Achieving a good work-life balance while working remotely can be very challenging. It requires critical thinking and proper planning. Even more so when everyone has suddenly become a remote worker due to coronavirus.
When you think of work-life balance, you often think of both being in perfect harmony, with equal hours spent on both sides. However, viewing this, literally it is unrealistic and can affect our mental health. It sometimes leaves you feeling incredibly overwhelmed and unaccomplished. We need to redefine work-life balance while working from home.
The first thing you need to realize is that work-life balance while working from home is more of a juggle or a blending of both aspects of our life. It will look different for each of us and could change daily. It will contrast drastically if you are single, married, or have kids at home all day.
It varies so much between us because we lead such individual lives, and we all have our own unique priorities. These tips could help maintain a good work-life balance while working from home.
Carve Out A Working Space.
The first step to achieving work life balance is to dedicate a spot in your home to working. If you have the luxury of space, pick a room to become your new office. If you do not have a spare room, carve out a spot in your apartment to become your workstation. As tempting as it may be, do not work from your bed. Being too comfortable can negatively impact productivity, plus it is best to leave your bed as a place where you can go to escape from work.
Wherever you set up your workspace, make sure that you have a comfortable chair to sit on and good lighting. Natural light is a mood and productivity booster, so set up your space near a window if possible. If you are going to be on a video call and your workspace is in an open area, be aware of your background and any other distractions from pets, roommates, or kids.
Set Working Hours.
It is easy to lose track of time when you are working from home in various ways. Some people end up working more hours than they would in an office and others find it hard to stay focused from 9-5. Avoid the temptation to work whenever just because you can and set office hours for yourself. This ensures that you get work done without work taking over your entire day.
Setting working hours is especially helpful if you have kids. It is a way to set boundaries and helps them understand that for certain times you will be in work mode, but the rest of the time you can be in parent mode. If your kids are in school, you can have them complete their schoolwork while you are working. Getting everyone in the house on a schedule helps ensure that work gets done for everyone.
When you work in an office, part of your normal routine includes changing out of your pajamas and into work-appropriate attire. Though it is tempting to work in your favorite PJs, it may not be the best option for productivity. It helps if you get dressed as if you are going to work You do not have to wear a suit or heels, of course, but do not stay in your pajamas, either. Dressing in clothes that you would wear outside of the home helps you get into the mindset of work. Getting ready is important, especially because these can affect the way you feel. Treat your home like a real work environment It makes a huge difference when you feel like it is. It changes everything
Eat A Proper Lunch
While eating snacks all day while a step away from your fridge sounds amazing, it does nothing for your productivity or sense of work-life balance while working from home. At work we may be more compelled to take a lunch break when your coworkers remind you to this does not happen at home. Make sure to set aside time in your day to take a proper break. Set a calendar or phone reminder. Even better do a virtual lunch break with your team so you can connect with each other and get a proper time-out.
Get Rid of Time Wasters, Both Activities And People
If it does not reflect your true priorities, put it on your not-to-do list. Draw boundaries. Politely excuse yourself from conference calls that you do not need to be part of. It is not selfish to devote your attention to activities that are the best use of your time.
Go Home On Time
It can be hard to get up and walk away when you no longer worry about getting stuck in traffic or picking children up on time. This does not mean you will not have a “go home” mentality. It means, decide what time you finish up for the day, and when the clock gets there stop working and leave your workspace.
Judge your productivity by your results, not the hours you put in especially right now. Work-life balance while working at home is all about creating a new normal and sticking to it instead of working away until the wee hours. You will be much more efficient with the extra sleep anyway.
Build Transitions Into And Out Of Work
Your commute not only gets you to and from work but also gives your brain time to prepare for your day and decompress after. Just because you do not have that commute, does not mean you should not have an equivalent routine to ease into and out of your day.
We often take for granted our commute time and just wish we could get there faster. But we rarely identify the opportunity it gives us to mentally prepare. You are generally not signing off on a major project and going straight to making dinner. Give your brain time to hit the reset button. Have a signal at the beginning and end of your day to serve as a buffer.
Don’t Forget To Socialize
Since the whole office started working from home, you are cut off from a lot of casual daily interactions. If you are not used to working alone this can make you feel lonely. Those random social interactions help break up your day and make it feel unique; you can combat this by talking to your work colleagues a couple of times throughout the day.
Have a video coffee break, ask what they did on the weekend, catch up on their family news, reach out and share that joke or meme, or just discuss the shows your binge-watching. If you normally talk to them about a specific topic, keep it up. These little interactions go a long way to maintain your work-life balance when working from home.