Tips for Working From Home with a Baby
Many parents in the UK are now working at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. The lockdown has presented several challenges in day to day lives of many families. When the UK introduced the lockdown, many people adjusted to the new normal. For millions of UK parents, this included taking care of their children and homeschooling while working.
Those who have newborns or young children (under 36 months) and chose to work from home, it’s not easy to balance work and life. Even for the best multitaskers, this is a huge challenge. For example, when you’re on Zoom with colleagues, they’ll get entertained by your little ones running in the background.
Research shows that 20% of UK parents with school-aged children said their work got disrupted in part because of having to work around child care. During the lockdown, UK parents were twice likely to be furloughed, unlike those without children.
What you ought to know is that others are in the same boat. To help you navigate the work-parent from home lifestyle, here are a few tips for working from home with a baby.
Put Your Baby on a Nap Schedule
One way to achieve work-life balance with a baby is to put your baby on a nap schedule. A 2-month-old baby sleeps 14 to 17 hours a day. This includes four to six naps. As she grows, day and night confusion will start subsiding. Her sleeping pattern will start to settle into a rough pattern of 60 to 90 minutes of awake time.
The best moment to implement a sleep schedule is when your baby is 4 to 6 months old. There is no one size fits all baby sleep schedule. Develop a schedule that works for you and your family.
Always Keep Your Baby Close
Keeping your baby close helps with their development. Brain development for most babies happens in the first few weeks after birth. Besides brain development, keeping the baby close reduces a mother’s stress levels. If working from home, always keep the baby close. We recommend buying a Wrap Baby Carrier or an all position baby carrier. It keeps your baby closer and makes it easy to breastfeed.
Have a Flexible Work Schedule
To achieve success while working from home:
- Have a flexible work schedule.
- Do not set fixed hours.
- Prepare to work strange hours.
For example, you may need to sleep between 9 AM to noon with your baby and work between 6 PM to midnight. What you need to remember is that this is temporary.
Mute Your Gadgets
Most people who work from home have the habit of switching on devices such as TVs, home theatres and others. While the sound may act as white noise while working, it’s absolutely of no benefit for your baby’s sleep. This is true if the sound level is more than 50dB. A quiet conversation is 50db, home appliances is 60dB, and freeway traffic is 70dB. To ensure your baby sleeps peacefully, mute your gadgets.
Working and taking care of your baby or young children can affect your sleep, result in excess hormones and more. To have peace of mind, stay positive. Having a positive mindset is important to keep your cool to take care of your baby, and work from home. To have a positive mindset, focus on good things, practice gratitude, start your day on a positive note and practice positive self-talk.
Take a Break
When your baby goes to sleep, it’s an opportunity to get some work done. Between projects, take regular breaks. This will help you to be more productive. Taking a break helps you gain focus and energy. It also prevents an unproductive afternoon slump.
Before starting your day, take a few minutes to write down your tasks in order of priority. You can schedule two-handed tasks such as interviews and taking notes when your baby naps and tasks such as keyboarding when your baby is in a sling. For less critical work, choose a time like the weekend when your partner can help you.
Share the Load With Family and Friends
Working from home and juggling childcare is not easy, especially if you’re a single parent. Even when you set your baby on a nap schedule and prioritise your tasks, the workload is too much. For single parents, it’s wise to share the load with family and friends. This will give you time to focus and accomplish more tasks.
Hire a Nanny
Besides sharing the load with family and friends, you can hire a nanny. Many UK families have a full-time nanny while others have an after school live out or part-time nanny. Having a nanny will allow you to focus on your work and ensure you achieve your work goals. This gives you time to focus on your baby or children later.
Hire a Personal Assistant
Getting a little extra help can make your projects or tasks run more smoothly. Personal assistants are flexible and available for work during unsociable work hours. They can answer phone calls, organise travel, plan meetings, take notes, write minutes and more. Hiring an experienced personal assistant is expensive. But if you offer a young graduate paid internship as your assistant, you can have more time to focus on your projects and newborn.
