Winning At Work-Life Balance When Working From Home
In Brief: Winning at the work-life balance seems like a guarantee when you start remote work. But as remote workers will tell you, improved work-life balance actually requires quite a bit of effort to create, otherwise, remote work can lead to life and work blending into one incoherent mess.
The best news of many people’s work life is the day that they learn their request to start working remotely has been granted.
They assume that their work-life balance will automatically be rectified and their mental health and relationships will benefit from the extra time with family, friends, hobbies, etc.
Yet, it often doesn’t turn out that way – to get a good work-life balance while working remotely is actually more challenging than it first seems and this is what you need to know.
Remote Work Tips For Better Work-Life Balance
You don’t have to introduce everything at once, work towards the right work-life balance by taking things a step at a time.
- Create routines. Marah Whitaker of the University of Tennessee Chattanooga says that creating a routine really works to help divide remote work from daily life. She recommends paying particular attention to the morning routine and using it to prepare for work and your job rather than starting work immediately.
- Get more sleep. You have more time than you had when you had a commute. Yet, according to the Sleep Foundation, many remote workers aren’t using more of their personal life to sleep, they’re using it to work instead. They recommend that if you’re working from home that you set and stick to a regular bedtime. They say that the Covid-19 pandemic left a lot of employees undertaking remote work but employers failed to prepare those people for their job and life outside of the office.
- Set and communicate your work and life boundaries. A Tiny Pulse survey found that, during the Covid-19 pandemic, remote workers were more productive but suffered from more stress and tended to work a longer workday than those in an office. Working from home requires you to set work and personal boundaries and the folks at We Work Remotely recommend that you clearly communicate your working hours and when you will not be available for work-related matters. They say this can really help avoid burnout in the home office.
- Take regular breaks during work hours. Remote working doesn’t mean being chained to your laptop (we like these laptops for remote work by the way) and desk as you work from home all day long. You need to take regular breaks or you can join the growing number of people that, according to the United Nations, are more stressed when they work from home than they are in an office. Schedule breaks and take them, even if just to take a quick walk around the block for your health. We all need a little personal time in our working day.
- Make plans for your time outside of your work schedule. Sure, that might sound like a bit of work but planning your after-hours time can ensure that you spend time with your family and friends rather than thinking about your productivity and team relationships. CNBC says you should get 105 more hours of leisure time than employees who are stuck in the office, make sure you get the full benefit of it.
- Create a separate workspace. If you can achieve it, creating a workspace means can make you feel like you’re “going to work” and “leaving work” at different ends of the day. It also means your home feels like your home when you’re away from that space. It can also help to show your family where your working space is and indicate when you’re not on the job as well as when you’re focusing on productivity. CNBC says that expert research has shown this is one of the best ways to support a flexible work routine at home.
- Eat a healthy lunch and get exercise. In fact, eating healthy meals and exercising will make you feel more human, give you more focus on the tasks you need to carry out, and make everything in life easier. The folks at the Penn Medicine Heart and Vascular Blog stress that this isn’t an optional extra. They say if you’re not moving regularly then you risk your health in the long term. So, put down the laptop and get out into the wider environment and move!
You have all the resources that you need to enjoy being away from the company desk and working from home but it is important to separate work and life if you work remotely.
This gives you the best chance of creating a healthy balance between the two which lets you take advantage of your new role rather than leading to overwork and unhappiness. So, start making positive changes today to improve your work and life balance!