If you are feeling pulled in different directions by your demands as a caregiver and your demands at work, you’re not alone. According to a recent study by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, more than 60 percent of the 43.5 million caregivers throughout the US worked while providing care, with over 56 percent of them working full time.
Businesses are only just starting to realize the implications caregiving has on productivity. And as more employers move to a more flexible environment, we’ll begin seeing more people than ever working from home.
For many positions, working from home makes sense. You can be productive and get things done, all the while being there for when the person you are caring for when they need you the most.
While working from home may seem like a dream come true, it isn’t without its own drawbacks. Working from home can be difficult if you don’t establish boundaries from the very beginning.
Have Set Hours
Does your loved one prefer to sleep in? It may be easier for you to rise early and have several hours of uninterrupted work time before your caregiving role kicks in. You may also need set hours during the day in which you can be easily contacted by people in the office, clients, or even vendors you deal with on a regular basis. By setting your work hours, you can express them with people at the office and people that know you are at home. Including the person you are caring for. It helps you stick with a schedule and makes your work life easier.
Being at home doesn’t make you available to everyone 24 hours of the day. Set your boundaries as soon as you move your work space home and stick with them from the beginning. If someone attempts to overstep your schedule, stick with your plans. Other than emergencies, staying within your boundaries will help keep everyone on track.
Create Your Space
No matter how large or small your home space is, you should have a section devoted to working. It may be an office, a spare bedroom, or a place at the dining room table. When you are in “your office”, the people you live with should respect you are working. Make sure your space motivates you to want to do the things you need to do. A vase of flowers, being near a window with a view, or even soft music playing in the background can help you transition from home to work and back again.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of always being at work. After all, it’s easy picking up your computer or phone and “checking in” whether you are rising out of bed, on your way to a doctor’s appointment, or settling in for dinner with family and friends. Everybody needs time to themselves. You need a time for caregiving, a time for working, and a time for you. Separate the times early on to be more at peace with each part of your day.
If you are working 40 hours a week, even if you are working from home, you may still become overwhelmed. How do you fit in four hours on a Monday to take your loved one to the doctor? How do you keep your boss happy and be there to monitor your loved one’s therapies? With so much to do, sometimes it’s okay to reach out and ask for help, even if you are “at home”. For some, friends and family members may be able to step up and take on shifts throughout the week. For others, in home care is the perfect solution.
Imagine having a well-loved caregiver stepping in to take your loved one to therapy three times per week. They pick up, they monitor, they bring them home. They pick up prescriptions and assist them with activities. They provide support while you do the things necessary for you. It can be a perfect arrangement for anyone trying to balance caregiving with working at home.
Want to talk more about in home caregiving and how it can help you? Let’s get started.