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The option to work from home is becoming more common, particularly during this ever-changing environment brought on by the coronavirus. Making the transition to working from home isn’t always easy, but because I’ve been leading global remote teams for almost 10 years, I’ve learned the keys to success. Here are my top tips for how to effectively work from home with kids.
Set-up and Communicate Processes and Expectations
Remote workers need to have an open dialogue with their leadership and co-workers about their availability and the hours they are most productive. For me, I know that I am most productive from 9am-3pm; those are my “always available” hours unless I am “out-of-the-office.” We also all mark when we’re going to be out-of-the-office on the company’s shared G-cal.
Along the lines of open dialogue, having a consistent, reliable means to communicate within the company is key. At Reink Media Group, we all know to utilize Slack for everyday discussions, email for big announcements, phone calls for emergencies and Trello for product management. This allows everyone within the company to communicate with each other easily, just as if they were in the same building.
Find Your New Normal
I highly suggest that in order to be a successful employee while working remotely, you need to establish a daily routine. Over the years, I’ve fine-tuned my schedule to include:
- Self-care – stretch, yoga, workout, etc. (if you can’t get to the gym, there are many great, free workouts available on YouTube)
- Shower and get dressed as if you were leaving the house (you may consider this your self-care)
- Utilize an ergonomically friendly office (standing desk, larger monitor that is at the correct height, etc.)
- Take breaks throughout the day (in a traditional office setting, you usually get up to get more water, a coffee, chat with a co-worker, etc., so be sure to build some of this into your daily routine)
- Stay hydrated and eat healthily
- Change up your environment from time to time. Go to a coffee shop or a local shared workspace. If you’re quarantined or just don’t want to leave the house, try bringing your laptop into different rooms of your house or, if weather permitting, sit outside.
- Have an end time that you walk away from your office every single day. Even if you come back to it in the evening, make sure you have an end to your typical workday.
How to Work From Home With Kids
If you are a parent and your kids are home when school is closed and you are trying to work, try to utilize some of these tips to get both of you through the day:
- Have a routine for your kids in the morning. Create a list of chores, activities and approved screen time to avoid the “Mom, I’m bored” distraction.
- Make sure you both have designated work areas. This will allow you to be focused and get through a task with minimal interruptions.
- Take time to make meals with them and eat together. Make sure you eat breakfast, have snacks prepared and make and eat lunch together. Keeping them on a normal routine, similar to their school or daycare is the best way to keep them from getting hangry, and it forces you to take a break from your work.
- Take a break with them, whether it is a walk outside, coloring or working on a puzzle.
- Keep an open line of communication with your kids about expectations. Let them know if you will be unavailable due to a conference call, video call or deep into a project. That way, they know when they can ask a question or when to leave you alone.
Setting clear expectations from the get-go with your kids, your co-workers, your employees and even yourself can set you up for success as a remote employee.
About Molly Rossow
Molly Rossow leads all global operations and digital media efforts for Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the Nation winner Reink Media Group and its brands. She has more than a decade of leadership experience in the start-up/tech industry and has helped multiple global organizations expand their footprints. An outdoor enthusiast, Metro Detroit-based Molly enjoys camping and other related activities with her husband and three children, ages 8, 6 and 4.