempting to rush to the computer every time you get a spare ten minutes this is not always the best way of working. Try and set aside some time each day to sit down with a cup of tea and relax, it will make your next ten minute work session far more productive.

Set achievable goals for yourself

Don't over commit and reward yourself when you achieve success! Remember that working from home effectively means you are doing two jobs at the same time. Make sure your workload is at a sustainable level and set realistic deadlines. Dividing large tasks into smaller more manageable projects may help you stay on top of things and give you a sense of progress on a day-to-day level.

Stay focused

Whenever you have a bad day or feel like you just didn't get anything done take a step back have a cuddle with your little one and remember why you chose to work from home in the first place!

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