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Balance work with home schooling

Last reviewed on 02 July 2020

With most children being at home, many of you will be juggling home schooling with work, which you may now be doing from home.   We’ve put together some handy hints and tips from LifeWorks.

Working from home

If you work in a role that is able to be done from home then talk to your manager about how balancing your work with home schooling and childcare. You can consider working more flexibly than usual; changing your pattern of working hours or reducing the number of hours you work. Your manager can guide you on what they need from you right now and can use ER Services to help them understand what they can offer you if you’re unable to complete your normal duties.

We’ve given you some ideas here that might work for you:

  • Setting out the rules – the more structure you can provide the easier it can make it to achieve balance. Set the rules out early
  • Routine – maintain as much of the normal routine you can and start the day by setting out the schedule for the day and what you expect. It can be as simple or detailed as you like. Be clear when it’s time to learn and time to play
  • Independence – teaching life skills is valuable learning. Consider how children helping around the house can teach new skills
  • Screen time and sugar – use screen time and treats as rewards for completing tasks or sticking to a routine
  • Play – harness your children’s energy in different ways. For example, can you make tidying up a game or use play to harness their creativity
  • Maintaining schoolwork – your children’s school may have provided resources, but you can also use free online resources like BBC Bitesize or Oak National Academy.

Staying productive and focus on your work

If you are working from home and schools have closed, a significant concern will be how to focus on work and care for your children.

Maintain a schedule as close to your office hours as possible - Be ready by your normal start time. Then, as best you can, think about how you work in blocks of time.

  • Boundaries – Be clear with your family when you are expected to work and why they need to respect the fact that your attention will be focused elsewhere
  • Share care – If you live with a partner and share care for your children, set out a clear plan for who will answer requests for help from the children at different times during the day
  • Synchronicity – As much as is realistically possible match schedules with everybody at home
  • Communicating with manager and team – Make sure your manager and team members know about your home situation so that they are prepared if you have to be flexible with the hours you are able to respond

Protecting wellbeing for you and your family

Mark the start and end of your working day - shut down your computer and try as hard as possible to enjoy your weekends, evenings and personal time.

  • Stay in touch with people outside our household – to avoid isolation and maintain our own and others’ wellbeing. Use Zoom, WhatsApp or similar to socialise
  • Exercise – it’s as important to maintaining positive mental health as anything else. Check out our top tips on page 11. You can use exercise as an opportunity to get outside to get some fresh air and enjoy green spaces whilst still maintaining social distancing
  • Get a good night’s sleep – aim to get 8 hours of sleep a night to keep you feeling refreshed.