March 03, 2022
The challenges of working from home with a baby
1. Set clear expectations
2. Adjust your schedule
3. Outsource as much as you can
4. Ask for help
5. Be easy on yourself
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Having a child is one of the most exciting and humbling experiences we can go through. But it is also one of the most challenging and difficult times, especially when trying to juggle our duties as a parent with our work commitments.
Being able to work from home has definitely brought about some relief for new parents, but it can also become a whole new challenge in itself, which leaves parents to wonder: How do I work from home with a baby?
A baby needs constant supervision: It needs to be fed, have it’s nappies changed, and kept happy and entertained. As if that is not enough of a task, if you are working from home while caring for your little one, you are also supposed to answer phone calls, reply to emails and chat messages, and get some actual work done.
What seems like an almost impossible task, is the everyday reality for remote workers with a newborn at home. You are constantly being torn in different directions, while battling lack of sleep and the ever-present nagging feeling of not spending enough time with your new family, or not fulfilling your work commitments.
But hold on, don’t quit your job just yet, as it is definitely possible to combine parent and work life under one roof. All it takes is a bit of planning and open and honest communication with both your employer, as well as yourself.
Here are 5 tips on how to handle home office with a baby.
As we mentioned before, having open and honest conversations with your employer as well as your colleagues and team members is the first step of successfully working from home with your baby. Communicate your new schedule and openly share what times you are not available for work calls because your baby is napping.
On top of that, you should be realistic about your work goals and don’t set yourself up for failure because you think you can achieve just as much in one day as before you had your baby. Lack of sleep and this new chapter of your life take some time getting used to, so don’t try to overachieve and be gentle on yourself when planning your daily tasks.
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A baby doesn’t follow your work schedule. It doesn’t care if you have a work meeting when it is hungry, and nappies need to be changed whether a report is due or not. But trying to adjust your work schedule as much as you can to your baby’s internal schedule for eating and sleeping can be extremely helpful when juggling work and family life at home.
Smash out some work when your baby is asleep, take regular breaks whenever needed, and work whenever you are up for it, be it in early morning hours, or late afternoons when your partner can take care of your kid.
Team up and adjust your individual schedules to help each other out as much as you can. Take turns to tend to your child, and jump in if a work call gets disrupted by a crying baby. Everything is easier if you work together.
There are many great tools and softwares out there today that make our everyday life a lot easier. Why not switch to dictating notes or emails to your phone when working from home with your baby, so you can keep your hands free and tend to your baby’s needs?
A smart home system is another great way to keep you working when your hands are occupied, and setting up your computer and phone so you can seamlessly work from multiple devices might turn out to be just that little change you needed to make working from home with a baby a bit easier.
If child care is an option, it can obviously be extremely helpful when working from home. But even if it is not, there are many ways to ask for support when you need it. Turning to your partner and your family and friends is one way to seek help, but communicating with your boss and colleagues to see if you can hand over some work is also a great option to reduce the workload on your shoulders.
And even if you just need to vent for a little bit, asking someone to listen and be there for you when you need it can make a huge difference as well.
Finally, one thing to generally keep in mind as a parent is to be easy on yourself. Perfection is your biggest enemy, and it is overrated, especially when working from home with a kid. Sometimes, all you need to do is literally just get through your day. So, cut yourself some slack.
On top of that, you should also make sure you eat healthy meals and go for regular walks to take care of your physical as much as of your mental health. Working from home with a baby can be overwhelming at times, so take as much time as you need for yourself and your own needs. And rest assured: Everything gets easier with time.
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