Working from home, when you have a small baby is not easy. You need to find ways of being able to get your job done while also taking care of your child. This means that you are going to need some help in order for you to achieve what you want. In this post I am going to share with you my experience working at home as well as give you some advice on how to manage it all.
It can be a lot easier to work from home. (No more rush-hour commutes!)
But make no mistake, it still works and it takes know-how and discipline to pull it off.
Here are some things to consider while you work from home with a small baby
Table of Contents
- 1 Before you start working from home
- 2 Setting a Schedule
- 3 Use your baby carrier
- 4 Get them new toys that entertain and educate your child
- 5 Take advantage of technology
- 6 Take frequent breaks
- 7 Be ready for any unpredictable situations
- 8 Create a protected space
- 9 Beng liberal with screen time
- 10 Make Childcare arrangements
- 11 Frequently asked questions
Before you start working from home
Create a space which you call as your office at home. You could even place a small desk in your bedroom to create your home office. This helps you to remain organised as all your work things are in place and you dont have to waste time hunting for things like your files, memos, papers etc.
In case you are working as a consultant or a free-lancer, fix your office hours and inform your clients when they can reach you, even if it’s just for an hour or two .
In case you are on a regular, salaried job ( which is very difficult if you have a small baby ) from home, you will have to be available at the same hours as your office colleagues.
Setting a Schedule
Be flexible with your work hours
Don’t try to follow a 9 to 5 schedule. It’s a good idea to work around the schedule you have set for your newborn. If you have the benefit of making your own work schedule, realize that you do have the power to adjust it as needed. That’s a perk of working from home. Why fluster yourself by trying to force a proverbial 9-to-5 when you don’t have to? You really can make the best gains during your newborn’s downtime when you just roll with it and stay flexible.
Start early or work late – Try to get work done before your baby gets up or work late at night once
Be ready to work odd hours. You might need to sleep at 10 AM with your baby and work at 2 AM when you’re awake feeding the baby
Take advantage of nap times. Your baby can take daytime naps throughout the day and you can utilise this time to get a lot of work done, especially where you need both your hands to perform the tasks – such as interviewing people, preparing mailers, or jotting down notes. Other things, such as using the keyoard can be done by putting your baby in a sling when they are awake.
Try not to Nap when the baby is sleeping. This time can be really productive if you don’t take a nap when the baby is taking a nap. Put the baby on a proper schedule for naps. Once you have created a proper schedule for your baby’s naps, you could work around that schedule. This will improve your efficiency a lot
Work when your baby is at peace
After a nap or after a meal, the baby is generally calm and does not disturb you too much.
You should use this quiet time to get work done
Use your baby carrier
A baby carrier is a great way to keep your baby calm for extended periods of time. Just put the baby in the carrier and get a lot of work done without much disturbance. You could also put them in a baby swing and put on some soothing music.
Get them new toys that entertain and educate your child
Keep updated with new toys ( especially educational toys )which keep coming out. This will also help in the development of your infant as well as keep them entertained and occupied
Take advantage of technology
Get a modern smartphone on which you can do work in case you are away from your laptop.
Make sure the phone has a mute button which is easy to use. You dont want people on a conference call to hear your baby screaming in the background.
Develop typing skills while breastfeeding, with a laptop on your lap in a recliner and the baby propped next to you or on your chest.
Use a Dictation software
Having both your hands-free is very difficult when you have a baby to look after. Babies need to be touched and carried all the time.
You could use dictation software in such situations to create your correspondence, notes, memos and even emails by just talking into the built-in mic of your laptop.
Dictation software comes built-in for free with most modern laptops.
This can help you save a lot of time even if you are not sitting before the keyboard.
If your needs are more complex, you could also buy some advanced dictation softwares which offer a lot of features and functionality. If you need more information on this you can contact us or wait for our next post to get published.
Take frequent breaks
Do not work for more than 30 minutes at a stretch without taking a 5-minute break. This will keep your mind and mental faculties in focus and you will be more productive.
