Telecommuting with children at home

To slow the spread of coronavirus, King County employees who can telecommute have been mandated to do so until further notice. Because K-12 schools have closed, King County is temporarily allowing parents and caretakers to telecommute while caring for children at home.

Telecommuting with children at home is a new experience for most employees and can present its own unique challenges. As such, Balanced You has put together some advice to help you continue to be productive and keep your family safe:

  • Ensure you have received supervisor approval, completed all required King County paperwork, and submitted it to your HR Manager before commencing telecommuting.
  • Set up a defined workspace where you can work effectively and keep an eye on your children.
  • Be creative about how and when you work. For example, it may be helpful for you to work before your children wake up or after they go to bed. Please remember to reach out to your supervisor in advance to discuss adjusting your work schedule.
  • If you have another telecommuting adult in the house, split time when one of you is able to monitor your children while the other is working in a separate room.
  • Make sure your children have things to entertain them, such as games, toys, puzzles, and movies, and regularly update them if you can.
  • Encourage nap or sleep times to provide some quiet time.
  • Keep healthy, tasty snacks on hand that can be easily accessed.
  • Don’t be embarrassed if your children interrupt you while you’re on a Skype call – it happens!

Additional options

  • If you cannot effectively work from home while caring from your children, you have the option to take leave. You may use accrued or donated paid leave during an absence. If you have concerns about your leave balanced, contact your HR Manager.
  • Daycares in King County remain open at the time of publishing. If your job requires you to telecommute, and your children are ages five and under without a regular day or childcare center, contact Making Life Easier (MLE). MLE is a free resource for all King County employees that can assist you in locating and coordinating childcare. MLE also offers free counseling to anyone who shares your address.

Remember that we are all in this together, and we need to show one another – and ourselves – grace and patience.

For more tips on how to care for children during coronavirus, please visit this Balanced You post.

If you have questions or comments, or would like to share your own tips on telecommuting with children at home, please contact us at balancedyou@kingcounty.gov or (206) 263-9626.

For more information and tips on teleworking for King County employees, please visit this site.

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  1. Please update this post to include the option of using FEPSL (Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave) which employees can use to care for kids whose schools are closed, before they use their own accrued sick leave.

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