10 tips to telework effectively with children
For parents with young children, teleworking can be especially challenging because the children rely on adults for so many of their needs.
With little colleagues at home demanding around-the-clock attention, how can you get your work done? Here are our top 10 tips on how to effectively telework with children.
1. Define your workspace at home
Just like in the office, you must have a space in your home that's conducive to productive work. If you live in a sizable space, transform one of the rooms into your own office. If this is not possible, claim the dining room and transform the living room and/or bedrooms into a playroom for children; or vice versa.
You will also need to identify a room in your house where you can take phone calls. However, if you can't hide yourself away in a room, give your colleagues a heads-up that you have children around you. Speak with your children ahead of time and explain that they shouldn't disturb you.
2. Enjoy the mornings
One of the great advantages of teleworking is that you no longer have to travel back and forth between your home and your workplace. Encourage your children to sleep a little longer. This will give you more time for yourself in the morning: no traffic jams or stress to prepare the children. Take advantage of this time to start working. This way you can stop earlier in the evening, which will give you more family time.
3. Keep them entertained
Use technology to your advantage. There are free game-based learning platforms like Kahoot, where you can create quizzes in any subject, in any language, on any device, for all ages.
Don’t be afraid to use old-school activities as well. Give them puzzles and scrapbooks. These activities are interesting for the little ones, and the best part is they’re time-consuming.
4. Set up a daily routine
Keeping children busy while you work is not easy, especially if you’re working for a long period of time. This is why setting up a routine is useful. As at school, divide the day into workshops with a specific activity. Do not hesitate to codify this by creating a calendar where your children can directly write or tick checkboxes.
For example, you can schedule an hour of homework during which a certain number of exercises must be done, followed by an hour of manual work or drawings, then an hour of free time during which the children can go work out in the garden. This allows them to be occupied while keeping a rhythm similar to that of school.
On your side, put in place a certain structure for your workday. Rank your tasks in order of importance and make sure that you can do the most difficult tasks at the calmest time, for example early in the morning. Children will be able to adapt more quickly to this new situation and your pace of working.
5. Set goals for your children
Even if they are not in school, decide what exercises your children should do and how long it will take them to complete them. As soon as you are finished working, you can take a little time to review the exercises together. Thus, they learn to organise themselves during the day.
To make them responsible, through small tasks you can involve them in the management of the house. Depending on their ages they can, for example, empty the dishwasher and tidy up their room.
6. Shop for a few days and cook in advance
To save time, you can do your shopping once or twice a week and prepare several meals in advance, especially at the weekends. You will then have more time to spend with your family during the week.
7. Enjoy the naps
If your child is still napping, take the opportunity to refocus and do as many tasks as possible. This will allow you to reduce your stress, be able to take care of your children and play with them later in the day.
8. Choose the best time for your remote meetings
If you are in virtual contact with colleagues, make sure to schedule these meetings at a quiet time of the day so as not to be interrupted too much. For instance, in the early morning, when the children are still sleeping, while they nap or during a calm activity planned in advanced.
9. Divide and conquer
If you have a partner who also works from home, it may be practical to alternate occupying the children for a while. While one parent is concentrating on their work, the other can then play with them. In this way, the children do not feel neglected and you can both work quietly in turn.
10. Find a balance between your private life and your professional life
Finally, it is important to ensure that your work-life balance is maintained. Once your workday is over, shut down your computer and enjoy the evening. Plan fun activities where all family members can participate, such as a board game evening.