Today, more people than ever before are being presented with the option of working from home on a part-time, or sometimes full-time, basis. While this can be an amazing opportunity, it’s not without its own set of challenges. We reached out to one of our team members Sheyla Scaffo our Executive Business Administrator/People Experience Associate, to get some tips on this topic. She told us: “My husband and I both work at home, and we often have our child there, which can sometimes become stressful and overwhelming. However, it can also be a wonderful and surprisingly productive work arrangement.”
And now, we want to share with you five tips for working from home while also being a full-time parent.
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1. Set a work schedule and stick to it
Sheyla told us, she schedules her most important tasks to be completed first thing in the morning. This ensures that her critical tasks get done. Setting a schedule makes it clear to her family that it’s her time, that she is getting work done. This means “mom” is not available to find socks, make snacks, or help with homework. She finds that when we clearly let our family know our work schedule, we can get more work done in a shorter, more focused amount of time.
Sheyla also told us, “I try to remember that when this focused time is over, I’m free to focus on family. If they know that once my work is finished, I will be free to be with them, they’re less likely to interrupt the time that I’ve blocked out for work.” You have to make sure that during family time you can put away your phone and laptop so that you aren’t distracted by emails or texts during the time you’ve set aside for family. I know it can be hard to unplug, but it’s important for all of us!
2. Take time to be with your family
Working from home, it can easily become work time ALL the time with no breaks: don’t fall into that trap! Sheyla tries to take full advantage of working from home, finding opportunities to be grateful for the extra time with her little one. She uses her breaks from work to do fun activities. Everyone has different interests, and there are many enjoyable things you can do. Bake a cake, play outside, build with blocks, play a board game, or make homemade cards to send to distant family. These are just a few of the things we can do to spend time and build relationships with our family.
Sheyla told us she doesn’t want to lose sight of how much she has that really matters. For her, it’s a gift to have so much time with her family that she might not have if she wasn’t working from home. She chose to look at the bright side and be grateful each day for this quality time she gets to spend with her little one (maybe yours are not so little)!
3. If you need help, ask for it!
When Chammy (Sheyla’s little one) was a little baby and her husband went to work, her sister, who also works remotely came to her house to help out. It was amazing for her, and she will forever be grateful to her sister! There’s no shame in asking for help. There will be days when you just can’t do it all. Creating a support group around of family and friends can help you get through any difficult times. Her support group includes neighbors, aunts, grandma, and a babysitter.
Needing a break or a little help from others is perfectly normal!
4. Clearly communicate with your supervisor or boss
We know that sometimes when working from home, communication with coworkers can suffer. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that others can’t read your mind! If Sheyla needs a day off because her child is sick or can’t go to daycare, it’s not her supervisor’s job to figure that out. She understands that she needs to communicate. If she doesn’t say anything, they may start to think she’s not working, or that she has lost interest. She has to balance being a mom and a full-time employee, so communication with both her family and her employer is key to success in both areas.
5. Don’t forget to just have fun
We know this sounds simple, but it can be harder than it sounds. For Sheyla, her physical health and her family’s health is very important to her, but so is her mental health! Taking breaks to just be together and have some fun will keep you more productive and less stressed in the long run. Life will change, so don’t forget to enjoy your time of working remotely and being around those precious (driving you crazy sometimes) little bundles of joy.