Working from home allows you to control your schedule, play with your creativity, pick your team and develop new skills. However, the position is fraught with pitfalls, and it can be especially challenging for a mom who is trying to balance a toddler or two in the mix. Free tech tools can be a lifesaver for the work-at-home mom:
1. Cloud storage
Cords are a hazard around young children, and young children are a hazard around hard drives. Cloud storage minimizes the threat of cords for your children while cutting down on the amount of equipment you have around the home. When you use inexpensive online storage, you never have to worry about losing all of your data if your child knocks over a glass of juice on the hard drive.
Cloud storage doesn’t just give you free space for business, it offers space for storing photos of your children. There are so many cloud storage apps and services, your biggest hurdle may be narrowing your search down to the right one with a little research. According to a Zip Cloud review, cloud storage can be accessed from PCs, Macs, Androids and other mobile devices, iPads and iPhones.
The kids are bored and crying, but a looming deadline is staring you in the face. Now would be the perfect time to call Grandma in for help, but she lives three states away. That’s no longer a problem, thanks to Skype.
Skype allows people to have face-to-face conversations over their computers. Skype is compatible with most devices, ranging from desktop computers and mobile phones to TVs and XBoxes. All you have to do is arm grandma with your children’s favorite books, set up the call, and let them bond while you meet your deadline.
When it’s time to get serious about a project, Trello allows you to organize and track everything from one spot. It can be used for any type of project. Whether you are creating a to-do list for your household, a list of learning goals for your children or trying to organize a work project, Trello keeps you on track.
4. Google Calendar
If you are never sure whether you should be sitting in front of a spreadsheet or driving your child to music class, Google Calendar is a must-have. It syncs among all of your devices and can send you event reminders so that you never miss another appointment.
Use Join.me, and you can see exactly what your colleagues are doing on their computer screens, and they can see what you are doing on yours. It’s perfect for remote collaboration or training. It makes explaining complicated processes simple, and the chat feature means you do not have to tie up your phone to use it, according to Rainstorm Media Group.
What free tech tools do you love as a work-at-home mom? Share in the comments.
Would you like a more flexible work schedule which would save commute time and allow you to work around your kids’ schedules? Telecommuting may be just the option for you.
Telecommuting has grown significantly in recent years. Although the U.S. workforce grew just 3% in the last seven years, the number of regular telecommuters grew 66%. Now some 64 million employees (half the U.S. workforce) are able to telecommute at least part-time.
What are the benefits of telecommuting? Employees who telecommute are happier, healthier, and more efficient (not to mention richer).
Savings on gasoline and car insurance. Since the average commuter spends $1500 a year on gasoline, a half-time telecommuter could save $750 a year.
Healthier employees. Three in four employees say they eat healthier when working from home. Also, people who telecommute have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI), lower blood pressure, and lower levels of stress.
Better work-life balance. Eight in 10 employees who telecommute part-time feel they have a good work-life balance. Also, the average employee says their stress decreased by 25% when they switched from working in the office to working at home.
Higher productivity. We all know that a happy employee is a productive employee. Studies show that working from home increases productivity anywhere from 10 to 50% (according to The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation).
When you Work at Home: Separating Work and Home Life
Karen, who works for a large technology company, has the luxury of telecommuting from home. While working at home provides great convenience and flexibility, it can also pose challenges in separating work and home life. Oftentimes, Karen will check e-mail after dinner only to get caught up working an additional 2-3 hours. When your work is so easily accessible, it’s easy to end up working 24/7. How do you set boundaries in order to separate work from your home life? Here are five tips.
Set regular work hours. Set regular hours of work, and stick to it. This allows your mind to switch gears and focus on either work or family. Also, be sure to let family members know your work hours, and ask them to not disturb you during these times.
Close the door to your home office. By doing so, this sets a physical boundary, which also helps you gain closure at the end of the work day. Also, the saying “Out of sight, out of mind” applies here. If you can’t see it, you won’t be reminded of it.
Establish a way to “switch gears”. Find a way to “switch gears” from work to home life. You might walk the dog or watch the news or take time to yourself to relax. I always exercise at the end of my work day. I either go to the gym or take a walk. Then when I come home I switch to home activities like cooking dinner.
Don’t check email after hours. Even if you want to take just one quick check, you can find yourself, like Karen, spending hours on email. So don’t even check!
Turn off your electronics during family or personal time. Be sure to turn off your cell phone, pager, PDA, or other devices, so you can spend quality time with your family or enjoy personal time to yourself without being interrupted.
By following these tips, you can enjoy better balance by separating your work and home life – even when you work from home!