When I first started working from home, my son (who is now in elementary school) was three. One of the most common questions I fielded was this: How do you get work done with a child at home? The answer: I send him to the sitter.
People are often shocked to learn that my son went to the sitter, and later to preschool, when I am a work from home parent. After all, isn’t one of the reasons some of us work from home is to avoid sending the kids to the sitter? This is only partially true. I like working from home because it provides me with flexibility, and, of course, because I can spend more time with my son. But that doesn’t mean that I keep my son home all the time. Indeed, having my son in child care has helped me be more productive, as well as provide the opportunity for more quality time with my son.
Here’s why you might consider child care when you work from home:
One of the biggest reasons to consider getting some degree of child care when you work from home is the increased productivity. You don’t have to have your child at the sitter’s every day; I sent my son a couple days a week for three or four hours. His preschool, when he got older, was three days a week for four hours — a total of 12 hours a week.
Now that my son is in school, my productivity has increased even more. I prioritize my workload, and do the most important items while my son is in school. While my son was in child care before, I worked with a great deal of focus for those few hours, accomplishing more than I though possible, since I worked distraction-free in my home office.
More Quality Time with My Son
Interestingly, having my son in child care for a few hours a week actually helped me spend more quality time with him. Since I got the most important work done while my son was in child care, when he came home from the sitter’s I was ready to focus on him. Now that he’s in school, it makes “quitting time” much more obvious. Being able to take care of the home business stuff while your kids are out of the house can mean that you have more time to spend with them, rather than trying to get your kids to leave you alone for an extended period. They get some socialization with other kids, and some attention, and you have time to get the most important of your tasks accomplished.
Is Child Care Right for Your Situation?
Of course, since I only have one child, paying for child care wasn’t terribly expensive. For someone with more children, the cost might be too high. (You can check into having a local teen babysit while you’re in the house. That way your kids are entertained, but you are still on the scene. And it costs less.)
However, there is no sense in dismissing the idea of child care just because you work from home. Take a look at your situation; you might be surprised at the benefits of getting child care for a few hours a week.
Lana M. says
I totally can understand the content in this post. I too work from home and value the hours my child is at school. Granted, she’s in the 6th grade, so I get 7-8 hours of me time, but any amount of time to devote to projects is precious.
Lastly, I came to the post thinking the article was about if people want to work from home they should consider childcare as a means of income. The title is misleading a bit. I was going to stick my 2 cents in, but saw the post was about productivity… Maybe something like: Why childcare lends productivity to work from homers. Just a thought. Still it was a great post!!
Great post! I know a lot of people who babysit for work-at-homers, and in addition to the above benefits it saves the parents the travel time to and from the office!
One of my friend’s daughter has a home based business. When her children were small, she had a nanny at home caring for her children. It makes sense and it is a matter of choice.
This is very true. When you send your child to a sitter for just a couple of hours, just to get your job done right, you’d still have plenty of time to spend with him. This way, you’d have time for productivity (just make sure to not use your child-free time to procrastinate) and quality time for your family.
If I may add an advice; using a time tracking software also helps you be motivated to really focus on work. Because I have to admit, sometimes I am tempted to procrastinate especially if I have the time to myself. Using Time Doctor made me work harder and helps me avoid distractions.