Have you often thought that working from home in the company of your children would be so much better than commuting to work every day? In theory, this sounds ideal. In reality, however, running a business from a home full of kids is much harder than you think.
Kids have an uncanny ability to sense when the laptop lid opens. Just when you think they’re content and you can get some work done, they become needy, misbehaved humans who require every second of your attention. It’s frustrating, but there are ways to survive working from home with children. If your children are the apple of your eye and you’re thinking of working from home, the following is for you.
1. Set Up Dedicated “Office” Space
If you’re the only adult home, obviously, you can’t isolate yourself from your children. You can, however, dedicate a space to call your office. Choose somewhere that’s well-lit such as a spare room with a door.
Alternately, you should look into a virtual office service to give your business a professional address without needing an actual office.
2. Talk with Your Kids
If your children are older, sit them down and have a talk with them about what you’re planning to do. Let them know that you’ll need to stay focused in order to do your job throughout the day and that they will need to distract you as little as possible. Let them know they are part of a team whose job it is to make sure you stay as productive as possible while working from home.
3. Set Goals and Use Incentives
Older children respond well to this tip. Set goals for your kids’ behavior while you’re working, and if they meet those goals, make sure to reward them with something fun. Whether it’s supper at the local pizza joint, popcorn and a movie, or some other incentive, make sure you stick to it if they do as you ask. The upside here is that you get to spend quality time with your children when the workday is over.
4. Work Third Shift if You Have to
While not a permanent solution, if you find yourself running behind due to a particularly bad day at the home office, put your kids to bed and work late in order to catch up.
When you have kids, nothing is ever predictable, so on the rare occasion that they don’t cooperate, working into the night may be the only solution to meet your deadlines. Just try not to make a habit of it since sleep deprivation can have some nasty side effects.
5. Take Advantage of Offers to Help
If you have friends or family members who have offered to help take care of the kids, don’t be afraid to take them up on it, especially during the summer months when kids are home all day and tend to get bored easily.
Speak with some of your neighbors and see if they would like to start a summer care program where each parent hosts the kids on a certain day. This way, you know ahead of time when your kids will be gone so you can schedule your work accordingly, knowing it’ll be distraction-free on those days.
Working from home has its advantages if you have children, but it can also be difficult because you have children! Use the tips above to help you survive running a business from a home full of kids.