9 tips for working from home mothers during the coronavirus crisis

From increasing screen time to sharing home responsibilities with spouse, here’s how working from home mothers can balance the demands of work life and home life during coronavirus lockdown.
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If you are one of the millions of mothers who have traded office workstations for home offices due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you are probably finding it challenging to navigate the changes to your daily routine and workflow.

Working from home has its benefits: you save on your daily commute, you get more flexibility to take care of your kids and to do certain tasks around the house, but it also offers its own set of challenges.

Minimising distractions, taking care of children who are now at home all day, managing your supervisor and employers’ expectations, and creating a wall between workspace and living space are all challenges that people across the world are facing during the coronavirus pandemic.

While this new reality is overwhelming, especially for working mothers, but remember: You’re far from alone. There are so many moms trying to balance work with child care. So, we have rounded up tips you can use to make working from home with kids a bit less challenging for you.

1. Be clear about expectations

Proactively communicate with your boss or your employer that you have children at home and that you cannot guarantee work calls will be interruption-free. Talk to your children as well. Let them know that although it may seem like a weekend or a vacation since everybody is home, it is a highly unusual circumstance that demands you to work from home.

2. Arrange activities that require minimal supervision

Depending on your work schedule and the age of your child, arrange for different activities such as games, puzzles, activity boxes, etc., that require minimal adult supervision.

You can even allow them to use some trustworthy apps and watch their favourite shows to keep them busy. Have backup activities planned when these activities fail to keep them engaged. For older children, help them catch up on missed classes and keep them busy with online quizzes and online classes. 

3. Prioritise your tasks

Plan the most engaging activities for your child, which they can do on their own during the time of the day when you need to be most productive. 

4. Plan your meals the night before

When you are home, and when you have your entire family at home, it’s tempting to prepare nice meals for everybody. Don’t use your precious day time to make food from scratch. Plan your meals and do the prep work like cutting and chopping the night before. This helps in ensuring you’re not using your productive day time in performing non-work tasks that require a lot of your energy, which can be better used at your desk.

5. Share your home responsibilities

You can consider sharing your house responsibilities with your spouse, and take shifts in watching the kids.

For instance, you can take care of the house and the kids’ responsibilities in the morning while your spouse works, and vice versa. This ensures few hours you can dedicate purely to work.

6. Create a workplace

Try to find a space in your house that has a door which can be closed. Creating physical boundaries is important while working at home to help reinforce the message that you need to work and wouldn’t want to be disturbed. 

7. Take small breaks

Remember, children’s attention span is short. So, you need to break up your day’s work into smaller tasks to ensure you give your children the attention they need. This may also mean that you may have to continue working after they have gone to bed or wake up early morning for uninterrupted work hours. 

8. Reward good behaviour 

Working from home with kids underfoot, in an emergency situation like this, requires you to maintain harmony, however possible. This may include setting up a reward system for your children when they listen, display good behaviour, and follow instructions. 

9. Increase their screen time temporarily

Limiting screen time is usually a necessity under normal conditions. But in a situation like this, when kids are at home with nowhere to go, it is worth considering adding to their daily screen time to buy more work time for you. But let them know that it is a temporary adjustment. 

Edited by Megha Reddy

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)