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Advice: How work-at-home parents can keep kids at bay

Dear Karen: My kids are signed up for day camps this summer. How else can I keep them busy while working at home?

Answer: Summer schedules often lower productivity for self-employed parents. Abbey Fatica, president of Living Your Moment — a Columbus, Ohio, marketing firm specializing in home-based businesses — offered some tips:

Explain to your children that you need an uninterrupted block of time to work each day. Line up activities for them, such as crafts or play dates, or get a babysitter during that time. “It must be communicated clearly to them that they are only allowed to come get you in the case of an emergency,” Fatica said.

Hire a virtual assistant to help with office tasks so you can take your kids to the pool or park a couple times a week and get a break yourself. “Indulge by taking the family vacation that everyone is clamoring to have,” Fatica also said. “A week at the beach can make you more productive when you come home.”

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How to foster creativity

Dear Karen: How can we encourage more creativity from our employees?

Answer: Start at the top, by ensuring that your organization nurtures and rewards creative thinking, said Phil Cooke, a Burbank media consultant and author of a new book, “Jolt! Get the Jump on a World That’s Constantly Changing.”

Meet with your leadership team, perhaps off site, and brainstorm about what impedes innovation at your business. “Make sure they understand that all restrictions are off and they shouldn’t be afraid to be open and honest. A truly open and inventive atmosphere will never happen unless employees know they won’t be penalized for their honesty,” Cooke said.

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Small-business questions? Email Karen at smallbiz@latimes.com.


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