According to a recent study, two-thirds of companies now have full-time employees who work remotely. The rise of the remote working trend has allowed women to truly manage their work and home life better, without having to choose between the two. Being physically present for your child has scientifically shown to have positive impacts on children – be it for their intellectual and psychological development. A recent study found that children’s emotional health was higher when parents believed that family should come first, regardless of the amount of time they spent working. In conclusion, children were better off when parents were able to be physically available to them.
Hence, it is about time that women should be given the opportunity to be there for their children without sacrificing their careers. Properly managing a family and excelling at your career was only recently something seen as mutually exclusive. But now, with the option of remote working and if you can manage your time wisely by setting your priorities right, a balance of both is now possible.
Here is a list of tips for all the women who have boldly decided to work from home to balance their role as the carrier of the household and their career.
- Plan your time carefully
Being at home means that you are free from distracting colleagues and ad hoc tasks that were passed to you because you happened to be sitting nearby! But once you start working at home, you are also expected to take on more household responsibilities. The most common complaint by many women working from home is that they felt that they took their job for granted. Everyone assumes that since you are home, you have more time to run errands. A working mother shared about how her husband asks her to run the laundry, and at times her son calls her to rush to school for some unplanned event. Keeping up with the extra demands and delivering quality work for your job may become an insurmountable task. Hence, it is crucial to communicate with your family that though you are physically present at home, you are still committed to a full-time job and cannot be at their beck and call. To efficiently achieve this feat, plan your day in advance and categorize all your tasks by priority. By being meticulous, you can maximize your time and properly balance all your daily errands such as cooking, grocery shopping or dropping off kids to school, etc.
- Set up a designated office space
Having a distraction-free environment is crucial for focus and increased productivity. When you start working at home, you may find yourself moving your office around multiple spots of the house every time something comes up. To prevent that, create a designated office space. It does not necessarily have to be an entire room, even a corner of a room would suffice to get yourself in “the zone.” Buy a desk with drawers to keep your gadgets and stationery. Also, you will avoid problems such as I forgot my glasses at home. Buying an ergonomic chair is also encouraged so that you can comfortably sit down for long hours. Have a water bottle or a pitcher close by to avoid moving around too much, unless of course, you need the stretch! Complete the office with a “work in progress” sign to hang on your door to inform your family members that you do not wish to be disturbed.
- Say ‘No’ to events or guests during work hours
It can be so tempting to sneak out of the house for a “quick” high-tea session with your girlfriends, or a quick spa session. But remember, work is still a priority, and urgent tasks may pop up anytime. The company is still paying you for your time and effort, even though you are working from home. Family and friends are still important but not at the expense of your work during working hours. It is a privilege to be able to work from home, and we should not misplace that trust that you would complete your work to the best of your ability even without strict surveillance. Stay committed to your home office unless it is truly an emergency. Align with your families and friends that your work is still important and that you would not mix your social life with your career despite being at home. Guests and events are strictly for after work hours or at the weekends.
- Don’t be afraid to seek help
Often, when your kids are toddlers or younger, it can be impossible to ignore them. There is little choice but to attend to their needs immediately. Thus, many mothers neglect their work to placate their crying baby or their other demands, which greatly reduces their work performance. The best option, if possible, would be to hire a nanny or babysitter to take care of your kids, especially during working hours. At least for feeding or other emergencies, you can be present if needed.