Working From Home & Family

Working From Home & Family

I’ve juggled working from home and a family for twelve years. Going freelance or starting your own business offers a lot more flexibility when it comes to managing a family and working. It isn’t always easy to find ways of managing your family and the home while building a career or a business, but it is worth the effort if you think it is right for you. Work life balance is essential and hopefully these tips will help you juggle working from home and a family too.

Prioritising

To start with, the first steps always has to be the abilities to prioritise. You need to think about what matters to you the most. Is it spending more time with your family? Or being able to challenge yourself with work? Or it could be that you feel fulfilled in your career and be a great mother, wife, daughter, or whatever else. And when this is the case, you have to set your priorities. There’s no wrong answer here. Obviously you want to be there for your family and do right by them however working the number of hours you need or want to work is fine, you just need to find the balance.

Scheduling

When you know what your priorities are, you need to factor them in when it comes to scheduling. You really need to make sure that your day-to-day activities and actions mirror that and establishing a routine is just so important. I use a colour coded Google Calendar for everything from school trips to medical appointments to when the food shopping will be delivered.

It is OK to Ask For Help

You need to make sure that you’ve got the support that you need, both professionally and personally. Maybe you need a nanny full-time or someone for a few hours. I used a fabulous local childminder when my youngest was little which made all the difference. It’s ok if you need more help,  like Porthaven, with elderly family members. You wouldn’t think twice if they needed more help, so why second-guess yourself? Working from home-wise, use a virtual assistant to help lighten the load of give you cover during holiday times.

Setting Expectations

It’s just so important for you to be able to set your expectations at the right levels. Do you expect more help around the home? For your children to be somewhat independent and less reliant on you? Or maybe you want to set expectations with your work and clients, so that you’re only ever working set hours. Either way, if you set expectations in your mind, you’re going to find it all the more easier to establish a healthy balance here.

Working from home and managing a family at the same time is hard at times but honestly, I love my life! I’ve worked hard to balance everything else and prioritise some self-care time too. Try and make sure you do the same as you can only burn the candle at both ends for so long before you get burned!

 

Creating the Ideal Home Office

 

One of the biggest benefits of living in the information age is the fact that it is easier than ever to work from anywhere. With cloud-based technology giving easy access to documents, email and shared projects, more people than ever are saying goodbye to the daily commute and hello to the home office.

Working from home gives unprecedented levels of flexibility, particularly if you are a working mother, allowing time to fit the school run and other household chores around your working life.

Perhaps the biggest challenge is to maintain a barrier of sorts between home and work commitments, which will inevitably compete for your attention. Key to getting this right is having a dedicated space where you can enter work mode. Let’s take a look at what makes the perfect home office.

The right location

You will be spending plenty of time in your office, so the first thing to consider is where it will be located. The box room might look ideal at first sight, but not if it means traipsing to the other side of the house every time you need a comfort break or a cup of coffee.

On the other hand, you do not want to be in the corner of the living room if there are too many distractions and other family members constantly coming in and out.

Think about natural light – a windowless corner is no fun, but if you are near a south-facing window, you might want to invest in some full height window shutters to guarantee comfort whatever the weather.

The perfect chair

In some areas, it makes sense to economise, but one area where you should really treat yourself is with a good office chair. No stinting and “borrowing” a spare dining chair; the last thing you need is to end every working day feeling like you have just completed the Tour de France!

There is a huge choice out there, and back pain experts Spine Health have published a useful guide on how to choose the right one.

Keep it cheerful

Definition between home and work is great, but this is still your own space, so it does not need to be corporate grey (use you love corporate grey of course).

Choose a colour scheme that inspires you, whether it is a vibrant primary colour or a soothing pastel shade, and have some nice pictures and accessories around. The advantage of the home office is that it is yours to create, so make it a place where you want to spend time.

A place for everything

For some people, it is easy to create a beautiful home office, only for it to be covered in stacks of paperwork within a matter of days. If organisation is not your strongest point, make it easy for yourself by thinking what sort of system works best for you.

Cube storage can be an attractive alternative to traditional shelving, as any space that you do not need for paperwork and office equipment can be home to pictures, books or knick-knacks.

Enjoy the benefits

There is no doubt that remote workers have the perfect opportunity to find the ideal work-life balance. However, achieving that balance does not happen by itself. Creating the right working space is a huge step towards enjoying the benefits and avoiding the pitfalls that working from home can bring.

What is your must-have office essential or top tip?

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