6 Work From Home Tips Now That Kids Are Back To Learning

Mother and daughter sitting at table, both on laptops working

Do's and Don'ts to Consider When Remotely Working While the Kids Return to School

Whether your kids are back in class, learning exclusively online or part of a mix of both situations working from home continues to be the norm for many non-essential Canadian workers. This means yet another change in routine and scheduling to help manage your newest COVID-19 related reality.
Here are some helpful tips to help you continue to plan, manage and conquer working from home with the kids back to school.

Schedule for Work, Schedule for Family

Let’s face it, schedules are essential to keeping a family running like a well-oiled machine. While you likely had a winning routine in place for summer and back to school in previous years, the truth is many families saw those go out the window over the last six months. With school back in session however, this is a great opportunity to buckle down and create a new schedule that reflects your new day to day. 
Regardless of if the kids are heading into the classroom or getting ready to log on from the kitchen routine and schedule for everyone at home will help create the change you need from the past summer we all faced.
Start with wake up and bed times and stick to them! While weekends can still be for those late night movies or extra time playing video games, Monday to Friday should resemble a routine similar to what may have been in place in previous years. Ensuring this will also lead to a breakfast and dinner routine and now that you’re working from home you can even enjoy the additional family time during these meals whereas you may be rushing to grab a coffee and head out the door in other years. 
With the kids back to learning, you may have to also shift your working hours to allow for pick up times from school or from the bus stop. An easy way to do this is to block off your work calendar for this time slot so that meetings won’t be missed and have the discussion with your team members so that everyone is in the loop. This may mean that you’ll need to put in some extra time before your typical start time or after dinner but it will help you to stay organized and on time both for work commitments and school ones. 
Similarly, if your little ones are virtually learning, they may need some extra attention when it comes to logging, problems with the WiFi, unmuting or any of the other IT related issues you likely had to deal with when you began the work-from-home process earlier this year! Banking a little bit of extra time in the morning and around lunchtime can help with this.

Change it Up

While wearing your PJs may feel like a sensible choice as you continue to work from home, try and make it a habit to have everyone in the household change their clothes each morning! If the kids are heading back to class this becomes a no brainer but if they are going to be learning online set out their school clothes so that they feel the difference between being in school versus being at home. This is a great opportunity for you as the parents to also get changed up. While your office attire is likely not going to make the cut, you can opt for comfortable top and jogging pants, tights or jeans as an option for work time. 

Prep Meals Ahead of Time

Another great way to adjust to the change of back to school for the kids while continuing to work remotely is to pre plan your meals.  Chopping up vegetables and storing them for use throughout the week or preparing meats and keeping, them frozen until you need to use them are all easy ways to cut down meal preparation time as schedules may be getting a bit busier. When it comes to lunch, sandwiches are always an easy night before meal staple supplemented with snacks, cheese and fruits. Whether your little one is in the classroom or at home here are some quick and easy meals for anytime of the day featuring Wonder® bread Non-GMO sliced breads and buns.

Get Your Body Moving

Now that there may not be any kids around to chase after between your video conference calls, you may find yourself sitting for a majority of the day. Make a habit to take breaks (around the same time every day). Take 15-20 min in the morning and afternoon, and aim for an hour or 45 min around lunch. Go for a walk, if the weather is favourable, or do a quick low-intensity workout online. The important part here is to move. If you wanted to take moving one-step further, get yourself a watch with a pedometer integrated in it. Some of these even have reminders that alert you when you’ve been still for too long. 

Create a Work Space

If you haven’t already, it’s time to claim a spot of your own for a home office. Having one designated spot to work from will get your mind used to going to that place to work, and to work only. It will help reduce distractions, and keep you efficient. Hopefully for you, that place is away from the TV or the bedroom. Ideally, it is in a room on its own, but if you do not have that available, the dining room or the kitchen table are great alternatives. It’s important not to set up your work space in your bedroom or in front of the TV and keep it as free from distractions as possible. 
This also goes for the kiddos if they are learning from home.
Check out some additional tips for heading back to school during COVID


Stay In the Loop

One of the best things about working in an office was water cooler chats or lunch breaks with coworkers. Don’t be afraid to call a colleague to touch base, or ask everyone to turn on their cameras during a meeting to get as close to a face to face chat as possible. Seeing each other and keeping those conversations and connections going, even though you’re not physically near, will help make you feel less alone at home and more connected to the outside world.

Ways to work from home, things to remember: 

  • Create a family and work schedule, and stick to it
  • Get ready for work in the morning although a lot more casual than normal!
  • Take breaks, and move your body
  • Create a space at home that is dedicated for working