Six ways to stay productive when working at home with kids

Father and son reading together on sofa at home

With schools out across the globe, many working parents are now juggling work commitments with a full-on family life.

Whether you’ve got teeny toddlers or tetchy teens, it’s a tough challenge, but following these steps can help you to maintain your productivity while at home.

Make space

If you can, dedicate a workspace in your home, ideally somewhere you can shut the door. This will make it easier to create a boundary between your home and work. If a separate room isn’t an option, make a desk space wherever works best for you, whether it’s on your kitchen or coffee table. 

If you have young children, creating a mini desk stocked with arts and crafts supplies or setting up a play pen will give them reassurance that you’re nearby. 

Establish a routine

Structure gives adults and kids alike reassurance and is especially important when you’re trying to find a balance between work and home life. 

Your schedule doesn’t need to be strict but simply sticking to the same mealtimes, and ensuring you have enough time for exercise and play can help kids from becoming frustrated and parents feeling frazzled. Set small, realistic goals for each day to keep your family motivated and aim for a daily dose of fresh air where you can. 

Set boundaries 

If you have older children, establishing clear rules can help you get some much-needed focus time. Explain that a closed door means they must knock first and a “do not disturb sign” is a signal for when you’re really busy and they should slide a note under the door instead. Also, let them know that you’ll check on them when you’ve finished what you’re doing, but they need to wait for you first.

Make the most of nap time

Give yourself flexibility to work around naps and bedtimes. This quiet time can be useful for focusing on the tasks that require the most concentration. However, this time can also provide some time for self-care. Although it can be tempting to jump straight back into work or catch up on chores as soon as the kids are asleep, not giving yourself time to breathe will result in high stress levels and low productivity.  

Be realistic about what’s possible

Being honest with yourself, your manager and your colleagues about what is going on will help you manage expectations and lower your anxiety. 

Once you’ve established a schedule that works, don’t be afraid to discuss it with your manager so you can find a way that works for you both. 

Ditch your guilt 

There’s never been a more important time to stay positive. So, enjoy your time with your family. In these unprecedented and uncertain times, some days will undoubtedly be more productive than others, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Keep iterating until you find the balance that works for you.  

Download our Ultimate Guide to Working From Home for more tips, tricks and must-have tech.