Be ready for any unpredictable situations
A newborn’s schedule is very unpredictable until you are able to develop a working routine for them. Further home life and work-life tend to overlap and you should try to keep them in different compartments otherwise, you could get burnt out if you are not taking a break. So you must be ready for any unexpected thing to come up and the best way to prepare is to take breaks ( even 5 minutes is good enough)
Create a protected space
It is difficult to leave a room for even a short time if your baby is crawling around.
Create a protected space which is having some boundaries and has proper toys so that the baby can be placed there for some reasonable amount of time without you having to worry too much. The baby will play there and remain safe at the same time in this space.
You can then get some real work done or join a conference call if needed.
This space can be created in the same room from where your desk is located, so that you can keep an eye on the baby.
If you want to know how to create this safe space please read this article which tells you what all would be needed.
Beng liberal with screen time
If you have slightly older kids you could allow them extra screen time while you can get your work done.
Video games are a great way to keep them busy.
This may go against your norms but you could monitor the shows that they watch.
Make Childcare arrangements
It is great to have your child near you while working at home. However, it may help if you could get an extra set of hands which can free you from a lot of tasks. No matter how many naps your child takes, situations will arise where you will need someone to take over for you for attending to your infant.
Urgent client meetings or conference calls can come up which cannot be avoided without the risk of losing clients or business.
It is advisable to invest in child care to help you out.
Having a professional caregiver coming over would be the ideal situation.
Make sure you fix the childcare duties properly when you hire.
In case the caregiver calls in sick, you can have ready backups like some elders living with you.
With a caregiver or nanny, you could get your little one to go out of the house. You dont want your child throwing a tantrum or crying while you are on an important call.
You could get your sitter to spend the day elsewhere or outside – like going for a stroll with the baby around the block or go and spend time in the garden. She could even take the infant to a nearby park and spend time with other babies along with their sitters.
Frequently asked questions
What’s the best way to use a baby carrier?
“Wear your baby and type standing up,” advises freelance writer Kate Carpenter.
What’s the best way to get your work done?
When they’re sleeping, hit your work hard.
Can I Work During Naps?
“Obviously working during naps is important,” says writer and editor Liz Callahan Schnabolk, “But, also, if you need to work while they’re awake, try to do it right after they wake up or eat.
When Should I Call?
I find that’s when my baby is most content to play on his own, so I can finish up what I’m doing and then give him my full attention a little later.” Kristin Bianculli, who works in human resources as a campus recruiter, also aims to schedule calls when her baby is napping or she has a babysitter.
What music should I choose for my baby?
Alicia Graves, who likes to use a swing or bouncer for her 9-month-old son, also recommends picking music that appeals to you and the baby.
What time is the best to work?
If your baby is a newborn, she will likely be sleeping in three- to four-hour stretches throughout the day, so you may be able to get solid blocks of time to work during these periods.
What are the benefits of wearing newborn baby carrier?
As you work, you might like to “wear” your newborn in a baby carrier, sling, or wrap so your newborn can enjoy feeling close to you while you get things done.
What sort of work can you do while breastfeeding?
If you’re breastfeeding your little one, you may be able to take phone calls or read reports as you do.
You can also learn to type with the laptop on a stand.
What should I do when my children are up?
If possible, the kind of work you attempt while your children are up should be the kind that can be interrupted, as your little ones will likely be trying to get your attention.
What toys can I keep my baby entertained?
As your baby will want to be near you, and you’ll want to keep an eye on her, place a few toys or an activity centre on a play mat or in a playpen that you place right by you.
What are the drawbacks of working with a toddler?
The challenge is that when your toddler is up she may want more of your attention.
What Can You Do?
The positives are that your toddler may be able to entertain herself for short periods and may still take one or two naps a day, during which you can work.
How do you make your baby fall asleep quickly?
There are some tried and tested ways to make your baby fall asleep fast, so you can carry on with your work
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