Working from home as a mom is a privilege but can come with its headaches. It can be hard to achieve a work-life balance when both worlds are under the same roof. Here are four essential tips for working moms to make the most of their work-from-home spaces.
No Toys/Kids’ Items
Your home office should be a private sanctuary. While you can hang up photos of your kids or their drawings, you don’t want to let toys, clothes or other children’s items wander into your professional space. They can constantly remind you of things you need to do or put away. It’s also an excuse for your little ones to interrupt you during a meeting.
Walking through your office door should feel like entering a portal into a private working space. A personalized, professional environment can help you focus on your occupational duties. Consider placing things you can’t have in other parts of the house in your office, like glass decor or a diffuser for your favorite essential oils. Just ensure you lock the door at the end of your workday or place a camera inside to catch any young explorers.
One of the pros of working from home is many jobs let you juggle your workday with child-rearing. If you have a baby or toddler you must supervise, consider dedicating a set area of the office to their items so you aren’t as surrounded by teethers or diapers.
Manage Outside Noise
Turning your mom-brain off is hard, especially when your children are outside the door. If your kids are home while you work, chances are someone else is there to care for them or they’re old enough to care for their basic needs.
Whether your children play, argue or use loud media sources, you must tune it out when you have your professional cap on. There are ways to reduce the outside noise that gets into your office.
Thickening your walls by placing furniture against them can limit the sound waves that get into the room. You can also put thick curtains or tapestries against them. Consider investing in noise-canceling headphones, or playing background noise like instrumentals or nature sounds. You could also set up a “quiet zone” around your office where your children will know to keep it down.
Try to create your office as far away from the main portion of the house as possible. Investing in upgrades for your garage or basement could see a significant return on investment in the future. For example, a garage door with a higher R-value could get you back as much as 85% of your initial cost.
Use A Non-Invasive Form of Communication
One of the advantages of working from home is you’re nearby if needed. However, you last need to hear “Hey, Mom,” when you’re at an important meeting. Consider installing a quiet form of communication, such as a two-way light. Kids can turn the lamp or switch on when they need your attention. You could also put something outside the door when you only want emergency interruptions.
Notes under the door can also be fun to connect with your little ones. If you can’t leave a project, you can set up a “mail system” for them to deliver their messages and respond with your notes. You could also utilize your smart home system. For example, if you have music playing through devices around the home, you can have someone turn it off if they need to address you.
Texting is an easy way to share information if your kids are at school or a babysitter’s home. However, phones are a common WFH distraction. Consider turning your ringer up and placing it in a closet or the next room. That way, you’ll hear if someone tries to reach you, but it won’t be in your sight. Finding a way to communicate as necessary without interrupting your workflow could be the key to maintaining your productivity.
Create An Ergonomic Setup
An ergonomic workspace can benefit any office worker, but it’s even more important for moms who often have to move quickly when caring for little ones. A 2021 survey found 40% of WFH employees don’t have a dedicated desk. Not customizing a set-up for your needs can be a physical and mental pain.
You can improve your overall ergonomics by focusing on the following categories:
- Physical: The parts of physical ergonomics include posture, how you handle materials, how often you move, your office layout and safety. An adjustable desk, supportive chair and moveable monitor are just some of the items to optimize your comfort throughout the work day.
- Organizational: This type of ergonomics involves your office set-up, schedule, workflow and communication. Keeping an organized workspace allows you to complete tasks without wasting time searching for items or handling misunderstandings.
- Cognitive: Your physical and organizational setup can impact your cognitive ergonomics. Elements of cognitive ergonomics include stress, productivity and decision-making. You can improve it by keeping a clear work space, using calming sounds, scents and decor, and taking breaks throughout the day.
Investing your time and money in products or strategies that optimize ergonomics can help you easily transition between “working mom” and “mom.”
Creating Your WFH Space
Your home office set-up should be a haven away from the loveable chaos having kids can bring. Designing your space to feel professional, private, comfortable and personal can help you balance both roles.
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