Working from home with kids

Like most people in world doing something tech related I’m working from home now due to the whole COVID-19 thing. As of next week most kindergartens and schools will be closing here in Vienna and parents will need to make working from home with kids at home work somehow.

I’ve been doing 1-2 days of home-office per week for a while now and with 3 kids (4yo, 2yo, 4mo) home all day I do have some kind of experience of the whole thing so I thought I’d share a few things that I’ve found important.

Note that I’m not actively looking after the kids while working.

Room with door

You’ve got to have room to work with a door that closes. If you don’t have enough rooms to have a dedicated office find a corner somewhere to put a small desk. I managed to squeeze in a MICKE in our bedroom.

There are not many desk measuring in at 73x50cm

There are not many desk measuring in at 73x50cm

Our boys (4yo & 2yo) actually do understand and respect that their favourite place for acrobatics is off limits when I’m working and rarely disturb me. 🚪

Noise Cancelling Earphones

We have two boys who have a tendency to get loud when playing which might make it harder to focus on some problem you’re trying to solve. Using any kind of noise cancelling earphones can really make a huge difference. I got the new AirPods Pro and often use them at home with nothing on simply with the noise cancelling active. 🎧

Enjoy breaks with the family

One of the reasons why I started working from home was to spend a bit more time with the family. Since you don’t waste any time on commuting you actually do have some extra time. So don’t forget to enjoy eating breakfast or lunch with your partner and kids. 🥗

Let the kids know you’re in a call

To avoid your kids running into your room in the middle of some call or meeting it helps to simply explain to them that you’re talking to some other people and they will need to wait until after the meeting if they want something from you.

Other tips and references

  • Make sure you’re comfortable. I’m using an old Griffin iCurve to get my MacBook Pro to a comfortable height.
  • Get out of the house. I try and go for a run in the morning to get some fresh air. It’s very easy to realise in the evening that you have not yet been outside.
  • Read Remote - Office not required by Jason Fried and DHH.
  • Tips from Marco Arment for people generally new to working from home.

I hope you enjoy working from home and that you might continue doing so even after its safe to return to the office.