How to Work from Home and Still Be a Great Parent: CEO Chas Sampson’s Secrets
Many aspects of our lives have changed dramatically over the past few years, but perhaps none more so than the widespread shift to working from home.
While this pivot in the workforce has helped give rise to a generation of digital nomads, some of us are unable to fully separate our work lives from our personal world at home—especially those with younger children.
“I originally started my business to have more time with my children,” says Chas Sampson, CEO and Chairman of Seven Principles. “There were a number of components as to why I started my business, but spending more time with family was at the top of my list.”
Prior to founding and launching Seven Principles from home, Sampson worked as a Federal Decision Officer with the Department of Veteran Affairs. During that time, he worked on an alternative work schedule, or AWS, which saw him spending upwards of 60 hours a week or more away from home.
Now, as a self-made entrepreneur and business owner, Sampson remains committed to building his business alongside his relationships with his children. Here are some of the ways he told us he is able to accomplish this.
Finding the Support to Balance Work With Family
“Working from home while balancing a family life with my kids is actually ideal for me,” Sampson tells us. “But I also have support, which is essential for those that have school-aged children. Whether it’s from your spouse, parents, or even a neighbor you can trust, you need that support when you’re balancing work and family all at home. The best way to do that is by creating a strong schedule and sticking to it consistently to help your kids establish routine.”
As Sampson explains, the first step in establishing a strong balance between working from home and parenthood is to understand what times of days your children are most active.
For example, if your kids are more active during the morning or afternoon, it can be helpful to designate a specific room or area of the house where they can roam, read, play, or watch movies while you’re taking care of business.
Additionally, it’s important to remind any clients or partners on calls that you have young children who might be running around, and who might need your attention if your co-parenting support is unavailable.
“Communicating those aspects of your life to clients is key in setting expectations,” adds Sampson, “but so is being able to step away from your workstation at home between calls, meetings, or virtual interviews with candidates. That way, not only can you spend some extra time with your kids during the day, but also help keep them on that consistent schedule or routine you’re establishing for them.”
Co-Parenting as a Single Parent Working From Home
While Sampson stresses the importance of a co-parenting support system in balancing working from home with parenting, unfortunately, not all of us are able to have such a system.
This is especially true for Veterans’ families like Sampson’s own, which have some of the highest divorce rates in the US.
“Almost every family that has experienced a divorce or separation of parents has difficulty coping,” Sampson says, “because it’s difficult for both parents to share equal parts of their child’s life. Even when you’re working from home and not commuting every day or traveling for your career, there can be a clash of parenting styles or worries over how you showcase your relationship with the other parent to your kids.”
According to Sampson, the less hostile and more amicable a home environment is for children, the better a balance between work and life at home can be achieved for parent and child alike. Being able to exemplify healthy behaviors like setting and agreeing to boundaries and establishing a routine for your children around you and your co-parent’s schedules are two great examples of how to maintain a strong work-life balance at home, even when one parent is more present than the other.
“When younger children see you working during the day,” says Sampson, “they won’t always feel as if you’re paying attention to their wants and needs. This is especially true for single parents working from home, but we can still help show our children that they are loved and heard from the ways we interact with others, including the other parent.
Balancing work with family life at home requires just that: balance. None of us can expect to work 10-12 hours a day or more and still be the parent our children need us to be.
Likewise, we can’t always give our children the attention they deserve from us as parents when we’re working from home, otherwise our productivity at work will suffer.
But by establishing a strong schedule, creating and sticking to a routine around that schedule, and having a support system to help us remain effective parents and workers, that balance between work and family life at home can be better and more easily obtained.