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Richard Voisey of Nwes: Seven tips on dealing with the challenge of working from home over the school holidays

PUBLISHED: 11:03 10 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:03 10 June 2018

Working from home can create challenges when you have to juggle childcare at the same time. Picture: Getty Images.

Working from home can create challenges when you have to juggle childcare at the same time. Picture: Getty Images.

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Many small business owners who work from home will have to balance childcare and business responsibilities this summer. Richard Voisey, business adviser at Nwes, offers his seven tips for working from home during the school holidays.

Richard Voisey, business adviser at Nwes. Picture: Nwes.Richard Voisey, business adviser at Nwes. Picture: Nwes.

The number of people working from home is at its highest level since records began - more than four million people, according to the ONS.

And research from OddsMonkey shows that by 2020 half of the UK population could be working from home.

Working from home has benefits in saved time and the cost of commuting. It does however require skills managing time for those around you as well as yourself. The summer holidays when the children are off arguably creates the biggest demands on your attention.

1. Adjust your work activity

Your children may have commitments over the holiday where you can plan work when they are busy. Sleep time may also present opportunity to work either very early in the morning or later in the evening when they are safely tucked up in bed.

2. Clear guidelines

This can be appropriate to adults as well as children in the household. A structure needs to be set with clear times for breaks including lunch, dinner and family interaction.

Blocks of time where they will have to fend for themselves can be allocated. With the obvious need for emergencies, times can be set when you should not be disturbed.

This can also apply to business communication lines. Temporary voicemails for phones and email ‘out of office’ messages can be applied to explain changes in availability.

3. Create activity plans

Children are taught to plan pieces of work at school from an early age so will accept a similar process at home. You can set a series of tasks for children to complete which could be based around the mix of learning, playing, games and chores.

4. Summer camps

Children can learn or develop skills at organised events which are now becoming more varied and widespread.

Taking Norfolk as an example, I found day camps offering a huge range of opportunities including specialist football camps and dance schools There plenty of options available.

5. Can your children help?

Maybe they can get involved with low risk jobs which will take advantage of their potential enthusiasm or help to develop it.

6. Other supervision

Family, friends, nannies, babysitters – there is a range of options out there. Maybe you could take turns with someone in a similar position to spread the load?

7. Work/life balance

Running your own business has the opportunity to bring many rewards: a key one is decision making. Effective time-management of tasks, customers, suppliers and family could enable you to set time for quality family activities. Remember, they soon grow up.

To find out more about starting or running your business, call 0845 609 9991 or visit www.nwes.org.uk

Richard Voisey is a business consultant at Nwes, a Future50 partner.

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