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Top Tips for Parents Working from Home

To all the parents out there,

Before I start writing this, I just want to say (disclaimer!) I’m not going to pretend I’ve got this all figured out – I absolutely don’t! I mean, none of us have been in a situation like this before and I would imagine we are all just making it up as we go along.

At present, with an even more challenging workload, a significant shift in our home routines and a need to offer more emotional presence to our family members at this time, we may be left feeling pulled in every which direction possible, but we can’t be everything, to everyone, all the time.

Something must give somewhere. We must remember to look after ourselves amid the chaos. Here are a few things for us to consider…

For the grownups:

  • Organising a rota with your partner (if you have one) for who is working and when. Review if the new setup isn’t working, then sit down and reassess.
  • Naptime (if you have unicorn children!) – a time you / both parents can overlap an hour or two working with no children to see to or take your lunch break in peace!
  • Discuss your plans with your line manager and I am sure you will be able to come up with something that can be accommodated.
  • Communicate – get support from your manager, continue to have these discussions and with your colleagues so they understand how we are working currently.
  • If you are a manager, you will find yourself with a unique opportunity to positively role-model working flexibly and appropriately.
  • Reallocating household jobs between you and any other members of your home – it works to get everyone to pitch in!
  • Ground rules for home working – e.g. don’t just bring your cups downstairs and dump them on the side (don’t even get me started!)
  • Scheduling in taking a break – yes, you still need to have some ‘you time’. Even just one hour a week each to go for some solo exercise or take a long hot bath!
  • Use your 10 minutes of mindfulness daily.
  • Setting up a dedicated workspace.
  • You will establish a new daily rhythm, and this makes us a feel a little safer when dealing with so much that is out of our control.
  • Don’t be chained to your desk, get up and move around – take phone calls walking around with headphones on or work in the garden for an hour to get some fresh air.
  • Don’t forget to utilise your annual leave, domestic leave and TOIL.

For the children:

  • Plan a few activities ahead of time now so they can be pulled out when needed.
  • Outdoor time if you have a garden.
  • A sling if you have a baby / toddler who is happy to be in one!
  • Toy rotating – life saver!
  • Screen time – Do what’s right for you and your family.
  • Boredom is OK! It is often when our children are forced to be creative and develop their imaginations!
  • You don’t need to replicate a full school schedule – now is a great time for learning some life skills too.

Above all, lower your expectations for a little while. Look after yourself and those close to you. Keep doing the best you can at your job. We are all here for you – just reach out!

Tess 😊

P.S. Anyone fancy a (virtual) working parents coffee morning to share any other tips and support each other?

Tess Owen is the Manager of our Batley Services. You can reach her at tess.owen@commlinks.co.uk with any comments about this blog post.