In this post, we'll dive into 3 tips and strategies for working from home with kids. Click here and we'll send you the full Remote Guide for Working From Home With Kids.
"People's families have been affected. [As an HR Leader], it's about bringing the family into it as well. Recognize that everybody is going through this and do more than just recognize it. Have leadership really take a role in that."
- Michelle Wright, Former CHRO of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
As schools adjust remote learning policy, working parents are forced to adjust their work routines. It's no wonder millions of parents are reporting higher stress levels than ever.
HR Leaders and managers across the country are asking the same question as millions of at-home parents: "What can we do about the kids?" There are strategies that anyone can implement from home to help improve productivity, boost employee morale, and increase resilience across a diverse remote workforce.
These are the 3 Strategies We'll Cover:
- Establish an effective at-home routine
- Segmenting workdays and implementing innovative policies
- Focus on wellness for the whole family
Implementing any of these strategies will help boost productivity, organization, and keep remote employees engaged. Layering in multiple strategies will help boost resilience and develop a more sustained sense of focus throughout the fall and well into the future.
3 Tips for Working From Home With Kids and Supporting Working Parents
Key 1: Developing and Reinforcing an Effective At-Home Routine
At-home routines are important under ordinary circumstances. Routines become even more vital when facing a global pandemic and constant uncertainty.
To help develop these routines, and reinforce their effectiveness, support your team and their family by:
- Providing transparency about company goals and expectations.
- Over-communicate as needed to ensure your team knows what they need to accomplish
- Help them develop the daily routines they need that will set them up for success.
Key 2: Segment Your Workdays and Implement Innovative Workplace Policies
Separation is a key way for people to stay focused at work. Not just physical separation, such as staying in different rooms of the house, but mental separation by dividing your workday into different segments.
Allowing people to use some creativity and be flexible means that in case they have childcare responsibilities during the day you can still trust them to get their work done by allowing for the flexibility to work at night or on different hours.
Segmenting your workdays also means setting time aside for breaks. There are several techniques that can help you develop these routines and ultimately be more productive during work.
- The Pomodoro Technique recommends repeating segments of working 25 minutes, then taking a 5-minute break.
- Other analyses have shown that working for 52 minutes and breaking for 17 minutes is also very effective.
Let's revisit physical separation for a moment. You can set up different workstations for everyone in the house. These don't have to be in separate rooms, but if possible they should be separate from each other and your main living space.
When you work from the same place you live, physical space and mental distance become important. Maintaining this space can help employees and kids mentally check out when work and school is over. This helps minimize burnout over time.
Key 3: Focus On Wellness For the Whole Family
- 7 out of 10 employees say that COVID-19 is the most stressful time in their working lives
- 88% of workers have experienced moderate to severe stress in the past four to six weeks
- 62% of workers lose about an hour a day in productivity from stress (32% lose two or more hours)
According to the American Psychological Association, parents with children report average stress levels of 6.7 on a scale of 1 to 10 (compared to 5.5 without children), and 46% reported stress levels between 8 and 10.
Tools like BurnAlong's employee wellness platform, which offers resources for employees and their families to deal with stress, can alleviate some of the burden. With thousands of classes to choose from, parents can find:
- Family-friendly exercise classes
- Kid-friendly exercise classes to help them release some energy
- Yoga for all levels
- Stress management
- And much more
These resources can also fill extracurricular activity gaps — camps, after school groups, team sports, and more — rather than filling all their extra time with YouTube or video games.
How to Support Parents Working From Home
While parents are learning how to adapt to their life with kids in school at home, HR leaders and managers are also learning to adapt. That means understanding the new barriers and challenges that employees are facing, and modifying your own expectations to meet people where they are today.
It requires a high level of trust, but the companies that are succeeding now and will continue to cultivate high levels of employee trust and loyalty in the future are those that lighten up on the rules and let employees figure out their own solutions.
You may be surprised to learn just how creative and adaptable your employees can be as they juggle kids, home, and work obligations.