With many businesses offering flex work to their team members who have “work from anywhere” responsibilities, the home office space has replaced the traditional living room as a space that is desired for homebuyers and renters.
This arrangement, for those who know how to work independently, is convenient as it offers remote workers some level of scheduling flexibility and can save precious hours on commute times. In general, a happy employee tends to be a productive employee and for those who enjoy telecommuting gigs, this situation can be a major perk with their employer, and making the most of it is important.
So what happens when said remote worker has children and summer break is upon them?
Every family situation is different as are the job criteria for each person going at it in the home office. However, there are some general tips that can be helpful so that your domain, and your productivity is not interrupted.
Define the space. Make sure the kiddos know that when Mom or Dad is in the home office, or better yet, when the door is closed, that work is being done. Having that conversation is important so that the kids know that even when you are not working, the home office space should not a place for toys, activities, food and everything else that comes along with being a kid. Even if the space is not confined, the “area” should be defined and discussed.
Signals for interruptions. If something is needed, and there is no one to help, have the kiddos issue a signal to indicate you are needed and you can respond when it’s possible.
Preparation. Most needs revolve around snacks or activities. With a little planning, this can be arranged in advance of the work day so that the kids can help themselves to snacks and have something to do until help arrives or the work day finds a break.
Play dates. Kids are most occupied with other kids. Schedule play times with neighbors and friends, especially during peak work times.
Summer camps. There is no shortage of summer camps/activities offered in local communities these days. Be it sports, art, swimming, adventure or education related, it is likely that there something being offered that the kids will enjoy that Mom or Dad will be comfortable with.
Change it up. As a remote worker, sometimes it is nice to get out of the house and do some work in another location. The local coffee shop is always a “go to” spot for me, and oftentimes whatever activity the kids are involved with, the location will likely have a WiFi, so that you can plug away in peace while the kids are engaged in their activities. Just a change of scenery can often alter the mindset and spur creativity/productivity.
At the end of the day, it’s important to have an approach as the summer offers different sets of challenges for remote workers who have kids. With a little preparation, chaos can avoided and you can go back to being the productive contributor that you and your employer are asking for.