Corona communication #2: Working from home with young children, how do you do it?

Many employees are forced to stay at home, where they now need to find a way to combine work and caring for (young) children. But working from home means that your work, care responsibilities and home tasks become intertwined. How do you handle this?

Charlotte Jacobs – Hoffman

Charlotte Jacobs-Hoffman | Head of People & Culture

March 18, 2020

Many employees are forced to stay at home, where they now need to find a way to combine work and caring for (young) children. It may sound fun at first: no work commute, the ability to see your kids all day, time with your partner and, all of this, in the comfort of your own home. But working from home means that your work, care responsibilities and home tasks become intertwined. How do you handle this? How do you ensure you are available for colleagues and can take part in important meetings. But above all, how do you ensure you remain successful in both areas of your life? Below are 9 practical tips for working from home with young children.

1. A structured day is necessary for you, your partner and your children. Keep to your usual hours, so that the “working day” really has a start and an end. You can, however, get up and start an hour earlier and therefore stop a little earlier or spend this time with your children. A day of undisturbed working with small children is an illusion, so you better prepare for reality. Try to plan time blocks in which you can work efficiently and effectively and then plan time to spend with your children.

2. Make arrangements with your partner (if they also work from home). Decide, together with your partner, who is responsible for the children and when. Then coordinate time blocks so that you can focus on work during specific times. Additionally, it is advisable to coordinate important appointments, especially if you have a lot of conference calls or online meetings, so that you can make calls undisturbed.

3. Set up a home workplace where you can also retire separately for calls and meetings. Try to arrange it as ergonomically as possible. This means not working on the couch or in bed, but at a real table. Try to use the spaces in your home creatively.

4. Make arrangements with your colleagues and manager on how best to keep in touch. Think of a weekly virtual stand-up, 1-on-1 or team meetings via WebEx. Create a group app (per team / department). Share photos of your home-work situation with colleagues to stimulate a sense of involvement and togetherness.

5. Create time blocks in your calendar where you are available to your colleagues so that they know when they can come to you with questions. Share this actively with your colleagues. Be sure to take breaks, take a walk. Just like at work, you cannot work 100% of the time.

6. Make a schedule for the children so that they know when you are really available for them.

7. At the end of the day evaluate what went well and what went less well. This way you will know what needs to be adjusted for the next day. Share these insights with other parents who work from home as everyone is looking for the best way to combine work and home life.

8. Make sure to plan a moment of rest for yourself with yoga, meditation or a good book. This can also be done with your children before going to bed.

9. If you have the luxury of multiple rooms, set up a separate workplace for yourself and a separate play area for the children. You can arrange this area together in the morning with toys, etc.


Photo by Jessica West from Pexels.