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Telecommuting When Your Kids Are Sick

It's not easy to telecommute with sick kids, but sometimes it's the best option.


If your employer allows you to telecommute when you are sick or when your children are sick, this type of part-time telecommuting can be a great perk. However, telecommuting with sick kids is no easy task.

For a kid who is just a little under the weather, a sick day plan might be similar to your snow day plan, which may include telecommuting.
But a genuinely sick child presents different challenges.

Decide whether to telecommute.

As you make your decision about telecommuting, consider if I would be better to go into work and make other arrangements for you sick child. Or, perhaps you should simply take the day off.

Simply put, it’s not telecommuting if you’re not working, and sick kids may need your full attention. That said, it is possible to strike a balance when working and watching a sick kid can be done. Here are some tips.

Let kids watch TV.

For regular telecommuters, using the TV as a babysitter is not a good idea. But when kids are sick, suspend the regular TV ground rules and let them watch. Their concentration levels are probably not up for reading (though they may look at a few of these wordless books) or much else besides sleeping. If possible rent some movies, they’ve never seen.

Let your employer know when you’re leaving the house.

If you have to bring your child to the doctor or you need to run to the pharmacy, tell your employer how or if you can be reached. This will head off any misunderstandings, if you're missed while you're out.

Shift work duties until later or work a partial day.

If medical appointments or your child's illness keep you from working for part of the day, try rearranging your schedule to complete your workload when your spouse or other help arrives. If you can only work while your child is sleeping, log those hours and take the rest of the day off.

Set up shop in the same room with your child, if possible.

Mostly what sick kids need is your presence. Bring a laptop in their room or set up a bed in your office. This way you can monitor your child, and he'll know your close. However, remeber your phone etiquette and if needed  leave the room to make phone calls.

Make adjustments when your child is on the mend.

Sometimes after a child has had a dose of antibiotics or is generally on the mend, he may not seem sick anymore. Yet he's not ready to go back to school. In these cases, you may want to dust off your work-at-home ground rules. When kids start feeling better, another thing they start feeling is bored, so having some independent play ideas in mind.
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