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4 tips for working from home with kids 

While the world adjusted to working remotely during the pandemic, we all faced the obstacles of home setup, IT, and technology – but many of us also faced a new challenge of juggling working from home with parenting, as kids across the US also had to adapt to homeschooling and one very long summer break!

As it’s National Working Parent’s Day, we thought we’d run through some top tips for those parents working from home through Covid-19 and trying to find that balance between working life and parenting.

We’ve also called in some of our Moneypenny moms to share their key learnings from life during lockdown – and beyond:

1. Create a schedule that works for you

In a world that feels anything but ordinary, it’s important to establish a flexible routine to help provide some sort of structure and normality to your working day – for both you and your kids.

Decide on a daily plan for the family and try to stick to this as closely as possible each day – though it’s important not to be hard on yourself when things don’t go to plan.

“It’s ok not to feel pressured to do school work”.

As Moneypenny Account Manager, Sian explains: 

“One of the toughest challenges but most important lessons has been realizing that it’s ok NOT to feel pressured to do school work. In our home, the best thing to do has been allowing the kids to choose their own routine – what time of day they feel like working and what work they’d like to do. Luckily, their school had everything set up for them to do exactly this – and not only that, my kids have since become experts in home economics and making great tea!” 

Include regular breaks in your schedule and make time to go outdoors for some fresh air; stretching your legs and getting some natural light will work wonders for productivity while helping the kids to burn some energy at the same time.

It’s also a great idea to include fun weekday activities for the kids to look forward to each day, and there are a number of online resources and video classes to keep them entertained, including exercise, yoga, cookery, quizzes, and more!

“Our daily routine has included virtual PE lessons every morning at 7:30am!”

“A big part of our daily routine has included virtual PE lessons every morning at 7:30am! It’s a great way to start the day before settling down to do some work.” – Erin, New Business Manager 

2. Embrace flexibility

Being flexible is the key to success in the current climate, for both businesses as well as parents, and it helps if your workplace is on board and understanding of your commitments. Being able to flex your hours around childcare to best suit their needs is usually the most productive option.

For example, if the kids are playing or sleeping, then this is the ideal time to get on with your work and catch up with any errands.

“What I have learned most is to go with the flow as much as you can!”

Carmen, Moneypenny Team Leader, tells us: 

“They say have kids, it’ll be fun – but have they ever been through a pandemic?! What I have learned most is to just go with the flow as much as you can. I’m so lucky to have a super huge support system to turn to, including Moneypenny who are so flexible and understanding of my schedule – allowing me to be a mom, teacher, and team leader!” 

If you have one, communicate with your partner too and talk about how you can divide your responsibilities, so both of you are able to work effectively. And just as importantly, be open and honest with your employer – if you’re finding things particularly difficult, let them know and see what solutions they can help implement to make things easier for you both.

3. Turn to tech

Technology has played a pivotal role in the transition to home working. Take advantage of the various digital tools available and provide employees with real-time information on your availability or any issues you might be dealing with.

For example, at Moneypenny, we love using Microsoft Teams for day-to-day communications and project management. Its instant chat facility allows colleagues to quickly message one another, while its features also enable you to update teammates of your live status throughout the day letting them know when you’re available, busy, or away from your desk.

For timekeeping, tools such as Toggl or Timesheets can be a great way to keep track of your hours and set reminders for upcoming projects or task deadlines. While using a simple digital calendar, like the one linked to your Outlook or Google emails, can help you to schedule daily reminders, whether it’s a video meeting, an online lesson, or time for an outdoor break.

4. Take time out

Last but by no means least, it’s vital you’re taking time out for yourself. Playing the role of teacher and mom or dad while working is exhausting for anyone. Make sure you’re setting aside time to do the things you love, whether it’s a hobby or simply relaxing at the end of the day with a book, a TV series, or, of course, a glass of wine!

“It’s important to decompress – and have a cold beer!”

As Heather, Moneypenny Receptionist, says: 

“Make time for yourself and your partner. Working from home while keeping track of your kids’ education is a lot to manage and can be stressful. It’s important to decompress – and have a cold beer!” 

Achieving that all-important work-life balance will have a hugely positive impact on your approach to work and how productive you are during the working day.

For more tips like these, why not check out our 5 tips to work well from home

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