Sick Kid? 3 Tips for Working From Home – Without a Home Office

Posted on January 30, 2017

Millions of people are expected to have the flu this year, and many of the men and women who become sick will wind up missing work as a result. But for parents, it’s not just their own illnesses that pose a problem – they have to be ready to take off work when their children become ill as well. In fact, a recent survey found about half of parents expect to miss some work this year as a result of their child’s illnesses, and as many as a third said they feared their absences could have an impact on their job security and other issues like raises and advancements.

Fortunately, the advent of the internet has made it easier for some parents to work from home during a child’s illness, but that still doesn’t make it a bed of roses. There are plenty of ways to get distracted, and that can take a toll on your productivity. If you have kids, here are a few things you can do to improve your work-at-home routine (even if you don’t have a dedicated home office)  so you can still maintain productivity while nursing a sick child back to health:

  • Dedicate a (relatively) quiet home office space for your work. If that means you take over the dining room or a corner of the bedroom, so be it. Clear away clutter and set up a temporary home office where you can spread out papers and connect to the internet in peace.
  • Set your priorities. Identify which tasks require your attention now and which can be postponed until you return to your workplace. Delegate when you can, and be ready to help out others when they need to stay home to care for their own children. Establishing a network of helpful colleagues can go a long way toward preventing you from feeling worn out and stressed.
  • Stay connected. Let your superiors know what’s going on, including your progress on daily tasks and when you plan to return to work. Set specific times to check in each day via telephone or email, or set up videoconferencing so you don’t miss important meetings.
  • Take care of yourself. Caring for a sick child takes a lot of energy and it’s easy to get worn down and tired out. Next thing you, know, you’re nursing your own illness and missing more days from work. To avoid getting sick, be sure to take time to rest, focus on healthy foods and snacks, and get plenty of fluids.

Caring for sick kids is part of your job as a parent, but that doesn’t mean your “real” job has to suffer. Use these tips and, perhaps most importantly, be prepared, so when those inevitable childhood illnesses strike, you’ll be ready.