Five tips for working from home when kids are out of school

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With the school year coming to an end, your kids are looking forward to a great summer with no homework and plenty of free time! However, if you’re working from home, whether by choice or due to Covid-19 changes, it can be challenging to be productive and professional while being a parent, too. The leadership team at Diamond & Diamond Lawyers has some tips to help you stay sane and productive during the busy summer months.

Trade-off with a neighbour or your spouse

If your spouse also works from home, or if you have a neighbour with children, consider making an arrangement to trade off babysitting so the other person can make phone calls, attend zoom meetings, or concentrate on a complicated project.

Work outside a 9 to 5

“Although some of my work requires me to be available for clients during business hours,” says Sandra Zisckind, “there are other tasks that I can do at any time of the day or night.” Instead of structuring your day like a typical 9-5 office day, consider having some “in office” times, and then working early in the morning, during the children’s nap-time, or later in the evening, when your spouse is home, instead.

Create a schedule

Having a schedule, both for yourself and your children is important. Making it visible to everyone, including TV time, snack and lunchtime, and different activities throughout the day can help keep children from feeling bored, or interrupting their work time asking for something to do, and gives them structure during the summer days.
Having the schedule also lets kids know when they’ll get one-on-one time with you, such as setting aside an hour in the afternoon to go to the park, or planning different outings throughout the week, giving them something to look forward to.

Set boundaries

There may be some times when you cannot have any interruptions, and making these times clear – such as if you’re on a headset or phone for a client meeting, or if you’re working on an assignment that needs your full concentration – is critical. Make sure that your children know when not to interrupt, and that your workspace is off-limits.
If you have older children, consider placing a sign-up indicating when you’re available and when you’re not, and let them know interruptions are only for emergencies.

Clearly communicate

Be sure to communicate with your boss and your work team that you’ll have your children in the house during the summer months. “After so many people working from home during Covid-19 quarantines,” notes Jeremy Diamond, “many people are much more understanding if a child or pet is in the background during a call or meeting.” But, communicate with your children, too. Explain that when you’re working, you need to keep professional decorum, and that includes not getting up every few minutes to attend to kids.

Working from home can be a challenge, says Isaac Zisckind, “But when you communicate well and manage expectations, you can be successful with a work-parenting balance.” Upfront communication with clients and your coworkers, plus making your expectations from your children clear can make working from home in the summertime work.

About Jeremy Diamond

Jeremy Diamond is a lawyer and member of both Ontario and Florida Bars. Jeremy practices in the area of Plaintiff personal injury litigation. Click here to learn more about Jeremy Diamond.