Working from home while having a nanny has its perks and challenges. The perks include building trust and a closer relationship with your nanny by being in the home with them. The challenges are maintaining boundaries.
Depending on the age of your kids these boundaries may be clear cut, or they may change as your child grows. For instance, if you have an infant and will be breastfeeding, you may establish a system with your nanny where they come to you when it’s time to feed and during that time your nanny can take care of household tasks or have a break.
If your children will not be relying on your care throughout the day, then you’ll need to establish what kind of contact you'll have with your children (if any) during the day. Is your office in a common space? Are the children allowed to say hello during the day and if so, when?
Some ideas to consider:
- Having a sign on your door you edit each day to display when you’re available for a visit. For example, it may say: “I am free for a hello and hug between: 9:30-11am and 2-4pm.” You can then establish with your nanny what a quick visit looks like. Is it 5 mins of your undivided attention with them? Is it a short convo about their day? Be clear about what that looks like for you and discuss with your nanny how you’ll end your time with them. This is a time where good boundaries will need to be had as your children may have strong feelings about saying goodbye and may not want you to return to your work. Consistency and sticking to your word will be important for both you and your nanny. Have confidence in your nanny that they’ll be able to handle a potential meltdown with your children if they are having trouble with this transition.
- If you have lunch around the same time every day this may be a good time to enjoy time with your children. Again, have a clear boundary around how long you’ll spend with them and when you need to go back to work. The more consistency you have around this the better.
- Children thrive with consistency and boundaries. When they know what to expect they feel safe. If you’re often coming out of your office and interacting with your children it can be confusing and hard to say goodbye when it’s time to go back to work, especially since some children may prefer their parents over their nanny.
- Coming out of your office when you hear your child having a tantrum or strong feelings may seem like the right thing to do but it can often make it harder for your nanny and may reinforce this behavior from your child. When you stay in your office and allow your nanny to do their job, you’re showing your child that their nanny is a capable, responsible caregiver. Interrupting during these situations may signal to the child that their nanny is not in charge.
- Don’t micromanage. Allow your nanny to do their job while they are in your home and avoid giving feedback throughout the day. This can lead to your nanny feeling like they need to always be “on” or doing things correctly if they are being consistently corrected. Monthly check ins are a good time to chat about those things, but again, don’t make them the main theme. Consider what it might feel like to have your boss around you all day and think about how you can make your nanny feel independent, respected and at ease if you work from home.