What To Do When You Work At Home And Have Kids

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To cut down on costs, many companies are allowing employees to telecommute to the office.  This means that employees can work at home and keep in touch with the office via phone, computer, or fax.   Working at home may seem like an ideal situation, but it can have it’s problems too.  If you work at home, or if you are considering working from home, here are some things to think about.

Set Aside Some Space

If you have a large house or an attached garage, this may not be a problem.  If you have a smaller house, you may need to be more creative to carve out a work space which is separate from living space.

I learned the hard way about the importance of separating work space from family space.  I had left out important documents on the kitchen table while I went to change the baby. When I came back, I found that my older children had finger painted all over the work documents!  It just so happened that they were finger painting and had run out of paper.  They saw the paper on the kitchen table and just assumed that they could use that paper. It was an honest mistake, but it was quite embarrassing to explain that to my boss.

After that, I purchased a large cabinet with slide out shelves.  I could store my work computer, fax machine, and all of my files and paperwork in the cabinet.  I also made sure that the cabinet had a lock!  This stopped me from having embarassing conversations with my boss.

Hire A Baby Sitter For Backup

Even if you work at home, there are still times when you will need to have a babysitter.  If you have a major project, or a rush project, you may not be able to work around your children’s nap or school schedules. 

I’ve worked out an arrangement with a local daycare for “drop in” care.  If I have a big project, I can drop the younger children off for care there.  I also have a neighbor who is willing to help out with child care for a few hours if I need help in an emergency. 

Working At Home Is Still Work

When you are at home, you may get requests from the other neighbors to help out because you are “at home”.  I remember one year when a neighbor asked me if I could  get her children off the bus and watch them until she got home from work.  I had to say no to that request and I had to continue to say no to requests for quite a while before people understood that working at home is still work.

Do you work from home?  What tips do you have to share with other parents who work at home? Please post.

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