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10 Challenges for the Nanny of Work From Home Parents

November 13, 2011

When a household includes both an in-home business and in-home childcare, the situations which the nanny deals with may have some unique challenges. Discussing the various issues and keeping the communication open between employer and nanny is important in working through these situations.

  1. Noise levels – There may not be a lot of sound proofing between the home office and the rest of the home. Small children are bound to be noisy when playing and babies sometimes can only communicate through crying. The nanny should not feel a need to keep the children any quieter than in any other household. It is up to the parent to protect themselves from those distractions.
  2. Saving Questions – When the parent is in the home, rather than a phone call away, a nanny can be tempted to interrupt them with questions that would normally be saved until the end of the day. Remember that etiquette regarding interrupting them ‘at the office’ applies equally, no  matter where that office is located.
  3. Clinging children – Most work from home parents will not be hidden away in their office for the entire day. They are bound to come out for lunch and breaks, just like any other worker. This can be an issue with the small children who don’t understand what ‘going back to work’ means.
  4. Known presence – The presence of the parent or parents in the home is not going to be a secret from the kids. Even when they are not in sight, the children will be aware of their presence. In order for the nanny to maintain her leadership role with the children, the parents must cooperate in not giving in to demands by the children for their attention during the work day.
  5. Listening ear – Unlike the nanny whose employers leave the house in the morning and return in the evening, a nanny for work from home parents is likely to be questioned about every bump, cry or other strange sound that is overheard by the parents during the day.
  6. Variable hours – Unless the parents are strongly structured in their own work hours, a nanny may find that work from home parents expect her to be as flexible with her schedule as they are with theirs. This is an important item to be well clarified in the work agreement.
  7. Wandering workers – Not all work from home parents stay confined to their home office. Wireless internet connections and cell phones enable them to do much of their work from any room in the house. This can mean that the nanny needs to adjust her work habits to fit in with various unoccupied territories within the home each day.
  8. End of day – Most people who work from home are also doing a job that they really enjoy. When you love your work and you work within the comfort of your own home, it is easy to lose track of time. Rather than waiting for the parents to ‘come home’, the nanny may need let her employer know when it is time for the work day to end.
  9. In and out – Working from home doesn’t necessarily mean that all the work is done from the home office. Most likely, the parent will have outside appointments that they will need to attend. This means there will be some coming and going of the parents at various times, which can be disruptive for the children.
  10. Roles and duties – A parent may take on some of the nanny’s duties from time to time, at their own discretion. This requires much flexibility on the part of the nanny and consideration on the part of the parent. Open and honest communication will be a key ingredient for nanny positions of this type.

6 Responses to 10 Challenges for the Nanny of Work From Home Parents

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Larissa says:

I think #3 is one of the hardest to deal with. My mom boss works from home and any time she leaves her office her 3 yr old immediately thinks its time to hang out and play. We’re working on getting her to understand that isnt the case but its definitely a challenge

olivia says:

you definitely have to have a good nanny/family match for this kind of situation – the nanny has to be flexible to the parents wishes and has to be willing to roll with all the punches that come with the parent(s) being home. it’s difficult, but doable.

Veronica says:

I think the parents have to be respectful of the nanny though too – they have to reinforce that she is the one in charge during the day, otherwise it just won’t work because the kids won’t respect her authority.

admin says:

These are both great points!! Thanks for chiming in!!

Peter Sims says:

I work from home and definitely am prone to working way past quitting time. To counteract this so my nanny doesn’t have to constantly remind me that it’s time to go I set an alarm on my phone to go off and as soon as it does I save what I’m doing and shut down. If I need to keep working, I do it AFTER she’s left for the day.

Carol says:

That’s a great idea! I’m going to have to try that because I definitely can work past when I’m supposed to be shutting down for the day too!