A Guide for Working (From Home) Parents

Finding yourself juggling crayons and business - this guide is for you!


Published on Harvard Business Review

by Avni Patel Thompson


Amir and Ria are working professionals living in Seattle: he works at Amazon and she’s the CEO of an early-stage start-up. They have two kids, Amara and Aryan, who are 6 and 2 years old. They’re used to managing the usual challenges of dual working parents — coordinating childcare with schools and activities, managing meals and household chores, and spending quality time together on the weekends.

Things all became more complicated with the outbreak of the coronavirus in Seattle and its suburbs a couple of weeks ago. First Amazon asked all employees to start working from home, and then a week later Amara’s school announced they would be closing for four weeks, with potential for more. Ria’s office and Aryan’s daycare closed soon after. Since then, Amir and Ria have been trying to juggle full-time childcare for both kids and working from home while trying to preserve as much productivity as possible.

For the first week, they approached the situation like a vacation, with little structure around schedule or duties. This quickly turned into a frustrating situation for everyone. They weren’t getting work done, they were worried about how much they were relying on a tablet to keep Amara entertained, and regular things like meals and cleaning seemed to be just piling up. That they were all stuck together in a closed space just made it all worse.

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