WORKING FROM HOME WITH KIDS: GUIDANCE FROM THE NICE PEOPLE ON TWITTER AND USEFUL LINKS
Not only are many people having to adapt to working from home and the kids are there too. This obviously creates many problems. I asked if anyone on Twitter had any tips and got some helpful replies. I have put these here together with links to useful sources of information about working from home with children at this time.
TWEETS OF ADVICE
Paul Morpeth (@paulmorpeth)
I’m definitely finding working as soon as I get up at my normal time with a cup of tea suits. I can do a couple of hours then still have breakfast with Mrs M and the kids when they wander down. It’s good for clearing emails and smaller jobs then a crack on with other stuff later.
Stacy Clements (@stacyaclements)
If the other parent is working too, have a daily timetable so you know when each of you have meetings/calls you must attend so the other can take over childcare on time. Ours is stuck to the wardrobe door where we can see it as we are sharing a desk in the corner of the bedroom!
My husband can stay away from work until just before 9am, then he’s under pressure all day with unscheduled calls, and I end up with the girls most of the time. So 6am-9am is my most productive time right now! And with no need for commute or hair/makeup, it’s time saved…!
Always do your most pressing priority first, no exceptions. Then if it’s the only thing you manage to get done all day, at least you got the most important thing done
Food prep has helped. Picnic lunches made in the morning and put in the fridge, easy-to-throw-at-them snacks, batch cooked dinners / freezer teas. Reduces prep/clearing up time in the day so can get back to work & can check my emails while they’re eating
If your child is old enough, explain you need to work and let them stay with you. It’s calmer letting 4yo stay with me, on iPad or colouring, than trying to achieve silence and be alone to concentrate. It is what it is right now. It’s far from ideal but
I’ve thrown out all ideas about when/how/how much I usually work. It might be 6-8am, do a few quick emails during nap time, husband takes over for a bit so I can do an hour on docs, another hour after bath/bedtime. Trying to be super flexible and remember it’s not forever
Ask for help. Talk. Tell your team you’re struggling. Be open about challenges. Share ideas. Delegate. Postpone what you can. It’s no time for ego. I am lucky to have the most supportive boss and team. Appreciate that might be same for everyone, sadly. It’s my saviour right now
Be open with clients, opponents, Counsel, experts. Many are in the same boat. Everyone I’ve spoken with has been supportive and flexible. Consider scheduling important calls post-bedtime routine/weekends when other parent is perhaps not working. But be careful not to burn out
Tim Kirfield (@TimKirfield)
Couldn’t agree more with this Stacy. I try to schedule calls for the afternoon when Aurora is napping and my wife home from work. Everyone has been so understanding. In the mornings we just go with the flow. There is only so much Paw Patrol she can stand before she gets bored!
For my part I’ve always been willing to do advocates’ meetings etc after others with younger kids have done bathtime etc. Don’t be afraid to ask – people can just stay no.
Ali Masterson (@RedHeadedAli)
Don’t give yourself a hard time. No one expects you to be a qualified teacher in 7 different subjects and do your job at the same time. Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you have to be OK with what is happening. You are allowed to struggle too.
Natalie Matthews (@natalielorna1)
I have a 4 year old and a 5 month old so WFH is particularly difficult, especially doing CoP work. Opponents tends to expect an immediate answer. I’ve found it helpful to put an out of office response explaining that I’m not working 9-5
Neil Webb (@neilmwebb)
“You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work.” I’ve heard this twice today. I think it’s an important distinction worth emphasising.
The Law Society Gazette is carrying a series Lawyers in lockdown: stories from the frontline
Mother in law writes on coping with the kids in lockdown
The Independent has a guide on how to work from home when you have children.
The Telegraph has a similar article, ‘How to work from home with children during the coronavirus lockdown’.
Working Families has a useful section on its website dedicated to coronavirus and answers some frequently asked questions concerning childcare.
Gingerbread, a charity supporting single-parent families, has a coronavirus help page for single parents.
The Chronicle of Higher Education’s article ‘Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure’ gives advice on adapting to conditions of crisis. A similar article from The New York Times, ‘Stop Trying to Be Productive’ advises that “staying inside and attending to basic needs is plenty”.