Everyone who can work from home is working from home right now—but not all of them are working from home with children. Being a new parent is overwhelming in itself, but discovering you’ll be staying home when you thought you’d be headed back to the office brings a whole new set of challenges. To help you out, we’ve come up with these tips for working from home with a baby.
While Google and other applications can respond to voice commands or queries and you can put your phone on speaker, you still will need two hands most of the time to work from home when your work involves a keyboard. The many choices available now for baby carriers, slings, and wraps make it easy to find one that’s comfortable for you to use while working with your baby snuggled against your chest. Consider investing in a stand-up desk or laptop holder that makes it possible for you to bounce or sway while wearing your baby to soothe and lull baby to sleep.
Strict evening bedtime scheduling for you and your baby should make it possible for you to work through daytime naps. Make a plan that has you working on your most intense projects, the ones that need deep concentration and focus, while the baby is asleep. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t finish before the baby wakes up. The point is to make as much progress as possible while uninterrupted.
With careful use of the mute button, you can participate in conference calls and video meetings without baby sounds interrupting. Try to convince your colleagues to schedule such meetings during naptime, and use any leftover time that your baby is sleeping to motor through as much work as possible before the baby wakes up.
With a supportive partner, it is possible to set up a home office, define it as your space alone, and set regular work, break, and meal schedules. Use a separate space for work you can do while also doing something for your baby. Nursing pillows and the right kind of cushions can transform a chair or couch into a multitasking workspace. Baby can breastfeed while you use a laptop and one hand to work on slower tasks like online research, rather than writing that requires both hands for typing. Use technology to enable hands-free work as much as possible.
A swing, bouncy chair, or a special baby-safe cushion made for putting your infant down somewhere close where you can see them can literally take the weight off your shoulders after you’ve been wearing your baby for a while. Baby toys that twirl or spin might keep your child entranced for long enough to finish a report or make some calls. Never leave a baby unattended in any baby chair, cushion, or swing; they are just there to free up your hands (and arms and legs) for a while to let you work at your desk while keeping baby within view while you work.
With some creativity, patience, and flexibility, you can make working from home with a baby succeed for you.