Working from home with children under foot takes serious contemplation. Weighing the pros and cons of starting your own business or excepting a position where you work from home must include the kids. If you are having a hard time deciding whether to accept the job or follow your entrepreneurial passion, take these tips into consideration.
1. Set Hours
When you are running a household and a business, you must set business hours. My business allows me the flexibility to set my own hours. I work during nap time and in the evenings after the children are in bed. Setting business hours will keep the work and the family time separate. When you give yourself a time frame it helps you focus on the work, and not constantly think about the laundry sitting on the couch waiting to be folded.
If your business requires that you be "in the office" from eight to five, see #2.
2. Baby Sitter
One of the alluring reasons I chose writing as a profession was the flexibility. I wanted to be at home with my children and have a career. The only problem is that there are not enough hours in the day to do both. When work piles up or you have a deadline that needs to be met, then consider a baby sitter or mother's day out. Asking for help doesn't make you less of a super mom and business mogul. It keeps sane.
3. Swap Time
Time seems to be the theme for parents running a business. We need more of it. Is there a friend or family member that runs an at-home-business? See if you can swap baby sitting time with them. Two days a week your friend watches the kiddos, and then you watch them for two days. Arrange this however suites your schedule, save baby sitting costs, and get more done. Your kids will have fun play dates, and you will accomplish more work.
4. A Separate Work Space
I love our home office. My husband works from home also, and we looked for a home with a separate office space. The office is above the garage with a separate entrance. The kids can be as loud as they want (or I will allow), and my husband has the quiet and space he needs to work.
If you don't have a dedicated space for your office, then find one. Put a secretary's desk in the kitchen or a roll away desk in the bedroom. Carve out a space where you work and only do work in that area. Organize it and make it your own. Having a designated space for work will help you keep business hours. When you are at your desk, everyone knows not to bother you. You are at work.
5. Take Breaks
When working at an office outside your home, you have the opportunity to talk with coworkers and move around the building. Do the same when you work from home. Take breaks and walk around the house or neighborhood. Stepping away from the desk will give you a fresh perspective and give you a bit of exercise. Do not take breaks to do house chores. The breaks are to relieve stress not go from one job to another.
6. Take Care of You
Working from home can lead to neglecting yourself if you aren't careful. Fit in exercise and shop for healthy snacks to keep at your desk. Drink plenty of water and do something each day that releases stress. You will be a more productive and a better parent when you take care of you.
What words of advice would you give to parents who work from home?