Telework and Your Family

October 20, 2011

Chapter 14 – Balancing Work Life and Home Life

At home, there is nobody to watch you work. This is one of the best parts about working remotely. The flexible working hours allow you to take breaks. They also let you distract yourself with other tasks that, while they may be important, prevent you from getting your work done.

The key to being productive when you work from home is separation. Set aside specific time to work and not work. Separate yourself physically by having a separate office space and closing the door. Separate yourself emotionally by setting specific times to work and using that time to get your work done.

Get Your Family On Board With Working At Home

If you live with your family, then you can’t work from home successfully without their support. Have a discussion with your family about exactly what you need and how you are all going to make it work. Ideally you would have this conversation before you start working remotely, but it can happen any time you are having trouble.

Working At Home With Small Children

If you have children who are too young for school then working from home can cause some very conflicting emotions. You probably started working from home because you wanted to spend more time with you family. Nobody wants to miss their kids growing up. However, you have to separate from your family enough to get your work done.

Physical separation Small children do not understand boundaries, schedules, or delayed gratification. The only way to coexist with a small child and get any work done is to physically separate yourself. Close the door. The door prevents your child from entering. It also prevents your child from seeing you. For most kids, once they see you it is all over.

Support You can’t care for your children and dependably get your work done at the same time. Get some support to help you with childcare. You will also want to make time to see your children. The steady stream of work can cause you to work longer hours than you expected. This results in no time with your children and frayed nerves for the primary caregiver.

Working from home as a single parent

Working from home and providing full-time childcare is just as impossible as working in the office and providing full-time childcare. If you are a single parent trying to work from home you need some support. Relatives, friends, or professionals; someone has to be helping you. Trying to watch a toddler while attending a meeting is untenable.

Working At Home With Older Children

When your children are a little older you can take advantage of their time in school to get your work done. Get your kids ready for school, work while they are in school, and then take a break when school ends. You can always finish up the work you have left over while they do their homework. As long as you have help this can be a fine arrangement.

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