The pandemic has had a significant impact on all our lives - in one way or another.
This is especially true for working parents (both mums and dads) who have found themselves without childcare on days where they may need it the most. For parents working remotely, childcare is adding additional pressure at a time when stress levels are already at an all-time-high.
Too much to do in too little time? Nap schedule is off? Struggling to find some peace and quiet for that important phone call? No one has felt this more than working parents throughout the pandemic, and although reopening schools and nurseries have provided some relief, it can still be a challenge to juggle both full-time jobs and childcare.
Although there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution, it is very much possible to find a greater balance between the two.
Daphne de Marneffe, a psychotherapist and the author of multiple books on family life and childcare, says that in order to manage multiple roles and keep their children engaged, parents must first find ways to maintain their own sanity and equilibrium. “When our kids are unhappy, it’s stressful and hard -- but it’s even more elevated when we don’t feel at our best either.”
Below are our top-tips to help working parents find a better balance between work and childcare over the next few months as we ease out of lockdown.
Focus on your own well-being
Chances are, you’re currently feeling busier and more stressed than ever so it’s really important to take care of yourself too. When all is said and done, you can’t be your most productive and motivated self when you’re feeling stressed. Make sure you get good quality sleep, eat a balanced diet and get fresh air as much as possible - it will go a long way in helping you feel more positive and upbeat.
According to Telegraph, 12.8-million working days were lost to stress and anxiety in the last year. 44% of those suffering from stress and anxiety say it’s due to their workload.
If you’re struggling more than usual, don’t be afraid to ask for support from friends and family. It’s very normal and reasonable to ask for support because it really does take a village. Additionally, if you don't have friends or family, there are several government support lines available to you.
This one may not be as ‘easy’ for parents with younger children who don’t understand the difference between ‘work’ and ‘play’, but for parents with older children, it’s important to establish boundaries.
More likely than not, your home workspace will be somewhat flexible. You know -- working from the kitchen table in the am, followed by an hour on the sofa by mid-day. Try to establish a dedicated workspace. Your own personal space where you can be heads-down with work when you need to be.
Set a schedule
In a world of unknowns, having a routine can bring a sense of comfort and calm, in addition to providing a well-established structure for the days ahead.
A great way to introduce a schedule, especially in the summer months, is to get your children involved! Brainstorm a few ideas with them on how they can best manage their ‘time-frames’ throughout the day. Try your best to stick as closely as possible to this schedule to help establish a routine for your day-to-day to-do’s.
Prioritise your workload
Chances are, you’re not fully productive at all hours of the day. As you know, life happens. With endless Zoom meetings and unpredictable interruptions from the kids, chances are your priorities can be a little out of whack when you’re least expecting it.
Make a point to focus on the most important tasks first, followed by any other to-do’s. Consider what point in the day you get a few hours of child-free time to get your head down at work. Then, block your time accordingly.
Utilize your partner or spouse
As summer approaches and kids will be closer to home for more hours in the day, figure out how childcare duties can be shared between you and your partner or spouse. Although this may not be a feasible option for all parents, if the option is there to share any duties, take full advantage of it. Couples who split childcare responsibilities have a greater sense of equality and teamwork, not to mention a more manageable workload.
Additionally, on days where you have some time to get out of the house and you're in need of a productive workspace or meeting room, we've got you covered. Download the WorkClub app and gain access to over 180 spaces across London and the rest of the UK, enabling you to work from anywhere.