Working from home with a young family

Working from home with a young family

16th June, 2021

With more and more of us working from home, whether voluntarily or enforced, it’s really important that you have a good routine. If you get the balance right then WFH (Work from Home) can be the most rewarding experience, especially when you have kids. I have been WFH for over 3 years now and with 4 young boys all in primary school, here are a few tips of things that I do to get that work life balance right and still maintain high productivity.

Create a good working space – This was a labour of love in our house, I started out working from the Kitchen table, this really wasn’t conducive to getting things done. Every 2 minute someone would come in, usually saying they were hungry. Getting any momentum in this type of environment was difficult so we decided to convert a much underutilised dining room into an office. This turned out to be the best move ever as my wife has since changed jobs and we are both working from home now. Creating the office also gives your work boundaries, once you leave that room, you leave work. Get a good desk and plenty of plants, put up a picture and voila, no more ad hoc working and interruptions (OK so that last part is wishful thinking with young kids)

Have a good routine – When working in both public and private sector I always had a routine, when I became self-employed that routine became a little less structured. With a young family you can never fully have a set routine but when you know your schedule and you know when you are most productive you can break your day down onto segments and attack each one individually. For me I get most of my work done when the kids are at school so my working day is effectively from 9am – 2:30pm as once the boys come home its game over, homework and dinner take over. I will then work again in the evenings when the house is quiet and all the sport training is finished. This routine works well for me and my family but you may have different ideas, the key thing is to have that routine.

Take a break – Do not forget to take a break, one of the biggest advantages of working from home is the flexibility it affords you, take the dog for a walk, go for a run, go to the gym, grab lunch with a friend. It is very common for people to make the switch to WFH and work longer hours and take less breaks, don’t be that person. Look after your mental and physical health, try and socialise, even remotely with friends, if you are being productive then do not feel guilty for rewarding yourself. WFH is already a great money saver so treat yourself to that lunch or gym membership.

Log off – Working on ecommerce my situation is slightly more fluid as I may need to address work issues at unusual times but if you are in the private or public sector then please remember to log off. Choose your finish time each day and switch that computer off as close to that time as possible, leave that work space and forget about work, just because your work is under your roof now doesn’t mean you become a slave to it 24/7

Enjoy – Working from home doesn’t have to be daunting, even if you have kids, the perks of WFH are plentiful. Good for your mental and physical health, spending more quality time with your family, saving money, increased productivity. Remember to enjoy the experience, sure beats the commute and sitting in the office 9-5, nobody misses that.