Working from home used to feel like an unattainable goal for many, especially those who were used to spending their days (and nights!) in the throes of corporate America surrounded by a gray-walled cubicle.
Since the pandemic, working from home has become a non-negotiable for many, no matter what industry you find yourself in.
While working from home has its perks (hello, no commute, and all-day sweatpants) and seems to be trending everywhere, it can definitely be a difficult task for parents.
Let’s face it– working parents are in a whole league of their own. We like to think of them as superheroes in their own regard. The truth is a majority of parents are working parents these days. If we are being honest, even if you’re a stay-at-home parent, you’re working from morning to night, right?
At Product of the North, we are working parents ourselves, navigating busy schedules while trying our best to raise wholesome, world-changing kids, and save the planet (literally!). We are no parenting experts, but we are here to share our experiences and knowledge with you in hopes that you feel less alone in navigating the journey that is parenting.
Top Tips for Working From Home as Parents
We believe that you should do whatever is best for your family when it comes to working, but if you find yourself elbows deep in diaper changes and Zoom meetings while suited for business on top and midday naps on the bottom, this one is for you.
To make remote life more flexible and productive, we’ve compiled a list of our top seven tips for working from home with children.
1. Have a plan and make a schedule.
One of the first rules of success is to have a plan. While that helps set the ground rules, solidifying your plan in an outline, checklist, or schedule will ensure you follow the plan.
We will be the first to say that schedules don’t always go as planned, but they sure help you stay organized and get back on track when things seem to go astray.
Before you begin your next work week, come up with a schedule that works for you and your family and do your best to follow it. Make changes each week (or day) as necessary to set yourself up for long-term success.
2. Be upfront with your family and colleagues.
Remember, as kids, we were always told that honesty is the best policy? Well, we are here to say it again.
If you’ve just had a baby and are adjusting to a new at-home schedule, or your children are on school break, changes in your day-to-day routine happen– it’s part of life.
Be upfront with your family and colleagues about your current work-from-home situation and adjust your schedule and daily routines accordingly to meet work and home needs.
3. Create a separate workspace for optimal focus and productivity.
Separation is essential when it comes to living and work spaces. So no matter what your home may look like, find a spot you designate as your workspace.
Although you don’t have to work from the same room or area 24/7, it is important to have a space you can go to when you need your time away from everyone else, especially if you have meetings or a tight deadline to hit.
Start each workday by arriving at your dedicated space to create a daily routine for yourself. Then, work with your spouse or family to set rules about your workspace so that you can have uninterrupted time when needed without continually reiterating your plans.
4. Schedule meetings wisely.
Do you remember that news anchor that was interrupted by their toddler storming into the room in the background of their live Zoom call? If that doesn’t describe WFH parenting at its realest, we don’t know what does.
If we are being honest, every parent will probably experience the “mommy, can I have a snack?” moment right after they turn the mic on during a conference call to speak. Don’t let those small moments of unplanned interruptions stop you from showing up as your best self during a call.
Come up with a code word or plan to let your child know that you cannot be disturbed during the call just in case they walk in the room while you’re elbows-deep in spreadsheets on a screen share.
If you have younger children, consider putting on their favorite show or planning meetings during their regular nap hours to avoid interruptions. If you can, designate another person, like a parent or relative, to watch your child during call times to mitigate the risk of interruptions.
5. Lunch together.
While we stress the importance of separation in your home and work life, it doesn’t mean that your entire day needs to be lived entirely apart. For most parents, that’s virtually impossible, especially if you have young children or babies at home.
A great way to create a positive work-life balance and show your kids that you want them to participate in your day is to have lunch with them when they’re home. A short 20 to 30 minutes together enjoying a meal can make a world of difference for everyone.
If you have a little bit of extra time on your hands, consider taking your lunch outside to your favorite park or even your backyard and enjoy an impromptu picnic.
Bonus: Fresh air does everyone good, especially in the middle of a busy work day.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
We all want to be our own heroes, right? Asking for help, no matter how old we are or what we need help with, can feel impossible, but it’s worth it.
If your partner works from home, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Take turns with the kids throughout the day so you both have a balance in your schedule.
If you’re in it solo, consider asking family members, close friends, or even a professional sitter to step in a few hours a day (or week) to provide some relief when you need it most.
Asking for help is the best way to help yourself.
7. Celebrate and focus on the positives.
While a WFH job can feel overwhelming for those with young children at home, there are actually a lot of benefits to it. Most families enjoy more time together each day which leads to tighter bonds and greater memory-making.
When you’re having a hard day, try your best to find and focus on the positives– it will make a world of difference in your viewpoint and attitude about working from home and raising a family.
If you’re having trouble finding a positive, here’s an affirmation to get you started: “I am a successful multi-tasking parent who does my best to create impactful work and raise a happy, healthy family, and I am doing a great job.”
Eco-Friendly Benefits of Working From Home
While working from home isn’t for everyone, we encourage you to at least try it out if you have the chance to do it.
Outside of it allowing you to spend more time in your own space and avoid the late evening commute, it has positive benefits for our planet, and you know how much we love Mother Earth.
Some of the most eco-friendly benefits of working from home are:
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
- Deceased fossil fuel and power consumption
- Increased air quality
- A reduced carbon footprint
- Less need for further commercialization to expand office space
- A reduction in wasteful office supply usage and production
Aside from the direct benefits to the environment, another huge eco-friendly bonus of working from home is the ability to work from anywhere. Yes, even a bungalow in Bali or a log cabin at the top of your favorite ski slope.
You have the power and choice to choose your location, travel on your terms, and visit all that Mother Nature has to offer. We are here to enjoy and celebrate the Earth, and we can do so through nomadic work and parenting in many work-from-home jobs.
As parents who live it, there may be no better way to lean into eco-friendly habits than by exploring and enjoying the world around us in a conscious and purposeful way.
We promise that time spent in nature will lead to more awareness about our impact on the environment. So, from work and play to parenting and traveling, all of our choices should be eco-conscious, products included.
More than anything, we hope our advice helps make your days ahead brighter and easier to navigate as a WFH parent. Remember, you’re not just working from home; you’re raising the future and saving the planet while doing it– that’s epic if you ask us.
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