Au pairing and the home office revolution

Working from home has increased dramatically during the pandemic. For many families, having an au pair is a key part of making their new home office arrangements possible  and successful!

Father and Daughter working at a desk at home
, in Host families

Use an au pair to help give more definition to your working role at home

When your family hosts an au pair, you enlarge your family team so you have someone at home to help with the kids.

If you're spending more time yourself at home doing home-office work, the teamwork between you and your au pair can function especially well. Au pairs are not professional childcare providers. They're talented amateurs (like a new temporary big brother or sister in the family). You delegate responsibility to them to take care of your children for certain periods, so that you can take care of the responsibilities of your job in your home office.

Two key tips for successful au pairing with home-office work

Experienced host parents emphasise two points for successful use of an au pair when a parent is working at home: 

  • Have clear rules about when the kids can interrupt a working parent
  • Really giving the childcare responsibility to the au pair during the time that she or he is on duty.

This is explained in detail in an excellent post on the host parent blog AuPairMom. The author outlines 3 simple rules she has established for the kids regarding her working time in her home office. She writes:

  • Kids may not interrupt me when I am on the phone, on Skype, or when my fingers are moving on my keyboard.
  • Kids must knock on my office door and wait quietly until I come and open it...
  • I have a set time that I AM available to be interrupted.

In addition to this, the author makes the point that 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.

Making space for work and home

AuPairWorld Managing Director Ann-Kristin Cohrs sums up her own recent experience as a working mother during the intense phase of the lockdown with an au pair and two children at home : "I had to learn to let go while I was at home and let our au pair do her job. That made her happier because she had a clear role to fulfil and was really in charge, and it made me happier because I could get my work tasks done. And when they were done, I could spend time with the family and not be worrying about the job." 

As ways of working evolve through the pandemic and beyond, the au pair solution continues to show its flexibility and usefulness in all kinds of different ways. Using the home as a base   for work and for family life   can take on rewarding new dimensions when an au pair is part of the picture.