Use Technology to Your Benefit
At home, you’re probably using a lot of tech to manage your projects. For example, virtual meetings (Zoom), communication (Skype), and more. If you have a bouncer or baby swing, you can pick music that appeals to you and the baby. Check out this song that was scientifically designed to make babies happy.
Work in 5 to 10 Minutes Increments
Days of sitting for an hour or more in front of the computer for concentration are gone. With a newborn or young child, you need to learn how to work in 5 to 10-minute increments. For example, you can catch up on emails while the baby plays or video conference on Zoom during naps.
Be Open and Honest With Your Clients
It’s essential to inform your clients that you recently had a baby. Being open and honest with your clients helps you gain their loyalty and earn their trust. They also tend to be supportive and understanding. For example, clients may extend project deadlines or assign less demanding tasks.
Learn to Switch Gears Quickly
It’s hard to predict what will happen next when working with a newborn or young children. This is because every newborn or child has a different set of needs and personality. Some newborns need your attention constantly, while others are independent from the start. This may interrupt your focus. When your baby needs you, learn to switch gears quickly. Play, look and enjoy with your baby, then return to work.
Have patience with your newborn, with your spouse, with yourself and the present circumstances. Patience gives you space and time for reflection. It allows you to assess things and thoughts, not as setbacks. But as learning experiences. Furthermore, patience allows for improved self-esteem and better time management.
Dress for Work
Dress professionally as you would for your 9 to 5 job. Doing so will help you feel like you’re at work. It also helps you break your day and get your mindset for work. In the evening, you can change into casual clothes. Separating your work and home life will help you focus on your projects and your responsibilities as a parent.
Prepare in Advance
There are certain tasks you can prepare in advance, such as cooking. You can prepare snacks, lunches and dinner in advance when you have time to spare. By having meals ready, you can save time and stay focused on your duties.
Set up a Conducive Work Environment
It’s essential that you set up your work environment to be conducive for your job and newborn. You can prepare a spare room as your home office or set up your home office in your garage. In your home office, have a bouncer or baby swing, tissues, a blanket, and a nursing pillow.
One of the top distractions, when you work from home is social media. Unless you’re a social media marketer, spending time on social media when you have work to do and a newborn to take care of is distracting. If you can remove time-wasters such as social media during work hours, you can spare time for chores and the newborn.
Learn to Run Your Business With One Hand
If you’re a freelance writer, copywriter, SEO specialist, blogger or affiliate marketer, learn to run your business with one hand. Creating content means spending a couple of hours on your keyboard. With a newborn, this is challenging but not impossible. If you teach yourself to type with one hand, you can continue creating content, although it might take longer.
Working from home with a newborn means you’ve to be more creative in how you use your time. You don’t have to do everything perfectly. No one can. All you need to do is manage your time to complete your task and spend time with your baby.
Take Time for Yourself
When working at home and caring for your baby, it’s natural to get cabin fever. If you can, take time for yourself. When the baby is napping, take time to do something for yourself. You can read a book, listen to music, watch a TV or move, do some exercise or have a pampering bath.
To save time, shop for groceries and other items online. Supermarkets such as ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsbury, and Tesco allow you to shop online and deliver your order right to your doorstep.
Learn How to Say No
When it comes to getting things done, you need to learn how to say no. Productive parenting means using your time wisely. Being selfish about your time until your schedule is more flexible is highly encouraged. For example, if your friend invites you for a social function, you can decline. Instead, spend the day cuddling or playing with your baby or catching up on sleep.
Ditch the Guilt
Despite your best efforts, don’t be hard on yourself for not spending every single second with your baby. Also, you should build your day around the worst-case scenario and not the best-case scenario. Carving out a few hours of the day to focus on your baby and business is essential.
Working from home with a baby is challenging, but it has its upsides. First, you get to spend time with your baby and watch him grow. Second, you can sneak in snuggle time anytime you want. Third, you can reduce or eliminate child care costs. Lastly, working from home saves on commuting and other costs.
Remember, don’t be afraid to ask for extra help from family and friends. Take breaks and make time for yourself.