Routine is everything

June 2020

So how’s the homeworking going? Our friends at Mindful Education have some solid advice on being productive while staying sane at the same time.

While many have welcomed the opportunity to work from home during the coronavirus outbreak, it has proven a challenge for families with young (and not-so-young) children who are also at home as a result of school and college closures.

The once-distinct line between work and home has become blurred, with kitchens, spare rooms and living rooms across the country now serving as makeshift offices and classrooms. This can be particularly confusing for younger children, who are used to having their parents’ full attention when they’re at home.

Here are a few tips to help you stay productive at work, and keep the kids happy

Get into a routine

Perhaps the most touted working from home tip, setting a routine is particularly important when children are involved.

There is plenty of advice out there about how to set the perfect routine, but they’re rarely suitable for everyone, so you may have to devise your own. Aim for a routine that suits everyone in your household and try to stick to it as best you can – though allow enough flexibility to enable that last minute conference call with your boss, or your toddler’s refusal to nap on demand.

Get the kids involved!

While you don’t want them running the next client pitch, getting your children involved in your work may help them understand that you are in work mode. Simple indicators such as having your work notebooks out, or even what you’re wearing can help children recognise that you are not available to play until you’ve tidied away and changed into your jeans.

If you’re lucky enough to have your own office space, you could ask younger children to help you to make a sign (red/green for example, or a clock showing the time that you’ll be finished for the day) for the door that shows them when you can and can’t be disturbed. Getting them involved in the sign’s creation will help them better understand its meaning and take it more seriously.

Communicate with your colleagues

With much of the country currently working from home, hopefully your colleagues are understanding of the challenges that being a WFH parent can pose. It may be stressful for you, but chances are, your colleagues won’t mind at all when your child appears in your meeting asking for ice cream.

To avoid any conflict, make sure you communicate any changes to your working hours, or when you expect to be away from your desk. Of course, even the best laid plans can quickly be undone by children, so try to allow flexibility in your schedule where you can.


If your partner (or other adult you live with) is also working from home, make sure you let them know if there is a period of time during the day (such as an important meeting or strict deadline) that you need to remain undisturbed. Knowing that they will be on hand to deal with any toddler meltdowns or home-schooling queries will alleviate some of the stress. Keep the lines of communication open, and make sure you return the favour!”

• Thanks to Mindful Education for this article