How to make working from home work for moms
With gas prices throwing the family budget for a loop, more workers are pressuring their bosses to give telecommuting a try. Reporter Dalia Colon did a great package for tbt* on how to convince your boss it can work, with some tips from experienced home workers and some tools of the trade.
For Mommas, the idea of working from home seems ideal, but be careful what you wish for. Working from home is not a substitute for child care. I work at home a few hours a day several days a week and can tell you that I get a lot more done in the office than I do at home, where I am subject to constant interruptions. Ironically, a lot of dads I know rave about working at home, that they get so much MORE done because they don't have co-workers stopping by to chat. I have a suspicion that kids are more willing to interrupt mom's phone calls than dad's.
When my kids were little, I usually saved work time for later at night or nap time since you can't let a toddler roam the house unattended. That means you can't really count on when you'll have time for work if you have a troublesome sleeper, a nap-fighter or a sick child in need of attention.
Now that the kids are school age, it's much easier, but we still had to set some ground rules. If I have the doors to the office open, they are free to come find me. But if I have an important phone call, the French doors are closed and they can see I'm on the phone and know that unless they are bleeding, they are going to have to wait a few minutes.
I also made the deal with them that when I hold up one finger to indicate, "I see you, but hold on a minute," that I truly will be with them in just a moment. I usually tell my caller, "Can you hold on for just a moment," and I find out what the child needs and can usually take care of the problem or question quickly.
Veteran home worker Asha Dornfest of Parent Hacks did a terrific piece earlier this year about how to fit working at home into your family life. And the blog Web Worker Daily also had some good tips on how to manage kids in the home office.
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne