As more and more people begin working from home, professionals have found themselves facing a tough learning curve:
How to work from home with kids – who are also at home.
Knack Blog Series on Remote Work
The Knack team is made up of a 100% remote workforce, and we thought it would be helpful to share our experience and tips on adjusting to remote work. (You can check out our first post on burnout, here.) Below, team members have shared their experiences and tips.
New Father, Zeke Camusio
Zeke heads up various initiatives at Knack, with a lot of his work focused on data analytics. Zeke became a new dad last year, and the team has loved getting updates about his son!
Zeke and his wife, Marissa, had a bit of an adjustment period with the addition to their family. Here’s some honest advice Zeke has for parents who are adapting to working remotely:
Adjust Your Expectations & Prioritize
Chances are you won’t be able to do as much with distractions as you would without them. Start by accepting this.
Because you won’t be able to get as much done, it is essential that you prioritize. Ask yourself, “If I can only do 3 things today, what would they be?”
Focus your limited capacity on high-impact projects.
Reframe the Situation
Is this the worst thing that happened to you, or a challenge that will help you work on your patience, unite your family, and develop your communication skills? We don’t control how long this situation lasts, but we control how we respond to it.
Dad of Two, Keith Bristol
Keith Bristol is the CDO of Knack, and he shares some pretty funny parenting moments on his Twitter. Keith has two daughters, ages 10 and 12. They’re very busy kids (they play soccer competitively), so Keith has had years of experience working remotely and parenting.
Putting on My Dad Hat
My first tip is to be fully present when it is family time. This means that when we’re eating dinner phones are put away, and I’m not checking email in the midst of a family game night.
I “shut off” from work, typically around 5:30 or 6:00. Once I walk out of my office, I only wear my “dad hat.” It’s important to be engaged when you’re not working. I will then typically work again once the kids are in bed.
“You’re Always Working!”
No parent wants to hear this. I make sure they understand it’s a benefit for me to be working from home and I’d be doing the same thing at an office, they just won’t see me doing it. They seem to understand that. Most of the time. :-)
Share What You’re Working On
Instead of just saying, “I’m working!” to my kids, I show them what I’m working on and explain business strategies to them. I’ll show them website code, an email I’m sending, etc. It makes it clear that I’m actually doing something on my computer.
My kids love to read so sometimes they will come into my office and read when they get home from school. Many times they will overhear a phone call and ask questions when I get off the phone. It’s a great time to teach them how businesses run and how to face challenges. Take time to explain things to your kids, it’s so valuable for them to hear real life happen and it’s amazing what they understand.
Right now is a great time to teach them how businesses run and how to face challenges.
Also, it never hurts to engage them, if it makes sense for the business. My oldest daughter has been making videos for the Knack TikTok!
It’s also important to keep those furry kids close to you as you work. My dog always makes me smile. Yes, he’s a Trail Blazers fan!
Bonus: Creating a Kid-Friendly Company Culture
From Founder, Chad Mellen: My youngest daughter is in junior high, so she’s not really interested in interrupting me to find out what I’m doing.
That said, I do understand the stresses that come with working from home with kids. At Knack, here are a few things we’ve done to promote a more kid-friendly culture:
- Flexible Schedules: We only have one “written in stone” meeting every week and it’s only for an hour. Other than that, we support our team working their schedules around family commitments. It doesn’t matter when the work gets done, as long as it gets done on time while also being respectful of other team members.
- Flexible Meetings: Kids can do the darnedest things, and sometimes a team member will need to reschedule a call at the last minute. At Knack, we roll with the punches and are fine with rescheduling later.
- Talk about Kids: Our team travels a lot, and they often travel with their kids. I make sure to ask about how family trips went and sometimes team members will share pictures on our #General Slack chat. We also start many of our Hangouts with a general discussion of what our kids are doing.
Tips from Knackpackers
We sent out an email asking Knackpackers for their tips, and here's what they shared:
From Roxanne Salazar: "I have my youngest help with cooking whenever possible and we do math by doubling a recipe. These are good exercises to help her work on math skills. In addition to these exercises I also have her help plan dinner or meals or what we are doing on the weekend. It brings normalcy to the situation and also gets us doing an activity together."
Other Knackpackers, like Trent Burton, have taken advantage of all of the cardboard from items shipped to his home by making a slide for his young kids (ages 1 and 3) to play with while he is on conference calls. They're occupied with a fun new activity, while dad works!
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What to Read Next - Remote Work Series
Here's a list of the other posts in this series:
- Pace Yourself: How to Avoid Burnout When Working from Home
- No Home Office? Here’s How to Create a Workspace at Home
- From the Founder: How Leaders Can Ensure Results for a Newly Remote Company
- Staying Connected & Combatting Loneliness - A Guide for Newly Remote Workers
- How to Manage Operations & Customer Service as a Newly Remote Company