9 Ways to Stay Productive Working from Home During the School Holidays
After the endurance of lockdown and the challenge of home schooling, parents should be au-fait with working from home with a child in tow. However, now the summer holidays are upon us, it has rekindled the age-old question ‘can you work from home with a child and still be productive?’
If the latest working from home productivity statistics are anything to go by, the short answer is yes. Research from the Office of National Statistics suggests that home working has a multitude of benefits, particularly offering flexibility to parents. In fact, 78% of home workers admitted that the option to do so improves their work-life balance, whilst businesses believe it can help with overall productivity too.
Good news then… well not quite. Because while working from home jobs help with childcare and spending time with the little ones, it also presents itself with a number of complexities: how to balance your time between work and the kids, when to switch off, and how to conduct a Zoom meeting with Peppa Pig blazing in the background!
Whether you’re a full time pro, or a hybrid working from home parent, here are ten tips to keep productivity on track during the summer holidays.
1 - Set realistic expectations
Be kind to yourself from the get-go. Working families know all too well the strain of juggling work with childcare - make no mistake that home working during the holidays is all of this and more. The best way to manage your time is to manage expectations. Prioritise the important tasks and allow yourself enough time for interruptions and breaks. It’s simply impossible to be sat at a desk from nine-to-five with children in the house, so your daily routine is likely to be interrupted, accept this and you’ll be more efficient with your time.
2 - Monitor screen time
While you’re busy beavering away, the little ones will need to be entertained, and let’s be honest TV, tablets, and smartphones are a staple for working families. But this means a certain relaxation of the rules. As such, you may want to review screen time allowance for a little while at least. Here are some helpful guidelines, if you’re looking for suitable benchmarks.
3 - Stay organised
Productivity and organisation go hand-in-hand. In fact, the National Association of Productivity and Organisation found that a staggering 91% of workers are more efficient and effective with an organised workspace. So, even if you’re working from a kitchen desk or tiny bedroom, there are many handy and affordable solutions available. One of our favourites is this wooden monitor stand that doubles up as a drawer unit for storing paperwork away. It’s a genius working from home hack.
4 – Plan your time at the start of each day
Time management is key to surviving the holidays. Start your day as early as you can (better still if the kids are in bed), and jot down a list of what you want to achieve that day, and week. Having a list of goals will make you more focused and likely to achieve success. Tick off your list as you go along, the sense of achievement only adds to your overall motivation and productivity.
5 - Keep your pens separate to theirs
One of the many frustrations with working from home jobs in the holidays, is that your stationery constantly goes missing. Have you noticed that your pens, paper and notepads quickly find a new owner in your child? The best way to avoid this is with your own desk tray organiser. You wouldn’t believe the minutes and hours you’ll save by having everything in one place.
6 – Set up a snack station
Even the fussiest eaters turn into ravenous snack fiends come the holidays. Do yourself a favour and set up a snack station in the house. Include water, healthy snacks, and the occasional treat, to keep hunger (and hangry children) at bay. This will save you from constant interruptions when you need to focus most.
7 – Find your sacred quiet spot
Calls and meetings – they’re unavoidable for the entire six (long) weeks of the summer period. Rather than bypass them, it’s time to embrace them in the new world order. By this, we mean finding a quiet spot, where you can operate for important calls. This might be your child’s bedroom, the outdoor shed, or even the loft (when needs must). However, make sure the children know it’s out of bounds and they should avoid visiting when meetings are in full flow.
8 – Working from home schedule template
Children respond well to routine and familiarity, which you can use to your advantage when working from home. Set up a daily routine, or create a schedule template that the whole family can understand and use. For instance, you might want to start every day with family breakfast followed by a walk or run (hint – tire them out!), returning home to work before lunch together, followed by an afternoon wellbeing activity. Whatever works for you is what works best.
9 – Delegate tasks
Finally, in order to stay productive during the summer holidays, delegation is key. By this we mean sharing the responsibility of childcare with your partner if applicable, and leaning on family members when you need to. But this also applies to the workplace too – delegate tasks to your team and agencies and lighten your load where you can. There’s no shame in admitting you can’t do it all – working families are what this country is built on after all.
For aesthetically soothing working from home equipment, check out blankspace.co.uk designed for working from home professionals.