Wondering how this teleworking thing is going to work with young kids at home? For many, working from home is new and uncharted territory. Many working professionals might do a little work in the evenings, some might use the dining room table as a workstation, and others are used to donning pajamas and taking a quick peek at email from the comfort of their bed. But teleworking requires a mindset shift and a functional space to ensure you’re productive with the limited time you have available.
The space doesn’t matter, but finding a location that is physically and psychologically distinct for your work is key. Think about how to distinguish your workspace from “family fun” space. Is there a folding screen you can put up that creates a partition? Maybe your workspace is in the basement where the kids rarely play. Or an unused closet that can be converted into an office or desk space. Do you have a rolling cart that you can put your supplies in and move around? It’s time to get creative!
Set Up Your Home Office
- First, identify an appropriate workspace in your home that will help you get in the right frame of mind for work. Think about what your work needs might be: Do you need space to spread out materials? Need a spot to have a phone and computer easily available? Writing space? Room for files?
- Having high speed internet access is one of the most important things you’ll need to be successful. A slow connection will cause frustration and hamper productivity. Now might be the time to call your wireless service to increase your level of service. Cox, Comcast, and Spectrum are some of the providers who are taking the initiative to boost speeds and offer low-cost access options to support communities in this uncertain time. Call your provider to find out if there are any deals to be had.
- How will you be communicating with your colleagues? If you’ll be participating in meetings from home, it will be important to know how you’ll be communicating with your colleagues—do you need to see each other’s faces? Does your computer have a built-in camera and microphone? Will a phone call suffice?
- Work with your company’s tech team to ensure you have the tools you need to be successful. Do you need access to files from your office’s server? Remote access to documents and materials? Do you need to print or scan documents? How will you take phone calls?
- Set up your office so that it brings some joy! We aren’t sure how long this teleworking situation will last, so how can you create a space that brings a smile to your office during this stressful time? Add a bulletin board with inspiring images, set up your space near a window, set up your diffuser. In what ways can you decrease stress and increase productivity in your new office?
Set Up Your Older Child’s Remote Classroom
Now that you have your remote office up and running, it’s time to get your child’s space established. Depending on the age of your child, you may want to consider setting up an area where your child can do their remote school work.
- Use this opportunity to include your child in the planning and classroom design. Where do they work best? Do they feel productive in the space? Does your child need to be nearby and close to the working adults?
- What will they need? A comfy chair for reading, a tabletop for writing or math? A bulletin board for their schedule? Freshly sharpened pencils and a big eraser? Grab a basket and load it up with everything they need.
- One other thing to think about: If your child will be using a computer, laptop, or tablet, will you let them work in their room or would you rather that they be on the computer in a shared space where you can monitor their screen time?
Set Up Your Younger Child’s Play Space
Younger children can also be involved in their play space. Grab all of the pillows in the house and set up a pillow perimeter to keep the play in one area—who wants to be cleaning up the entire house after a day of play!? Designate this as their play area and add toys and materials that can keep them engaged.
- This is the time to find those toys you’ve stashed away—bring them out as a novelty and a way to keep the littles entertained a bit longer.
- Set up some dramatic play activities—pull out the kitchenette, or some boxes as stand-ins—and add some real food (cans of soup, fruit, veggies) to mix it up.
- Have your child grab all of their stuffed animals and set up a doctor’s clinic. They can check out each animal and keep them healthy.
- Bath time is a great way to bond with your child and keep them entertained! Get out the bubbles, all the toys, and lather them up.
- Children of all ages are able to help sort clean laundry! Really. Keeping the house in order is a key to balancing your telework with family life.
If you are looking for more ways to create a play space that will keep your child busy while you squeeze in some work, check out “How to Create a Play Space that Builds Your Preschooler’s Independence.”