Father working from home while homeschooling his child during COVID

As companies transition employees to work from home during the global coronavirus pandemic, many employees face the added responsibility of homeschooling their children as well. For those who have homeschooled their children and worked from home, they know it is no easy task. But for the rest of the world, who are facing work from home and homeschooling for the first time, the challenges can seem insurmountable. They aren’t! Let’s explore some tips on how you can successfully work from home while conquering the challenge of homeschooling your children.

Structure with Flexibility

Longtime homeschoolers know this secret. While structure and flexibility sound like polar opposites, they aren’t! It all begins with a plan, one in which you, your partner, and your children are involved. Talk about the current situation, which is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. Your children need to understand that it’s not a vacation, and school will be in session. As parents, you’ll need to build some fun into each day, something you aren’t likely used to doing in your typical workday.

Now, on to the plan. Everyone needs to give input, from ideas on educational activities outside of assigned schoolwork, to ways your children can work or entertain themselves independently so you can get your work done. Your strategic plan should include specific times for meals, work, schoolwork, play, exercise, chores, and screen time. As to the flexibility part, homeschooling is fluid in the sense that nearly everything you do in a day is a learning opportunity. Exercise is physical education, cooking can be math or health science, and chores can be skills training or science as you discuss how disinfecting protects your family from getting sick. For parents, fluidity also comes into play, as you’ll need a plan for working while the children are occupied with activities that don’t require your supervision. You might even consider working before the kids are up or after they head to bed if your employer permits that kind of flexibility.

Employers Can Help!

If you are an employer working from home, you can support your staff while they do the same. Allow for flexibility, allowing staff to work super early or late into the evening, if possible. Talk to your employees about scheduling teleconferences and phone calls during times when their children are occupied with independent activities. Rather than expecting your staff to put in a 40-hour week, pay them for the hours as long as they get all their assignments completed. Keep in mind the goal is to keep your business operating successfully, as much as is possible, given the current conditions. So, getting their work done efficiently and taking care of their families may be more important than making sure they get in 40 hours. We’re all in this together, and if we work together, we can come out on the other side of it successfully.

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