Working At Home When The Kids Are Sick

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This is a topic near and dear to my heart at this point because I do work from home and, at the time of posting, my kids are very sick.  Perhaps you are also working at home trying to juggle sick children, and meet deadlines.  How can you get it all accomplished?

When I first left the corporate world 15 years ago to venture out on my own, I was very naive.  I thought work at home REALLY meant “work at HOME” the emphasis was at home.  Fifteen years later, I realize that the emphasis is actually on WORKWork is work no matter the setting; having children at home while one is working complicates matters.  Having sick children at home while trying to work makes life downright messy at times.

Have A Backup Plan

Be prepared and plan for emergencies.  During times like this, I function on survival mode.  Because we live far away from family and very close friends, and because my husband travels with work, having sick kids impacts my life in a huge way.

I find that the only way to get any work done is before they get up or after they go to bed.  This can be difficult, especially if you’ve been up most of the night tending to ill children.  This morning, I certainly didn’t want to get up to get some work done while my children were sleeping.  I did anyway!

You may be able to ask a relative, neighbor, or friend to help you with childcare while you work.  If you have such a support system locally, use it when you must, but not as much as you’d like! You don’t want to “wear out” people.  Also, understand that some people may not understand why you need help if you are at home.  You may have to educate that person to help them understand that work is work no matter where it’s done.

Honestly Assess The Situation

At times, it is possible to work through the crisis without even a blip registering on a client’s radar screen.  At other times, you may need to make some honest, but difficult phone calls because of an illness. 

Calling a client to tell them that you will have to postpone a project finish date is difficult; there are no two ways about that.  However, it’s important to honestly assess the situation and make the call as soon as possible.  Delaying the inevitable only will make the situation worse, and could cost you in the long run.

I’ve learned to actually build “wiggle room” into my deadlines because of a few very difficult lessons I’ve learned along the way.  Usually, I finish projects early because of this; during weeks like last week and this week, I am glad I allow some wiggle room when estimating project completion dates.  I’ll really need that wiggle room!

Do you work at home? What are some tips you can share that have worked for you?

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