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Best Productivity Practices: Working From Home With a Child



The recent cases of COVID-19 in certain areas of the United States are causing more and more companies to instill mandatory work-from-home policies.  For example, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are encouraging their Seattle employees to work from home to stop the outbreak from spreading.

While working from home may seem like a dream (and great for employee wellness), it can be difficult for working parents to concentrate on work while caring for their child.  During mandated work-from-home periods, parents may not have access to high-quality childcare.  With that in mind, here are the best practices for productivity while working at home with a child:

Talk to your kids about what you need

Children need structure.  Whether your needs include quiet when mom or dad is on the phone or for them to knock on the door in case of emergency, take the time to explain what you need to them.  If your kids are old enough to understand the rules, it can pay off to go through practice runs to make sure they can follow it.  And don’t hold back from rewarding good behavior; an extra 30 minutes of screen time can be a great incentive to behave.

Work when they’re sleeping

Working while your kids are sleeping isn’t just a productivity tip for parents of newborns; this can work for all parents.  If part or all of your work can be done after bedtime rolls around at 7 pm, then you can use those hours to do your work uninterrupted.  Or, if you’ve got naptime scheduled at 1 pm, then this is the perfect time to complete your work without distraction.

Take breaks to be with them

When working in an office, you get coffee breaks or a lunch break to give yourself relief from the working day.  Don’t be afraid to schedule yourself breaks to play with your kids throughout the day.  If you can tell them that playtime will be in an hour once you’ve gotten some work done, that makes interruptions less likely while allowing you to spend some time with them guilt-free.

Get in-house childcare

If you need specific uninterrupted work time, it may help to hire in-house childcare for a few hours. Parents are getting childcare with Helpr from as low as $1-6 per hour. This gives you a certain part of the day to schedule work meetings or phone calls that need to be distraction-free.  The current childcare crisis makes it difficult for many working parents to afford to hire in-house childcare.  However, trading childcare tasks with other parents working from home in your neighborhood is a possibility to look into.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 23% of workers spent some time working at home in 2017.  This number will only keep growing as more workers become freelance and as health concerns from COVID-19 continue.  With these productivity practices in mind, working parents will be better equipped to handle working from home while caring for their children.

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