Top tips for working from home (with kids!)
Hybrid work comes with a lot of challenges. From trying to build connected teams in virtual workplaces to creating work spaces that are separate from our personal lives, so many of us have faced a whole new world of challenges over a short period of time. And that's before kids come into the picture.

We've talked a lot about creating effective hybrid teams — but what does work from home mean from a family perspective? Already we know that having children can pose a big challenge to women returning to work. Childcare can often out-price women from returning to the workplace. In some ways, that makes hybrid work an opportunity to have the best of both worlds. Until the reality of homeschooling, managing workplace interruptions and dealing with the stress of two jobs at once kicks in.

We chatted to time management expert Kate Christie to get her top tips for working from home with little ones.
Plan your days together
Interruptions from little ones is expected, but in Kate's experience even older kids can get in the way of a professional work day. She experienced this first-hand when one of her teenage sons walked past a webinar she was running in only his boxer shorts. According to Kate — mortifying. She's since taken proactive steps to plan her day alongside her children's days to minimise disruptions as much as possible.

"From when they're sort of three or four or older it's really important right now that you sit down with them and plan your day and plan your week. And I would do that first thing in the morning," says Kate.

"The reason why I want you to do this is that you're basically bringing your kids on the journey and you're putting them on the same page as you in terms of, you know, mum or dad has to do some work at the moment but let's work out a calendar for our day so that we're spending plenty of time together as well."
If you have a partner, be deliberate in your shared planning
Sure, managing work from home alongside a partner can be a challenge of its own. But if you are lucky enough to be sharing the work-from-home load with another person, be realistic and open about planning your workdays. Know when one of you has an important meeting, and consider which times of the day you need to dedicate to focussed work.
"You can sort of share the kids between you so then you're with your partner, you've got to batch time that you're working versus when they're with the kids and visa versa," says Kate. "Think about the time of the day you're at your best as well. So if you're more of a morning person then you want to batch that time for your more productive, complicated, important, strategic work. So that's when you want the kids to be focused on something that they're really going to, that's going to maintain their focus."
Be kind to yourself
So much has changed overnight. And while working from home with children may be on the cards for a while, be kind to yourself as you get used to the process. It may feel like it's been a long time, but in the scheme of your career and life these changes are still really recent.

"We're not working in a normal kind of paradigm and neither are your kids, so there's going to be a lot of uncertainty. So you're going to have to go with the flow a fair bit on this," says Kate. "Be flexible. And be kind. Things like some of your more stringent rules, think about relaxing them. You know, if you're very anti having your kids watching TV or playing on a device or whatever, but you know, you have to get this, be in a meeting with your boss for 40 minutes, relax the rules a little bit and just allow that, still as a treat, so that your kids are quiet and they enjoy that TV time, but you have to kind of have a bit of a reward system going at the moment."

Kindness is also important to keep in mind when batching your work day. If you have the morning scheduled for Zoom calls, remember to batch in time to take the kids or dog for a walk, go outside and get fresh air too. It's all about balance — and you want to reap the positives from working alongside your children just as much as managing the negatives.

The good news is that so many people are experiencing these new work challenges alongside you, so there is lots of room for empathy and understanding. Let your colleagues know the challenges you're facing and share your tips with one another. Building community and sharing resources is a great way to build connection and thrive in new ways of working (that's why we love our community-based livestreams and Circles groups). Be open, be kind, and be realistic about your time.