More parents are choosing to work from home these days which is great news, because kids have more access to them. However, working from home while raising a family can present challenges that are difficult to handle such as:
• Setting limits
• Being Interrupted
• Balancing Work
• Balancing Family Life
Here are six tips to help you set limits, boundaries and turn working from home into fun for the whole family:
Make a schedule and stick to it.
Whether you work days, afternoons or evenings, let your family know your hours. You might hang your schedule in the kitchen or on the door to your office. If you must work while your children are home (after school or during a Holiday break) arrange for a school-aged babysitter to come over to play with the kids a couple of times a week.
At the end of your workday, turn off your computer, clean your desk and make a to-do list for tomorrow.
Do not answer your work phone or emails after you have closed shop. If you were at the office, you wouldn’t know about these messages until 9:00AM the following morning. These small steps help you to walk away and enjoy time with your family.
If your office also doubles as family space, create boundaries for your papers and files.
If the kids are going to use your “work” computer for homework and surfing, teach them to create folders so everyone’s documents have a place to be stored. Give the kids clear instructions about what is acceptable to download. This will eliminate you nagging the kids to get off the computer and you can have more pleasant interactions with your family.
Install a separate phone line dedicated solely to your business.
This will keep unwanted interruptions from happening and a clear line of communication open for you and your business. Back to the computer; if you can afford to, have another computer for the family.
Enlist your school age children to help with office tasks.
Find things they can handle, such as stamping envelopes, creating a data base or shredding unwanted documents. If you compensate the kids (with either a reward such as time with you or payment) they will want to pitch in. You will also be teaching them how important your work is to all your lives.
If possible, create other work spaces in your office.
These can be places where your children can do homework and projects while you catch up on your own work. This allows you to spend time with your children while working.
You have made the choice to work from home and your children are fortunate to have you around. Make your time with your kids fun and look for new and creative ways to allow the kids to participate in your business, thereby increasing time they are spending with you.
Susan Epstein, LCSW, Parent Coach
Member Southeastern Connecticut Women’s NETWORK