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Remotely Working Parents and Family Obligations – 5 Key Challenges

In the current business environment, remote work and alternative business models are rising to prominence.

Even in the period before the CO VID-19 pandemic, more and more workers and companies started practicing remote work.

As the pandemic has turned the business world upside down, this trend has become new normality.

Even though working from home brings some benefits, there are some difficulties, as well.

In this article, we’ll discuss the key challenges for remotely working parents, together with some tips for overcoming them.

1)  Work-life balance

Parents living with their kids in apartment buildings and small houses find it harder to balance their professional and personal obligations.

It’s not always easy to sign in at 9 am and sign out at 5 pm. If kids are preschoolers, working parents need to keep them entertained while handling business tasks on the other side.

What often happens to such parents is that they spend much more time working because they can’t spend quality time at work. If they have team scattered around other time zones, the equation becomes even more complicated.

The key to successful work-life balance lies in parents’ organizational skills. Whenever your kids are asleep or when they’re not at home, commit yourself 100% to work. Ask your siblings, parents or relatives to look after your kids. Think about making arrangements with colleagues from work or neighbors to look after one another’s kids.

All these efforts will help you find enough time for work tasks and spend the rest of quality time with your family.

2)  Workspace

When people think of remote work, they often imagine it as a relaxing position somewhere by the sea.

In reality, it’s far away from the truth. Many parents actually move around the house, searching for a calm spot where they could properly concentrate on their tasks.

Depending on the size of your home, you have several options at your disposal.

Firstly, take a look around your home to see where you can place your workstation. If possible, make a separate workspace with plaster walls. They won’t do much in terms of sound insulation, but at least you’ll be physically separated from the rest of the family.

The other option is to move to a bigger apartment or house and turn one room into a home office. Buying used office desks, quality office chairs, and second-hand devices such as air conditions or coffee machines will keep a few cents more in your pocket.

Finally, you can rent a seat in a coworking space and work from there. It’s more expensive than working from home, you it provides peace and comfort.

3) The importance of quality time

When juggling remote work and family obligations, quality time is the key. Whatever you do in a given moment, try to completely commit yourself to that very task.

If you’re going to the park with your family, don’t check messages on Slack every five minutes. Likewise, if you’re close to the deadline, don’t scatter your time on other things, but focus on work.

Once you learn how to improve your time management, you’ll be happier in both family and business terms.

Additional two cents: think about taking your family with you when going away on business from time to time. Of course, you need to cover the costs of their trip and organize their activities, but it might be a nice opportunity for additional family bonding.

If you realize you lack proper skills for handling your kids while working at home, don’t be afraid to ask professionals. For instance, you can read professional handbooks on home childcare or even attend online nanny courses to learn something new for proper childcare.

4) Networking and socialization

Remote and home-based workers can organize their time and learn how to handle their obligations.

However, there’s a major disadvantage of such work format: social isolation.

Office workers have someone to talk with or go to a break. They can have a coffee with their colleagues and discuss the current affairs.

As opposed to them, home-based workers spend most of their time alone or with their family members.

Depending on the type of personality, some people like that form of work. Other become depressed and search for chances to connect with other fellow working people.

Therefore, don’t neglect networking and socialization. Connect with people online and go to the office from time to time if your company allows for that option.

Also, stay in touch with your former clients. You can never tell what business opportunity might emerge from such connections.

The more connections you make working from home, the more likely you are to improve your business prospects.

5) Finances and budgeting

It’s not easy to set the right budget when you’re working from home. You can’t tell in advance how much you’ll have to pay for your overhead expenses. So, after the first month of your home-based work, grab a piece of paper and compare the monthly costs with the previous month.

Check out with your company managers what share of these costs they can cover.

If possible, ask the company crew whether you can use the company equipment, such as the laptop or the office chair.

If you need to pay for all the equipment and additional costs you have, factor in those amounts in advance.

Combining remote work and family life can be fun, but it takes some time and organization to work properly. Such workers must work on their concentration and improve the quality time in everything they do. Also, they need to calculate all the business costs and family variables into their business operations. All these steps will help becoming productive home-based workers and committed family members.

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