Working from home: Make it work for you and your family
Stop working from home from affecting your family life
There are a number of benefits to working from home – the lack of commute, not having to get involved in office politics, being able to work flexibly with hours that suit you – the list goes on. However, in order to find successful longevity with your self-employed role, [Tweet "you need to ensure that your work ‘works’ for both you and your family."] Working from home will make you question the gender balance in your relationship, the true meaning of 'family time' and your ability to prioritise.
Juggling working from home and family
If you are a parent with a young family, and your partner goes out to work, there is often the urge to try and ‘fit in’ your work around the general family routine. Evenings and nap times (or whilst plugging your children into the electronic babysitter... we’ve all been there) seem to be your only chance to really 'work'. From experience, this can make you feel as though you aren’t performing at your optimum level, either as a parent or as a self-employed person. There are always multiple drains on your time and attention. When this happens, the ‘mummy guilt’ that seems to be hard-wired into us can rear its ugly head and bring with it negative feelings of frustration and inadequacy. I have known parents who have burnt out emotionally and physically as a result of trying to juggle work and family life for long periods of time without any form of external support. I do not recommend it. Also do not shy away from asking your partner to increase his contribution. Can they ask for flexibility in their role, or ask for some child care benefits? [Tweet "Don't feel like you have to carry all the unpaid labour yourself."]
Is now the right time?
However, I do appreciate that not every parent is lucky enough to have a support network of family and friends living close by; those who can offer assistance in the form of occasional babysitting duties if you do not have formal childcare arrangements in place. If this is the case for you, I’d ask yourself this – is now the best time to be pursuing such a role? Perhaps you could start building some of the foundations now, and limit yourself to one or two customers until your situation changes? Can you wait until your child is in education, or when you can afford routine child care? Or make child care expenses part of your business plan and overheads and ensure that your costs are covered.
Alternatively, if you are happy that now is the perfect time, I would strongly recommend that you do the following:
So, 3 ways to make it work:
a.) Schedule time in, every week, as ‘down time’ for you:
[Tweet "Running a family and/or household can often be a full time job in itself,"] before you add employed or self-employed work to the mix. It’s all too easy to find yourself working in the evenings and at weekends in order to clear your task list and inbox. This is fine every now and then, but can be quite soul destroying if you try to maintain this for any significant length of time. It can quickly lead to burn-out. Block out an evening in the diary once a week/fortnight for a ‘bath, book and/or box-sets’ session, taking time out to pamper body and mind – trust me, you’ll feel reinvigorated afterwards! Most parents forget to take that time to be themselves rather than Mum/Dad - this is even more important if you're working from home.
b.) Learn when to switch off:
Try to be firm with your boundaries for work. If you have time with family scheduled in, put your ‘out of office’ auto-responder on your emails. Commit 100% to your family time without worrying too much about work. If you are upfront with your customers and colleagues about your working hours/situation, the likelihood is that the majority of people will understand. If you are worried about missing a customer emergency, give them a contact number to ring or text if it really is urgent. You may need to chat with some customers to establish exactly what constitutes an emergency – just a word of warning! Hopefully, that should lift some of underlying worry and give you the opportunity to spend time with the family and actually be present whilst you are doing it. There's no FOMO as real as missing out on special moments with your children.
c.) Don’t be afraid to ask for help:
Parents aren’t superheroes. Parents are real people with real emotions and real stresses in their lives. [Tweet "Working from home isn’t the easy option, by any stretch of the imagination"] – to be honest, I don’t think there really is an easy route to take when it comes to parenthood and working. It can feel harder when you are isolated, an issue that many self-employed, ‘remote’ workers have to deal with. The office small talk you avoided could soon be missed, along with regular interaction with other adults. If you want your business to work for you and your family, you need to look after yourself, mentally and physically. One way to do this is by reaching out to people in a similar position (like our very own VA network) and asking for help every now and then.
If you do decide to work from home and build your business around your family, I wish you the very best of luck and know it will be the right thing for you!
Want help with your work/life balance? Contact 3Plus now!
Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
Dates for the Diary
March 26th Jump Forum Brussels
Making digital more human and gender balanced: challenges and opportunities in a workplace transformed by tech and artificial intelligence
- Keynote : Allison Gardner (Founder Women Leading in AI, Teaching Fellow in Bioinformatics / Maths / Computing at Keele University)
- Round table: Alexandra Van Hille (Chief of Staff Technology Belgium at Deloitte, Women in Tech leader, Ambassador She Loves to Code), Cassiano Mecchi (EMEA Diversity & Inclusion Lead, Spotify), Ségolène Martin (CEO Kantify, Ambassador Women in AI Belgium), Allison Gardner (Founder Women Leading in AI, Teaching Fellow in Bioinformatics / Maths / Computing at Keele University)
- Moderated by: Dorothy Dalton (Global Talent Management Strategist, inclusive workplace specialist)
March 28th Make the Most of Mentoring
Inhouse webinar for Ingersoll Rand Mentees on how to maximise the process to boost their careers.
March 29th Make the Most of Mentoring – Men mentoring women post #MeToo.
In-house live and virtual training session for Ingersoll Rand. In environments where most of the senior role models are men it’s important that there is a deeper understanding and adherence to best practices to advance the careers of women. This has become more sensitive post #MeToo where some men have concerns about professional relationships with junior women.
Download and listen free podcasts
How to Create an Effective USP What is a USP? Our Unique Selling Point or UVP (Unique Value Proposition) is our key core message about where...read more
How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality New research shows that diversity and inclusion is a top priority for leaders. So why...read more
Menopause in the workplace In this podcast with Nicki Williams award winning author, keynote speaker and Founder of Happy Hormones for Life,...read more
How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace Nancy Milton, international business communications expert, keynote speaker and author, share some vital...read more
Taking Care of your COW Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is...read more
The importance of Hard Talk Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us tips to achieve the lasting communication...read more
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about female rivalry and competition between women. Some...read more
Goal setting tips to boost your career The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and...read more
Sexism: How to stage a Bystander Intervention in the Workplace In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions...read more
How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple...read more
3Plus has tapped into our global network to ask the advice of top experts to help you make a success of a career transitionread more
It’s important for organisations to keep an eye on their workplace cultures, particularly those striving for diversity and inclusion. Does your corporate culture need of a minor tweaking or, a major overhaul with a cultural audit?read more
The characteristics of disengaged employees are not always easy to identify and can creep up slowly and insidiously. We look at some simple ways to boost employee engagement.read more