There are lots of reason why working from home is the good option for mums – for one, you get to spend more time with the kids, and when they get older, being there when they come in from school. There’s also saving money on childcare costs and having a more flexible life.
But managing to do both a job outside the home and your job at home, can be difficult, so you need a plan – here’s our top tips.
1. Communicate clearly and set expectations. Everyone in the house needs to be on board with the WFH decision; this is important. It means that when people come home, the dishwasher may not be unpacked or that the towels are still on the bathroom floor from the morning dash. You need to be clear about this, you are working from home, and you will only be doing work-related jobs only.
2. Get ready the night before. Set your work clothes out the night before and you will be less likely to remain in your onesie.
3. Plan your day- Have a clear work schedule. Each house will be different. You will generally be able to tell what sections of the day have the potential to be more productive than others. Utilise nap/sleep times. Don't fall into the easy trap of taking your tea break when they are on a nap. It's so easy to do. It's almost like muscle memory when you hear the clock tick again, and silence falls on your home your first reactions is to flop. Naps may not always be easy to schedule or plan on, so making the most of each one will help with productivity.
4. Become a morning AND a night person. Get up as early as you can and sneak in some work time after baby goes to bed at night. It's not enough to be one or the other; you need to be both. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing fulltime or part time jobs from home being able to do both early and late is often required.
5. Separate Mom and business roles- set boundaries. This allows you to be fully present in both roles with fewer distractions; when it's downtime, down tools and be with your little one 100%. This will have a payoff in the long run. When kids feel like they have your full attention, they relax more and tend to entertain themselves more when your focus is on work.
6. Get used to distractions. Any parent will tell you that if you try to quieten little ones they only make more racket. Noise (and mess) will be part of the gig. Let kids be kids. Let them go at it with paint, sand, water, or whatever they fancy. It’s a trade-off, and it frees up quiet time.
7. Rotate toys to keep them new and exciting. We all know the expiry date of most new toys (about 20mins), so this is great to keep your little ones engaged. This can buy an extra 10–20 minutes of independent play time, so you get a few more things done!
6. Emergency’ drills- This won't always work but when they do it's great. There's nothing worse than being on an important work call, and you hear that shriek in the background. You panic, it's getting closer, your blood pressure rises, you forget your train of thought, you start to stumble, and you then have to explain that you're working from home today. It's fine, but not ideal. So to minimise this risk, run through a series of simulations to prepare your troops. Nothing is guaranteed, but it’s worth a shot. As an example, if the phone rings and mommy quietly steps into the office, do you run after her screaming or quietly have a seat and wait for her to finish the call? (Treat/ sticker each time this is done correctly)
8. Consider daycare- most creches offer part-time slots, and this frees up time for conference calls. You also get that break from the house popping out to collect them. Grab a coffee from your favourite cafe and enough the fresh air. e
9. Be realistic- Some days are going to be more productive than others. Be happy with the knowledge that it all works out as a mean average over your entire working week.
10. Go easy on yourself- Being a Mum is tough. Being a working Mum, whether at home or outside the home, brings on a whole new set of challenges. Balancing children and a full-fledged workload is beyond complicated, but it can be done. Be kind to yourself and pat yourself on the back every once in a while. Even if you have this mornings breakfast in your hair, a baby wipe up your sleeve and a nappy stuck to your jumper, you're still doing sterling work, so hang in there.