Updated June 2021
When summer starts, parents that work from home start to wonder “is summer good or is summer bad?” Even with the pandemic slowing and virtual school ending, it’s time to shift into the summer schedule.
When kids start summer vacations, the home office turns into a grand play area. This can turn into a nightmare for work-from-home parents as they start to consider how to manage or counter the children-at-home issue. Kids can be a distraction. At times, it is more challenging to ignore them or ask them not to disturb your work. While you probably figured out how to deal with this during the school year and perhaps last summer, with people (and kids) getting out again it’s time for another pivot.
It can be difficult for families of independent or remote workers to understand their work routine. Kids may not understand that you have professional and office priorities and need to fulfill them like any other office-going professional with fixed working hours.
The are ways to manage your work routine and/or find alternatives to shift your work or your workplace.
Engage Your Kids
During the school year, your children have a routine of school, homework, extra curricular activities and home. However, during the summertime, kids seem to think that they (and you!) are free of every task and worry of school. All they need to do is have fun and play.
Keeping kids engaged with different activities is a good start. These activities may be indoor, outdoor or a mix of both and should keep your children busy physically and mentally. For example, give them some complex puzzle problems to solve, ask them to build a small house for your pet or paint a fence. A project of clearing the yard helps you both and could provide a reward of a gift, outing or incentive in return.
Find a Balance
Trying to find a work around your work load is a must while considering summer vacations. Is it possible to shift your work to fewer days of the week? Contemplate some vacation days or exchange your workload in return for a reasonable favor with a coworker. It is possible to outsource some work for a few days or weeks so that you can take some days off along with the kids?
When you are playing with the kids, you will probably worry that your work is suffering while, just as often, you are concerned about neglecting your kids and feel guilty of not giving them your full time and attention.
As Alkaloid member Pete shares, he doesn’t have the discipline to keep from playing too.
Remember that vacations are for everyone! Parents also need time out from the busy schedules and work routine. It is always better to manage your annual calendar or arrange your work for family vacations.
Be Involved with Your Kids
Whatever your work arrangement turns out to be during the summer, spare as much time as you can for your family and children. When you are with your kids, be with them both physically and mentally. Don’t let your children think that you are always in work-mode and don’t have any time for them. Don’t let the office intrude with issues via phone, email or a laptop. When you spend time with your kids, make it high-quality and well spent so you and your kids can enjoy it fully and remember the fun.
Make a Schedule
Schedule work and free time for both your children and yourself. Limit any overlapping time in both schedules so you can enjoy a fun activity such as cycling, cooking, gardening or perfecting cannonballs at the neighborhood pool. Ask the kids to make a video or picture diary of the summer to share on social media or appreciate on cold winter nights.
Consider a Coworking space
If none of the ideas above work for you, then consider joining a coworking community in your neighborhood. Coworking allows parents (and non-parents) to make best use of their time while being more productive and resourceful. Coworking members can create a work/life balance between the office and home which can be difficult to achieve while working from home.
With all the facilities and environment of an office, coworking spaces frequently offer flexibility of either part time or monthly plans per your requirements. Not just a physical space, coworking can provide a rich community of like minded people while also having differing ideas and thoughts.
Summer can be a wonderful time to enjoy and reconnect with your family and kids after the routine of work. If you can’t balance vacation time with your kids, then consider all the other options (including coworking) and have the most wonderful summer adventures.