Exclusively working from home can feel as if the line between work and life is virtually nonexistent. These 10 tips will help you strike a good balance.
- PwC recently conducted a survey, and they found out that among 669 CEOs, 78% agree that remote work is here to stay.
- Gartner surveyed company leaders and discovered that 80% plan to allow partial work from home after the pandemic, and 47% might allow full-time remote work.
- In another survey by FlexJobs, 65% of participants want to work full time remotely post-pandemic, and 31% prefer a hybrid working environment, where they could have a few days working in the office and a few days at home.
- According to Upwork's "Future Workforce Pulse Report," released December 2020, 26.7% will continue to work from home by 2021, and by 2025, 22% of the American workforce will work remotely.
Based on these stats, remote work will continue to be a part of the modern-day working environment. But sometimes, exclusively working from home feels as if the hours and days are blending with each other, and the line between work and life is virtually nonexistent.
Most people think that the perfect work-life balance means spending fixed, equal hours on both sides. However, this perspective is unrealistic and can be bad for your mental health. It will only leave you overwhelmed and frustrated if you're unable to achieve your goals.
You need to realize that work-life balance while working remotely is different for each person. It varies whether you're single, married or you have kids at home with you. We all lead different lives, and we all have unique priorities and responsibilities.
Hopefully, these tips will help you find your work-life balance while working from home:
1. Set boundaries.
If you're living with roommates, children or your spouse, it's important to inform them of your needs, time restraints and schedules ahead of time. Communication is key to a harmonious home. Be sure to proactively communicate your commitments and schedules beforehand, so everyone can give you the space you need to do your job.
2. Have a designated area for work.
Having a designated workspace can help you stay focused while working from home. It will be easier for you to switch off for the day and to detach yourself from work. However, it can be hard to have a dedicated work station if you live in one-room spaces.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to create a designated workspace. For instance, you can place a desk in the corner of your bedroom or living room. It isn't the best idea to work where you sleep, but for some, there's no other way around it. You can add storage to keep papers and documents out of sight when work hours are over.
3. Avoid using your work computer during your free time.
Aside from having different locations for work and play, it's important to separate the tools you use during work. It can be tempting to use your work computer for all your computing needs, especially when you're working from home, but drawing a line between work and life means closing your work laptop for the day and only using it for work purposes.
4. Set working hours.
It's easy to lose track of time when working remotely. Most people find it hard to stick to their 9-to-5 schedules, and they often work more hours than they would in an office setting. Setting firm hours while working from home can help ensure that everything gets done without your tasks taking over your day.
Defining your daily schedule is especially important if you have kids at home. It's a great way to set boundaries and to help them understand that you're working during certain times of the day. If your kids are in school, you can work while they're at school, or you could have them work on their schoolwork while you're working on deliverables. Getting everyone on a tight schedule ensures that everyone's work gets done.
5. Use communication apps to indicate your working hours.
After setting a daily schedule that makes sense for your team and the people around you, the next step is to use different tools to notify them about times during the day you are available. This informs your team members in different locations and time zones to be mindful and respectful of your time.
Communication tools like Slack allow you to set your availability, so you don't receive notifications within a particular time of day. You can also set your working hours on your Google Calendar to automatically decline events booked outside your schedule.
6. Set plans after your working hours.
It can be hard to detach from work at the end of the day if your workstation and your living area are in the same area. Some people who work from home don't see a reason to log off at a certain time, especially if you still have several tasks that need to be completed within the week.
If you find it hard to stick to your working hours, it helps to set plans after work. For instance, you can take your significant other out on a date, plan a movie night with your kids or go on a hike with your friends. You'll be more inclined to take your mind off work if you have something to do at the end of your workday.
7. Take breaks during the day by completing personal errands.
Increased productivity is one of the perks of remote work. Eliminating office chatter, commuting and workplace stress can help your employees spend more time getting things done. However, the repetitiveness and the solitude of remote work can sometimes be lonely and mentally exhausting.
Taking little breaks throughout the day by completing personal errands takes your mind off your tasks, even if those errands take just a few minutes. While taking breaks may seem counterproductive, taking shorts breaks during the working day can prevent or reduce stress, decrease exhaustion, and increase your energy levels. This is especially important because the damaging effects of long-term stress include depression, headaches and heart disease.
Not only does doing your personal errands during the day give you more time to exercise, cook and spend time with your loved ones, it can reduce stress-related health problems that affect you in the long run.
8. Refrain from multitasking.
When working remotely, it's easier to find yourself trying to juggle several tasks at once. It can be tempting to clean your room and fold your clothes while you're working, but it's more distracting than it is useful. A scattered mind usually results in a low-quality output. It's better to focus on a single task you're working on – you'll complete the job faster, and the quality of those completed tasks will be better.
Instead of multitasking, perform household chores by scheduling breaks during the day. However, make sure to strictly follow the amount of time you set for the break and not go beyond it.
9. Take a quick walk outside.
According to Joseph G. Allen, the lead author of "9 Foundations of a Healthy Building" and assistant professor and director of the Healthy Buildings program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, there is a direct correlation between air quality and employee productivity. Taking breaks and breathing fresh air can improve your decision-making and information-processing skills. It's also a great way to support your overall health and wellness.
It’s easy to lose track of time when you're working from home, but it helps to take a quick walk outside and breathe fresh air whenever you can. Walk your dog, take a stroll to the park or cafe, or complete personal errands. If this isn't possible, you can stand, stretch or open a window to let air inside – you will feel energized and ready to take on the next task when you return to your desk.
10. Get ready for work the same way you get ready for the office.
One of the perks of remote work is that you don't have to rush around in the morning to get to the office on time. You can drink coffee, eat breakfast and get dressed for work. Dressing up may seem like an unnecessary hassle, but getting ready for work the same way you get ready for the office sets your intention for the day.
Getting ready gives you a sense of normalcy amid today's "new normal." It also helps establish a routine, and it can improve work-life boundaries. Don't forget to change out of your work-from-home clothes after you clock out for the day! This helps shift your mental state from work mode to relaxation mode, drawing a boundary between your work and personal life.
The transition and adjustment to working from home and striking a balance between work and play often takes time. The work-from-home setup is different for everybody, so be patient with yourself. Learn what works for you and take proactive steps to improve your work-life balance.