Are Your Kids on Summer Break? How to Manage Working from Home

Maura Mann, Vice President
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Organization as a project manager

Due to COVID-19 and the need to reduce the spread of the disease, odds are you’re working from home right now. If you have kids, they’re most likely at home on summer break. This means you have to juggle conference calls, emails, and tight deadlines while fulfilling your family’s personal needs. Because nobody knows how long COVID-19 will keep you away from the office, or when in-person school may resume, you need a way to navigate personal and professional responsibilities so that you can excel at each.    

Here are some tips for working from home while your kids are on break from school.    

Set a Schedule  

Plan your work hours the night before. Include the time you’ll return calls, respond to emails, and work on projects. This may involve getting up well before your kids do, so you have uninterrupted time to focus on your most important tasks. If your kids take naps, this is an excellent time to complete work that requires your complete focus and concentration. Be sure to remain as flexible as possible throughout the day. If your kids start fussing during your work time, take them outside and finish your work later. If they aren’t tired during nap time, provide some books, and close the door to get some work done. If your kids wake up and begin crying while you’re on a work call, hit the mute button on your phone and allow time for self-soothing.   

Create a Work Zone  

Set up an area dedicated only to work. This helps you separate from the rest of your home. Provide a nonverbal signal not to disturb you during office hours. This may include wearing a tiara when you’re on the phone to show you’re not to be interrupted unless it’s an emergency. If you have an office door and your kids are older, tie a ribbon on the doorknob when your kids shouldn’t enter. Put your conference calls on speaker so your kids can hear you’re talking with someone and need quiet time.   

Provide Entertainment  

Make sure your kids have plenty of activities to do while you work. This may include fun toys, outside time, or special movie viewings. You could prepare activity stations with beads, string, macaroni, glue, paper, playdough, rolling pins, cookie cutters, coloring books, and crayons. Having something for your kids to look forward to lessens the odds that they’ll interrupt you while you’re working.  

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