How to Make Remote Work Possible With a Baby or Toddler at Home
Over the last year, more and more people have had to transition to learning how to work remotely. Even as COVID-19 cases have been reduced, the odds are good that many parents are working out of a home office for the time being. Although remote work limits your risk of spreading the coronavirus, it’s also a major productivity challenge all on its own. Add a very little one to the mix, and things can get hectic, fast.
However, there are ways you can keep your cool, stay productive, eliminate household stress, and manage your household all at once. Wendi’s Tips shares some of the best techniques working parents can use to get through the next few months with their sanity intact.
Dress for Comfort
When you’re taking care of a little one, you’re on the go a lot. Parents of young children spend a lot of time kneeling down, playing on the ground, and chasing after budding crawlers and walkers. If you don’t have access to child care, this is still going to be true while you’re working remotely. The fact that you’re also going to be juggling work is only more reason to focus on wearing comfy clothes.
Now, we’re not saying you should stay in your pajamas all day — that’s not the world’s best look on video calls. However, split the difference with comfortable, fashionable items. You can get yourself a whole cozy remote work wardrobe without spending too much if you keep your eye out for sales at shops like Dillards. This can be an especially good move for new moms — elastic waistbands are your friend for those first few months.
Get Help If Possible
Depending on your situation, you may be able to ask a local friend or family member to bubble up with you and be a dedicated babysitter. Your parents, siblings, or close friends might be willing and able to take this on for you. Have a clear open conversation about what level of quarantine and self-isolation everyone wants out of the bubble. It’s important to be on the same page in order to make sure no one inadvertently crosses a line.
However, we understand that this won’t be feasible for everyone. If you can’t find anyone who can bubble with you, you might still be able to get a little bit of babysitting out of interested loved ones. For example, you can look into setting a friend up as your virtual babysitter. This works by setting your child up with a video chat with the friend or family member in question. It’s not a perfect solution — you definitely still need to be in the room so you can keep your little one safe — but they can hold your child’s attention while you knock out a task or two. Remember, video chats are thought to be a healthy, productive form of screen time!
Ask for Flexibility
At the end of the day, your best bet over the next few months might be asking for flexibility at work. For example, you might ask if, apart from meetings, you can work during non-traditional work hours. If you have a partner who also works from home, see if you can organize it so one of you works earlier than the traditional 9–5 and the other, later. This will give both of you more time to dedicate your full attention to your child or your work, rather than try to split it between both.
Enhance Your Career Prospects
Now that you’re working remotely, have you considered giving your career a boost? Online degree programs allow you to complete your coursework from home and work at a pace that you can adapt to your family obligations. There are all sorts of online programs available, including those with degrees for business, teaching, nursing, and accounting.
These aren’t the only options, so go into the conversation with an open mind and a few ideas for what might work. You and your supervisor can collaborate to come up with a solution that works for your family and your team. Remember — this is all temporary. Come up with a plan for the next few months, and try to take things one day at a time. Soon, this will all be behind you.
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