HomeAdviceHow to Work From Home: The Helpful Advice Every Mom Needs

How to Work From Home: The Helpful Advice Every Mom Needs

Discover how real moms are adjusting to working from home and learn the strategies they are using to find a work/life balance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to Work From Home: The Helpful Advice Every Mom Needs

Today’s working world is unrecognisable. The hustle and bustle are on the back-burner and the once busy office parks, corporates and businesses continue to linger in eerie limbo as the third month of Lockdown looms. However, as we’ve grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve found new ways of working – predominantly working-from-home (WFH).

While many have relished this new way of working, for working moms, WFH has come with an entirely new set of daily challenges. To unearth the real-life stories and struggles facing moms working-from-home, we turned to the experts – the working moms in the iK Tribe – to ask their advice on overcoming the daily dilemma of striking the perfect work/life balance from home.

  1. Have a Plan

Whether you’re in the corporate world or an entrepreneur, planning is a key component in your success. Now in the new WFH culture, it is more important than ever for moms who are experiencing an increasing demand for their time. According to our expert, the best way to make it through the day is to find order in the chaos.

Our expert says:

“I believe sticking to your schedule is very important. Postponing things is a no, no. Set boundaries with your kids, but make time for them as much as you can so they don’t feel neglected” – Thulisile Lushaba, Working Mom and Finance Assistant at iKhokha
  1. Create a Workspace

Studies show that setting up a designated workspace is essential for long-term WFH success. In an ideal world, everyone would have a home office. But, in reality, most WFH working moms are ‘setting up shop’ at their kitchen counters or dining room tables. Nevertheless, try to create a permanent or semi-permanent space that is just for work, so you can find the focus you need.

Our expert says:

“I sit at a desk with no disruptions around me. I am dedicated to that space as my home working desk. It allows me to ‘leave’ at the end of the day and go be with my family” – Yashmica Roy, Working Mom and Marketing Manager at iKhokha
  1. Set a Time for Activities

According to Independent UK writer, Sarah Young, “Both children and adults thrive on routines, so it’s important to set some kind of structure for the day”. Cut down on interruptions by setting a time for activities with your kids. Scheduling fun, bonding activities will bring structure to both your days and give your kids something to look forward to. It’ll also give you a handy bargaining chip if you need it!

Our expert says:

“I allocate times in the day to do activities with my son. Each day we do something fun, baking cookies, painting, colouring. The little things really do go a long way” – Reba Naidoo, Working Mom and Product Owner at iKhokha

  1. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

“At the start of each week we are going to mark out the hours we need to be at a computer for conference calls/meetings and see if the other one can be with the children,” says Emma Conway, blogger and author of Will I Ever Pee Alone Again.

Couples should share the load when managing the kids. Shifts will help you structure your workday. If you’re lucky, you may even get a rare moment of peace and quiet.

Our expert says:

“My husband and I tag-team so we each get a good amount of quality time in with our kids as individuals. It also allows the other person to have a few minutes to themselves” – Lindsay Johnson, Working Mom and Head of Growth at iKhokha
  1. Avoid Overworking

According to Professors Erin Kelly and Phyllis Moen in their latest book Overload, published by the Princeton University Press, “Being accessible 24/7, 365 days a year…revealed high levels of chronic stress and ill health, feelings of powerlessness, work family-conflict and burnout”.

WFH is strange to all of us, so it’s natural to feel guilty and overcommit. Remember, overworking is not sustainable, so make an effort to shut down at the end of the workday.

Our expert says:

“Don’t think that just because you are home that you need to overcompensate and be online 24/7. Work your hours, take your breaks; you are human at the end of the day” – Reba Naidoo, Working Mom and Product Owner at iKhokha
  1. Look After Yourself

As a mom, you’re always putting the needs of others before your own. Working from home is stressful and draining, so don’t forget about your wellbeing. Look after yourself, try to find time to meditate or exercise. It isn’t easy when you’re on-the-clock around-the-clock, but if you can set aside 15 to 20 minutes for you, you’ll be rock solid!

Our expert says:

“With work, home and kids (including fur babies) we care for others first and ourselves last, so put yourself at the top of your priority list” – Yashmica Roy, Working Mom and Marketing Manager at iKhokha.

  1. Be Flexible

“Give yourself flexible working hours – naptimes and bedtimes are going to be your new best friend, so try to schedule your own work around these times,” says parenting vlogger Louise Pentland.

While working from home has its challenges, there are upsides. One of these is a whole new world of flexibility. Provided you can still check-in and communicate with your team and meet your deadlines; you have the power to shift your working hours to suit your needs.

Our expert says:

“I wake up early in the morning or I wait until my kids are off to bed in the evening and then I catch up on my work” – Ntombi Manengela, Working Mom and Business Analyst at iKhokha
  1. Disconnect During Family Time

One of the main challenges WFH moms face is the blurred line between where work ends and home life begins. Our advice? Be decisive and resolute in how you apportion your time. When you’re spending time with family, try your best to disconnect from work and focus on being present.

Our expert says:

“My phone and laptop will typically be on silent and locked away in the cupboard until my kids are asleep. That way, I’m not distracted with work noise which 99.9% of the time can wait until after they’re asleep” – Lindsay Johnson, Working Mom and Head of Growth at iKhokha
  1. Listen and Understand

The vast majority of adults have no idea what is going on, so how can we expect our kids to understand? Your children look to you for guidance and security, so make sure you take the time to listen to them and truly understand their concerns.

Our expert says:

“Don’t push your kids away. These are crazy times for everyone. They need you to be understanding and listen to them” – Reba Naidoo, Working Mom and Product Owner at iKhokha
  1. Have a Back-up Plan

Whether it’s activities to keep the kids busy, putting on some cartoons or even letting them play a game on your phone while you finish up your Zoom meeting, have a back-up plan and roll with the punches.

Our expert says:

“If things don’t go as planned, have an alternative. We are moms, after all. We always have a back-up plan!” – Ntombi Manengela, Working Mom and Business Analyst at iKhokha

A Final Word of Advice

This “new normal” has been a tough transition. It’s natural to feel guilty, to feel like you could be doing more. Accept that it’s never going to be perfect and try to be kind to yourself.

As iKhokha’s Head of Growth, Lindsay Johnson advises, “Try not to be too hard on yourself. As a working mom, you are setting an excellent example for your kids by teaching them that women are both equal to men and maternal badasses at the same time!”

Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to be a WFH mom. Ultimately, you need to find your groove by deciding what works best for you, both personally and professionally. If you’re doing your best, that’s what really matters.