The hybrid work model seems like it might bring us the best of both worlds - opportunities for face-to-face contact with colleagues in the office, plus more time closer to home with a reduction in the empty hours spent commuting. That, anyway, is the best-case scenario for hybrid working arrangements. But an important question still remains - how do the kids fit in?
Maximizing flexibility with an au pair
That's where an au pair can become a key part of the new mix. As you move between home-office work and in-person office time, the au pair can be there to fill in for both situations - for times when you are in the office, but also to free your back when you're working at home.
It's important to remember that when you're home and working, you can't really do the childcare on top. Trying to be the super hero who does everything all at once - your job in home office plus taking care of the kids - is not good for you, not good for the kids, and not good for your job either!
Your au pair: For when you're in the office or when you're at home
When you have an au pair on your family team you can delegate tasks to them - when you're out of the house in the office but also when you're at home and working, too. That's the beauty of the arrangement: With one childcare resource you're ready for both situations.
Need to get out of the house and into the office early? The au pair is there to get the kids to school. Need to dive into a virtual meeting in your home office and not be bothered for an hour? Again the au pair is there.
Making an au pair a successful part of your home-office situation
Key to making this arrangement work well is setting up clear ground rules for when you're working at home:
- Both the kids and the au pair need to know when they can interrupt you when you're working and when they can't.
- And the au pair needs to be given the full childcare responsibility even though you're at home in your home office.
Especially with the last point, the kids, the au pair and the parents need to learn to let the au pair be in charge when the au pair is on duty and not to intervene except in real emergencies. Only this way will the kids respect the au pair's authority and will the parent have a chance to truly get something done in the home office.
Read more host mother tips for a successful au pair stay and check out AuPairMom's post for work-at-home parents with an au pair.
Getting ready for autumn's childcare challenges - whatever they might be
As the pandemic evolves, it is still not clear what autumn will bring us. Will schools remain open or will homeschooling again become necessary? Hosting an au pair continues to be the most flexible and useful childcare option for these uncertain times.
With more and more young people getting vaccinated and borders being opened at least in Europe, it should also be quite easy to welcome your au pair right for the beginning of the school year. Our article on how to host an au pair even with the pandemic gives you some useful guidelines on how to make an au pair stay work best and get the many benefits of this arrangement even with the current pandemic challenges.