“Work from home” was a foreign concept not too long ago, with classic 9-to-5s still being valued as the most lucrative and sustainable way to support a family. But global events have triggered a major shift in the job market and what was once a luxury became a necessity, and subsequently the new norm.
Parents majorly benefited from this change, taking advantage of more at-home time with their kids, and refocussing their lives on a family-centered approach. Many people made major career shifts into the online realm, whether out of necessity or for personal wellbeing. This comes with a whole slew of other things to consider in order to make a success of this new avenue.
Here are some great tips for parents who are taking on work from home for the first time.
Once you make the move to work from home, it is very likely that your pay structure will greatly change. Working for an online teaching company has become a very popular job for parents but being paid by the hour might not be something you are used to.
There are other freelancing jobs like copywriting, design, accounting, and marketing that follow the same payment structure where payment only occurs per project instead of monthly or fortnightly. Adjust your budget and income expectations accordingly. Create set income goals that you need to meet to stay afloat comfortably.
Create a Work Space
Working from home might seem like the ultimate luxury but it is crucial to create a designated workspace for yourself. Preferably far away from your bed or the TV to eliminate any temptations.
This will also give your kids some boundaries. Knowing when mommy or daddy is at the “desk” they are working and should not be bothered. It is hard to get out of work mode when you work from home so having a designated space will help you switch off once you leave your desk. It is a cardinal “work from home” sin to turn every surface into a makeshift office.
Have a Structured Routine
When kids were still going to school and parents were still rushing to the office, a routine was a non-negotiable. Now that life revolves around the home, it should be no different. Everyone should get up at the same time each morning, get dressed, and be ready for the day. Sleeping-in or lounging around the house should be saved for weekends and special occasions only.
Kids need the sense of security that a routine brings. Knowing what is next or giving them tasks to complete is just the kind of structure they need. It is also critical if you want to get any amount of work done. This doesn’t mean you should throw all flexibility out the window. Working from home does lend itself to some more downtime than an office job but try to use that time constructively.
Don’t Neglect your Health
Healthy eating has been a constant struggle with new work-from-homers. Stock up on plenty of healthy snacks and meals and try to remove temptations. Having the fridge and the pantry so close becomes dangerous!
You should also build an exercise routine into your daily schedule. This can be a fun family activity to get the kids involved with. Exercise can also be your time to reflect and find some quiet time so be clear on your boundaries for this.
It is important to be realistic about what working from home will mean. Your colleagues should also know what your situation is and that your outcomes could potentially be different than before. Scheduling meetings or meeting deadlines should be discussed and adjusted to a realistic level as you will now divide your time differently.
You shouldn’t pressure yourself to create the perfect work environment from the get-go and adjusting to this new way of life will have a learning curve. Set realistic goals for yourself with measurable targets to reach.
Be proactive to keep the kids busy
Don’t rely on schoolwork or digital entertainment to keep your kids occupied all the time. This is a time where you can get them involved in various ways of learning and exploring. You can get creative with tons of at-home activities that will propel your children’s progress.
They can make crafts, do experiments, get active, and explore various subjects all in the comfort of your home. This will take some effort on your part but the benefits far outweigh this.
Take a break
When you work from home you can quickly fall into an all-work-all-the-time mindset. When the office is so close, why would you ever switch off? It is important to take time to yourself away from the kids and work. Time to reconnect with yourself and be alone with your own thoughts.
Whether this means meditating, watching a movie, reading a book, or doing some gardening, make sure to get around to it! You can quickly feel burned out and smothered by the pressures of working from home and raising a family.
Working from home is an immense privilege that generations before have not been able to enjoy. Make the most of this time by truly making the most of the time with your children. Have fun with them and allow your relationship to flourish. Being able to truly enjoy your home and family is a celebration and a valuable gift.
Working from home isn’t necessarily the stress-free answer to all your problems, but it can be a glorious career move if you approach it correctly. In time, you will strike the perfect balance at home where you can optimize your work and family time and make the best of both. Just remember, there is no shame in struggling at first. It is a big change and everyone needs to find a way that works best for them. It is a trail-and-error process that will bring you immense joy down the line.
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