A Working Parent’s Guide to Self Isolation

The advice from the Australian Government is encouraging anyone who can work from home, to be working from home – Easy enough to adopt, right? The spread of COVID-19 is forcing working parents to adjust to their ‘new normal’ which sees them work from home, all while household ‘management’ duties seem to be ramping up as the unprecedented set of circumstances unfold.

Whether its juggling toddlers and sleep schedules among video calls, managing a team remotely while simultaneously acting as your child’s tutor, or perhaps a combination of all of the above – there’s no rule book or guide to tackling our new roles as working parents.

Early bird gets the worm

Where possible, try and get up an hour or so earlier than usual to squeeze in some uninterrupted work.

Make self-care a priority

It’s all too easy to lose sight of boundaries and forget the importance of self-care. Try and separate work from personal and get into healthy habits such as having a shower before you start the working day, pop something else on other than your best trackies and remember to turn your computer off and close your laptop at the end of the day.

Create a schedule (for you, and your children)

You know what they say: ‘fail to plan, and plan to fail’ – which is why mapping out a thorough schedule to see you through the day is key. Try to capitalise on occasions where your children are otherwise occupied such as: napping, watching movies, or completing schoolwork to capitalise on more demanding work tasks.

Where possible, try and remain in a similar routine each day to help your children understand expectations. Getting them involved in the days prospect will help minimise tantrums and allow you to better navigate the work day too. Allow them to choose from a pool of learning and leisure activities to essentially let them design their day.

Another helpful tip is to plan and prepare meals in advance to avoid hungry, nagging children. This can easily be turned into a rewarding and time-effective activity which helps tick one more chore off the ‘to-do’ list as well as keep kids entertained.

Have a dedicated workspace

Where possible try and arrange a space where you can return to each day so you begin associating the area with work. Encourage conversation with your kids around boundaries and behaviour in this space to help them better understand your needs.

Lean on your community

Combine forces with parents in a similar situation and organise virtual playdates and parent pods to share the load. Take it in turns to facilitate learning opportunities in place of day care or school.

Have a ‘bag full of tricks’ just in case

Keep a box of puzzles, activities, books, and special toys near your workspace that can be used as you’re working. Keep them exclusively for ‘desk time’ to create a sense of exclusivity and desire. It’s always handy to have a couple of snacks ready to go too, in case of emergency.

Stay in touch with your colleagues

Many of your peers will be in the same boat. Make the time to catch up with them for a virtual ‘water cooler chat’ and share stories, and tips.

About the Author

Robert Rawson is the Founder of TimeDoctor.com – an SaaS time tracking and productivity app. Here he shares his top tips for navigating the tricky intersection of being a working parent while in isolation.