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Living and Working at Home — How to Continue Supporting Your Parents While Starting a Remote Job

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In the UK, 28% of people aged 20-34 live with their parents, according to the Office for National Statistics. For those who are living with and supporting their parents as they age, getting and keeping a remote, work from home job or career can feel like a nearly impossible task. However, by choosing the right space to set up a home office and through effective communication, working from home while being there for your parents can become second nature. From what to look for when creating a productive home office setup to how you can maintain good communication (and boundaries) regarding everyone’s scheduling needs, here are just a few tips for success.

Choosing the right space 

When looking for the perfect place to set up a home office at your parent’s house, it’s important to take both your needs and their needs into consideration, especially if they rely on you throughout the day. For example, choosing a quiet area of the house that has the least foot traffic is generally best, especially if you’ll be taking calls. However, ensuring that you’re within earshot of your parent’s room or the living room may be a consideration to keep in mind as well, depending on your arrangement and their needs. If you’re unable to set up a home office in a room of its own, integrating a work from home space into another room is still possible, and creating visual separation can help greatly in creating boundaries/privacy — whether you use a curtain or bookshelf.

Whether you’re setting up a desk in a spare bedroom or in a sectioned off area of the living room, designing the area for success can be done via the right furniture. A comfortable, ergonomic chair, storage space, and the right desk for the job are all elements of a home office to think about. In addition to the physical space/room you’re working with, one Homes & Gardens post notes that taking into account the amount of space you’ll need when working can help decide what size desk you’ll need by considering factors like how many screens you use, and what you need beside you as you work. For example, a corner standing desk can easily create an effective work area for those working with minimal space, and is especially ideal for those looking to alleviate back pain and stretch their legs when on the job.

Designing with logistics in mind

When working from home while living with your parents, clear communication is paramount in maintaining a good relationship, and will help greatly in continuing to support them as they age. With that in mind, designing a home office with logistics in mind can benefit both you and your parents as they age, and will help you care for them on a day-to-day basis. Creating a physical schedule or calendar that features both your work needs as well as the needs of your parents is just one great way to support them, and keeping the calendar on your desk will allow you to stay updated on everyone’s needs/schedules. By listing what times you work and have meetings, reminders for medications, what times a home care nurse might arrive, or when you may need to take your parents to a doctor’s appointment, you can effectively stay on top of everything while working. Sharing a copy of the schedule with your parents and ensuring it’s pinned up in a place where they will see it (such as on the front of the fridge), you can further maintain an open line of communication among everyone while establishing boundaries between home and work.

Keeping a whiteboard accessible for everyone in the house can further help communicate a last-minute meeting, a recently scheduled appointment, or other urgent to-dos or reminders. In addition to taking the time to schedule your work and the needs of your parents, however, setting time aside for your personal needs is also necessary, and will aid in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. According to one Forbes article, good work-life balance can help support emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing by “providing you with the opportunity to take part in activities that bring joy, reduce stress and promote healthy habits, including setting aside time for family or doing self-care,” thus highlighting how important it can be to schedule accordingly.

Caring for and supporting your parents while living at home is a meaningful role for many, and you don’t have to sacrifice your personal career to do so, either. By choosing the right space for a home office and instilling a shared schedule and open line of communication among everyone, you can successfully navigate a remote job while fully being there for your parents as they age.

Image from Unsplash+

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