Most parents want to work from home; here's how to land the right remote job for you and your family.
A 2021 survey by FlexJobs revealed that 61 percent of parents now want to work full-time from home. In addition, 37 percent of respondents indicated that they would like the option of some form of hybrid work schedule as they look forward to a post-pandemic world. If you are a parent who is looking for a job that can be done remotely, then chances are that you understand why so many other parents are now expressing a fervent desire to work from home.
If you are a job seeking parent looking for remote work, it is vital to understand how to find companies that value remote workers and their needs. In this post, we will examine the benefits remote work provides for parents and offer tips that can help you locate the work from home opportunity you need.
The clear benefits of remote work for employees with kids
According to that FlexJobs survey, working parents cited many benefits they enjoy when working at home. 81 percent of respondents appreciated not needing to commute back and forth to work. More than 70 percent cited benefits like avoiding the coronavirus, time savings, and the ability to spend more time with loved ones. Other top benefits included superior work-life balance, more casual dress codes, greater control over their work schedules, and increased productivity.
It is worth noting, though, that parents who work from home have also reported a higher rate of burnout, and a higher rate of mental health deterioration than the general population. In addition, more than one-fifth of those workers reported a perceived deterioration in their skill levels during their time working at home. Still, more than eight out of 10 working parents indicated that work-life balance ranks at the top of their priorities when it comes to assessing any new job.
That work-life balance encompasses a wide range of home life needs, many of which have little or nothing to do with the desire for career advancement while remote. For example, parents with small children are naturally concerned about all the many complex issues related to balancing childcare with the demands of work. That often entails a need for a more flexible work schedule. Fortunately, there are many companies today that possess corporate cultures that place a premium on accommodating work-life balance.
Tips for juggling childcare and your job search
Before you begin to search for a remote job, it is important to have a plan to manage childcare during the application and interview process. The following tips can help:
Establish a dedicated work area in the home. If possible, pick a room in the house that has a door that can be shut during meetings or when you need extra concentration to fulfill your work duties. If that is not possible, try to set up an area in a less-traveled part of the house.
Gather the right tools. Remote workers generally require access to a phone, internet, and a working computer with camera capabilities for remote meetings. If you lack any of those tools, remedy that situation to ensure that you have what you need to do the job you are seeking.
Schedule time for your job search. Parents often have limited free time, so it is vital to set aside a block of time that you dedicate to your job search efforts. If your children are small, you may want to focus on researching and applying for jobs in the early morning, during nap times, or after they go to bed in the evening.
Do not be afraid to reach out for help. Most parents can manage resume submissions while they have kids in the home, but interviews are another matter entirely – especially if your children are relatively young. Ask friends, neighbors, or family members to help you with the children during scheduled interview times to ensure that there are no interruptions.
Take time for yourself. Job seeking can be exhausting, and that is especially true when you are also juggling parental responsibilities. Make sure that you set time aside for self-care to avoid job search burnout, exhaustion, and depression.
Tips for locating remote work opportunities
If remote work is your objective, then you will need to know how to locate the right companies and positions. To do that successfully, you should first determine the type of remote work situation you are seeking, and then carefully research companies and roles to find the best opportunities.
Hybrid work opportunities
As noted earlier, more than a third of parents are interested in a hybrid schedule that allows them to work from home and the office. Some jobs, like editing or customer service, are better suited to this type of hybrid model. You will need to carefully examine open position job descriptions to determine the level of hybrid flexibility a company offers to its employees. It is also important to research each company to learn as much as you can about its culture and how it accommodates workers with children.
Full-time remote opportunities
If you are looking for a full-time remote work opportunity, the same basic rules apply. Examine the job description and follow up with the company if you have questions about potential remote work. Since Covid-19 came on the scene, more companies have learned to accommodate remote workers. The challenge is to figure out which companies have adapted to this emerging trend.
Scan the job boards, and do not be afraid to apply for positions that you are interested in filling. As you do so, be sure to track your resume submissions and responses so that you maintain some type of control over your search.
Leverage your network. Reach out to your contacts to let them know you are searching for remote work opportunities. Networking is a tried-and-true way to gather leads on job opportunities and could even lead to job referrals that can make it easier to land the position you need.
Be flexible. If the opportunity for a contract or temporary remote position appears, you may want to consider taking the job. After all, you can always continue to search for a more permanent solution. In the meantime, though, a temporary job can provide immediate income, additional experience, and an opportunity to limit gaps in your resume.
Look for a family-friendly opportunity. When you get interview opportunities, do not forget to inquire about the company's approach to support for working parents. That is a very real concern in today's workplace, so you should expect that great companies have already taken steps to help employees balance their work with their home lives.
Tips for managing your remote work with children in the home
Once you have landed a remote job, the real challenge begins – learning to manage your remote work activities while you have children at home. The good news is that companies have become increasingly aware of the need to provide remote workers with more support in areas like unpaid leave, child care assistance, and flexible work hours. Still, there are some basic things that you will need to do to effectively manage your remote work environment if you have kids at home:
Secure childcare. As important as it is to have someone watching the kids while you are interviewing for a job, it is even more vital to secure childcare once you land a position. While many companies were more lenient about remote workers caring for their children during the pandemic, normalcy is now returning. That means that your employer is likely to expect you to focus only on work during your scheduled hours.
Isolate your workspace. If you were more relaxed about your workspace during the job search, now is the time to focus on ensuring that it is a place dedicated to your job. That means setting aside a separate room or space just for your job, with all the tools you need to be productive.
Set clear boundaries with your family. One of the biggest challenges remote workers face often comes from their loved ones. When you are working from home, your family may struggle to respect your workspace. Their natural inclinations may lead them to interrupt you for every small need. After all, you are home, so why not? To avoid this tendency, you should clearly communicate that you are not to be disturbed while you are at work.
Work with employers to set flexible hours. If your childcare or home-schooling needs require you to be with the children during certain hours, make sure that you have worked with your supervisors to establish that schedule.
Create clear avenues for communication with supervisors and co-workers. Make sure that you have the right technology in place for Zoom or Slack meetings, and that you are all on the same page when it comes to scheduled meetings, check-ins, or other communications.
Learn to switch off from work. Remote work can be challenging, and it is even more challenging when children are in the equation. To avoid burnout, you will need to learn how to leave work behind when the day is done.
Job seeking parents looking for remote work face many challenges. These tips can help you to manage childcare needs, the job search, and your remote workplace, and hopefully get you on the path to creating the work-life balance you need.
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