How to Stay Productive While Working Remote with Kids

Hang in there.

It’s no secret, many of us are struggling to find the balance between working remote for the first time, having kids at home, and playing the role of teacher as we take on new virtual learning plans for our kids.

This COVID-19 deal sure didn’t come with a playbook! It takes a village and also a leader at your organization to reassure that what you are juggling and handling right now is more than enough!  Our former VP of People & Culture, Brandi Emerson has been updating the Single Digits team every day with encouraging articles, advise and a little bit of humor!

We thought we’d share a few of the lessons we’ve learned from her as she takes on her own hybrid role of Mom + Professional + Teacher + Single Digits’ COVID-19 News Reporter:

    • There is no playbook for this.
      You won’t be perfect right out the gate but if you commit to giving it your best effort, you’ll find your groove soon enough. Ask for help when needed and you shall receive it!
    • Set a schedule.
      Instead of a generic to-do list, consider time based planning.  It’s a process where you map out what you need to do and schedule the specific time you need to do it on your calendar. It is an appointment to yourself that your co-workers can see.
    • Share your experience.
      Set up an Employee Resource Group (ERG) for your working parents/guardians to share stories and support each other. We created a channel on Microsoft Teams and it’s been fun seeing all the engagement! Employees are sharing photos of their kids and furbabies, work spaces, and funny memes to get us through this phase of social distancing.
    • Empowerment is key.
      Have kids or a bored loved one at home? Give them their own to-do lists for their morning and night routines. This includes the basics like getting dressed and brushing teeth to other helpful tasks like ‘make lunch’ or ‘bake dessert for dinner’, ‘feed the dogs’, and ‘fill your water bottles’. This will make them feel in control, keep them busy, and help lessen YOUR load.  Not to mention, minimizing the amount of times you’ll have to answer to “Mom” or “Dad” yelled from across the house while you try to quickly mute your conference call.
    • Be Flexible.
      You may love the 9-5 schedule, but it might not be realistic in this new reality – especially if you are balancing caregiver and teacher responsibilities. If you are struggling to stay focused or get your work done within traditional schedules, talk to your manager to explore if there are any other creative options that might make more sense for you and the business. Today, might not be entirely within your control but there are parts that you can control! Commit to delivering what you can even if it comes at odd hours of the day/night.

We asked our own employees how to stay productive (and sane) while working from home with or without kids. Here are some of their suggestions: 

    • Get up, shower, and get dressed! Even if it’s yoga pants and your hair in a ponytail. Get ready for the day.
    • Leverage all the online resources from museums & aquariums giving virtual tours to virtual yoga, games, and art tutorials.
    • Use bins/baskets on your countertop that serve as grab-and-go lunch and snack boxes, so the kiddos are not raiding the fridge.
    • Create a schedule for your kids, but be flexible since it’s not the same as school. Send them outside to play, and when they are doing their homework give them a home office space, so they feel important and included.
    • Take breaks from work and from being a teacher so each portion of your life can be attended to somewhat appropriately.
    • Block time in your day for certain tasks and allow yourself to get out of your emails for a moment.
    • Always do the things you dread the most first. And unless there is pressing deadlines looming, put it all down at 5pm.
    • If it’s quiet, create background noise with music. If you’re doing mindless data entry, put on a podcast.
    • If you don’t have to be at your computer for an entire conference call, walk around and return to your desk if you need to look something up.
    • It is easy to get sidetracked with household chores, but just ignore that stuff and do it outside of your designated work hours.

We hope you find these tips helpful!


As the impacts of the COVID-19 Coronavirus continue to unfold and be realized across the globe, we at Single Digits want to convey to you our unwavering commitment and support for maintaining the integrity and uninterrupted performance of your network capabilities.

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