The coronavirus crisis has seen all schools across the UK close indefinitely, with most accepting that the kids won’t be back in school before the start of the traditional summer holidays in July.
This means that, in addition to having to work from home, those of use with kids will now have to consider them during our daily routine – although everyone will have work to do, everyone being stuck in the house hardly makes for conditions that are conducive to productivity.
Here are five top tips help you successfully work from home with kids in the house.
How to work from home with kids in the house
1. Plan and agree a work and play schedule
There’s a good chance your kids won’t understand how working from home actually works – many employees don;t even understand it – so it’s important you set the boundaries between work and home life from the outset. So sit down with the kids and create a timetable that outlines when you start work, when you take your breaks, and when you finish work – that way they’ll know from the start when you’re available.
It might also be worth showing them exactly what it is you do while you’re working, so they can get some understanding of why you’re at home but not able to entertain them the whole the time.
Don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s the kids’ holidays though, and make sure you also schedule in some play time, and plan some activities in advance.
The important thing then is to make sure you stick to the schedule and don’t get distracted by the kids, the telly, the housework, or any of those other day-to-day distractions.
2. Get dressed for the office
Another good way to highlight the boundaries between home-life and work-life is to get dressed as though you’re going to work. Not only can this put you in the right frame of mind for work, it offers the kids a clear, visual indication that you’re not at home to play.
3. Work some unsociable hours
If you’re in the position where your working day doesn’t have to run from nine-to-five, it could be work getting up early or staying up late to get the work done while the kids are still in bed. Once you get used to the timings, you could find you can concentrate a lot more during these quiet times.
4. ‘Keep out’ or ‘Keep quiet’ signs
If you really need some quiet to concentrate or take a business call, put up ‘keep out’ signs to make sure the kids don’t burst into the room, or ‘keep quiet’ signs to make sure there’s some silence. You could even get the kids to make the signs, a little task that will keep them occupied for a while and also help get the message across.
5. Create time-consuming tasks
Although the kids should still have schoolwork to do, they won’t be doing this the entire day and will probably be climbing the walls sooner or later. And, in general, keeping the kids amused is the best way to keep them quiet, so try to think up some imaginative and fun tasks for them to carry out while you’re working – that doesn’t mean getting them doing the homework (though, if that’s an option, why not?!), but fun stuff like Lego building, painting, or whatever they’re into.