As a "work from home with my spouse" pro (we both have separate jobs that allow us to work remotely full time and have been doing this for 5+ years) - I've got some tips and tricks to help make things more manageable if you're stuck at home trying to work with no child care. Leave me a comment below with your thoughts or if you have any other suggestions!
The Night Before: Establish a game plan
- Coordinate schedules with your partner for the next day - try and break it down into hour blocks, determine who has meetings when, what can be rescheduled to another time or day, etc. From there - decide who will work during what timeframes, while the other is in charge of the kid(s)
- Try and schedule meetings during nap time if possible
- Respect each other's schedules and try to accommodate. Fighting over who's meeting is more important doesn't help anyone. Understand which meetings you can and cannot move, expect your partner to do the same, and work as a team
Day of: Work the plan
- First thing in the morning - write down your to do list for the day. What are the items that NEED to get done that day and are time sensitive? Identify how much time they'll take, and schedule them in the blocks that you've dedicated to working that day
- Stay off social media during your "work blocks" - since you're at home with your kid, you never know when the entire schedule is going to get disrupted by a short nap, illness, etc. It is important that you are efficient with your time
- If your spouse is also working from home - try and find areas that you can each go and work without disruption during naps. My husband and I share an office space with two desks, but it's rare we're both in there at the same time. During nap times when we're both working, I am usually at my kitchen table where there's better natural light, and he prefers working in our home office. Helps with distractions as well as not driving each other crazy :)
Self-Care and Boundaries
- Set timing boundaries based on your typical schedule. If you work from 8-5 - that shouldn't change once you start working from home. This is dependent on your specific job and expectations, but if you don't work 24/7 when you go into an office, there is no need to do that when you're working from home. On the other side of that, if you usually start at 8am, you need to do your best to be online at 8am at home. If this isn't possible because #kids - that's okay - but do the best you can. That way, there's no guilt after the day is done, and you can log off knowing you did the same amount and quality of work you would've done in the office
- Take time for yourself (if and when you can.) This may be unrealistic with no child care - but if you can, schedule yourself some time over lunch to eat away from your desk, or go on a walk, get a work out in, catch up on one of your shows, whatever "me" time is for you
- Perception is Reality / Manage your Manager - this is my #1 recommendation when moving into a remote working environment. I have always been a successful work from home employee because I overly communicate with my leader, I am always responsive to them during work hours, and they know what I'm focused on and doing. You need to control the perception of yourself to your leader and to your colleagues. To give you an example - you could be on the phone with a customer, and your boss pings you. After you get off the phone, you have to tend to your child, and you forget to respond when you start back up. Even though you are working and doing your best, your leader may start to wonder. Next, they're second guessing your work, their level of trust in you, etc. That's a road nobody wants to go down. Control the perception of yourself and overly communicate! This is essential when you have no childcare. Be open about the reality of your situation with your leader, and hopefully they will support you as best they can!
Hopefully these help! What are some of your ideas for working from home without childcare?