In today’s mobile society – more and more families are taking advantage of one parent (or both!) being able to work from home. The home office is a popular item on the wish list of homebuyers, and when they mean office, they mean a full-fledged office. But can you really get work done at home with small children? Is working from home really something that works? I say that it can be, if you set up guidelines and enforce them.
-Set office hours and stick to them. That way, you can discipline yourself to work during those times. This might be while kids are at preschool or school, or while a baby or toddler is napping.
-Set goals for your work time so that you have specific things you want to get accomplished.
-Hire a baby sitter one day a week so that you can work a whole day to either catch up or get ahead; especially if you have multiple children. Life with kids is unpredictable, and you may find this extra help is an expense you are willing to take on.
-Leave the office in the office. Don’t try to make work calls while watching a movie with the kids or sitting at soccer practice. Don’t stuff treat bags for the class party while trying to read reports or make business calls. We’re all guilty of trying to multi-task, but do try to be fully present, both at work and at home.
-Lastly, find out what your employer’s expectations are of you since you are working from home. Will they be more flexible on deadlines or on the workload? Will you need to come in to the traditional office on occasion? An open dialogue with your employer is key to making this work.
Working from home can give you the best of both worlds; earning an income and still getting to be at home with your kids. It’s a win-win for everyone as long as you know your expectations and limits, and ensure that you work within those boundaries.