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How to juggle home schooling and working from home

Category: Flexible Working, Family Friendly Working, Family Friendly Solutions, Flexible, Working from Home, Family, Capita, Top Tips, schools, flexiblity, communication, school, home working, children, Business Process

Flexible Working.

Our priority here at Capita is to protect the well-being of our colleagues, clients and partners – and to carry on serving the communities and societies in which we operate. Like many other businesses, we’ve introduced homeworking and remote solutions to make sure we continue to maintain vital services to customers and citizens. It’s an unusual time but if you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of people currently remote working with children at home, we have some top tips to help you get your work done and look after your children.

Communicate

First things first, make sure your manager and your team know that you have your kids around and that you may need to work more flexibly across the day, rather than being online at all times between 9am and 5pm. Work with your manager to understand what’s a priority when it comes to your work and what can be done at other times during the day. You should also communicate with your kids. They are going to be off school for a prolonged period of time and they need to know what that’s going to look like, so explain to them that you’ll be working some of the day. You could make a schedule of office hours so they know when you’ll be available and when you can’t be disturbed. Let them know your expectations for them. If your kids are too young to understand or you need to keep a constant eye on them, then you could take it in turns to do childcare with your partner or if you’re a single parent, you may need to switch your hours to nap times, early mornings or evenings.

Set boundaries

As well as letting your kids know when you’ll be working, you could set up a designated area in your home, so if you’re there, they know you’re working. You could ask the kids to make a sign that you put up when you’re working, or give them a signal like wearing headphones. This will hopefully limit interruptions and give you the space you need to jump on a video call or meet a deadline.  

Timetable

You could set up a family timetable with different activities throughout the day, if that’s something your kids will get on board with – you will, by now, have seen lots of examples on social media. However, this might not work for everyone and sometimes you need to go with the flow rather than have everything set up. Put a routine in place, not a strict timetable. A schedule is rigid, a routine is ordering your day but allowing for flexibility. So, start the day with some exercise – who hasn’t tried PE with Joe Wicks by now – or some yoga, plan to have lunch together and go out for a walk together in the afternoon, maybe schedule screen time in too, but beyond that, some people – and children – work better without a rigid timetable in place.

Less is more

Sure, your kids are at school 9am-3pm, but they aren’t constantly working, head down, at a desk, so don’t worry if you’re not doing hours of school work every day. Preparing a variety of play-based learning and more traditional activities is a good approach for your primary aged child. If they’re at secondary school, get them involved in planning out their academic time so they include all subjects – and don’t forget you may need to be around to help with that GSCE level geography. But, remember that however old they are they’ll be learning in other ways too. For the little ones, get them involved in baking, reading out the recipe, measuring the ingredients, watching the time, and even writing a review. Or get planting some seeds in the garden. They’ll enjoy being hands on, watering and keeping an eye on their new project, and maybe even eating it, if you’ve planted a fruit or vegetable! With the older ones, get them involved in chores around the house – they could meal plan for the week, do some dusting or look after younger siblings. And if you don’t have time or the ingredients, or the kids just don’t want to get involved, don’t worry.  

Be realistic – and kind – to yourself

This is a brand new world, and no one knows how long we’ll be in this position or when things will change again, so give yourself a break. Be realistic, not pessimistic. If you want to get out the kids’ screens more often, do it. If you want to get your daily exercise on your own, do it. Put a film on for the children and cuddle up with them, or use the time to go and read a book, get outside and do some gardening or whatever you need to do, just make sure you cut yourself some slack. This is a strange time for everyone, and we all have our own ways of dealing with it.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email info@vercida.com for more information.

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