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by Sian Claire Owen

How home working helps me survive as a working parent

Home working roles are on the rise.  You only need to look at the number of home working roles currently available on Daisy Chain for proof!  And despite many misconceptions (daytime TV, endless cups of tea and other distractions) when done right, it can be an effective, efficient and rewarding way of working. Believe me, as a seasoned freelance social media manager, working from home has become my way of life.  So here are my top 8 tips for effective home working!

  1. Set boundaries and keep to them!  This means being firm when your neighbour pops in for a cup of tea, or your friend has a day off and wants to go out with the kids.  Or resisting the urge to stay in bed watching Coronation Street all morning.  Unless you can work your core hours around your activities, don’t drop everything for the fun stuff (too much).
  2. Develop a solid routine, especially if you’re new to working from home.  This can involve choosing ‘core hours’ where you are at work, and then catching up on emails, etc, in the evening.  When I started working from home I dressed for work as I would for the office.  Which in retrospect was a bit bonkers.  These days I’m generally in my pyjamas until noon, but no one needs to know that, so it’s our little secret.  Capiche?
  3. Be target orientated – working from home is the antithesis of presenteeism, if you’re doing the work then you can afford to be flexible.  This is GREAT for the school run, and also for those unexpected child emergencies – like when your three-year-old somehow trips over an actual castle and ends up in A&E.  That really happened.
  4. Communicate with your colleagues – working from home doesn’t have to be a lonely experience. Sometimes I miss the banter of being in an office.  But then again, I’m able to work my hours around my daughter – which as a single mum is crucial.  So, what is better: being present for my daughter during her formative years to ensure she grows up to be confident and happy, or to be able to gossip about Love Island with Kevin from Accounts?  I know which one I’d choose.  And if you go for the second option you need to be having serious words with yourself.
  5. Ask for help when you need to!  Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you need to become the fountain of all knowledge in order to prove your worth.  If you don’t ask, you’ll never learn.  Plus it helps build relationships with your remote colleagues.
  6. Take breaks and get outside.  This is particularly important, otherwise, you may become afraid of daylight and start looking like Gollum.
  7. Use apps like Hours Tracker, just so you can keep tabs on yourself.  Time has a habit of slipping away and you can end up out of balance.  Also, it’s useful to brush up on your time management skills!
  8. Go easy on yourself, especially if you’re working from home during the holidays – not just the summer holidays, but ANY holidays – and your child is bouncing off the walls with boredom.  On occasions like these, cBeebies is your friend and remember it probably does your child good to be a bit bored.

So there you have it. You may have other life-saving suggestions that you want to share with us!  And don’t forget to check out the many home working roles that are currently available on Daisy Chain!

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