Working from home can sometimes make it a challenge to maintain a work-life balance. It’s especially challenging for those who are used to working on-site and clocking out to go home.
If you are adapting to having your work now residing in your home, here are some tips to get the most out of your remote working experience while maintaining work-life balance.
1. Stick to a routine.
You might find that not having traffic to worry about, not having to pack a lunch, and not having other morning time-consumers give you less of a push to get out of bed early. Being that you commute to only another room, you may find yourself hitting that snooze button more frequently. However, it’s more important than ever to stick to a routine you are used to from working on-site so that you maintain proper structure working remotely.
Instead of hitting the snooze button, set a consistent alarm to ensure you have enough time to get ready for the day. Although the obstacles that arise through commuting are eliminated, you should still set up adequate time for you to eat breakfast, drink a cup of coffee (or two), and prepare for the day.
Make sure you are getting an adequate amount of sleep. Sleep plays a huge part in your productivity. If you maintained a particular sleep schedule when working on-site, keep the same sleep routine working remotely. Although you might not have to wake up as early as you did when commuting, it’s still crucial that you are well rested for the workday ahead.
Another part of your routine should be taking a lunch break. It can be easy to get carried away with tasks and watch the clock quickly approach noon without even realizing it when working from home. Although you can get up at any point to grab a snack or beverage, it’s still just as important to take a lunch break at home, as it is on-site. This will help refresh your mind, allow you to get up to get some blood flowing, and get back to your tasks with a clear head.
Last, stick to your work hours. Whatever your work hours were when working at a physical location, maintain those hours working remotely. This will keep you in check and avoid any inconsistent habits when it comes to working hours.
2. Dress for the part.
Working from home can make it harder to get out of your favorite pajamas. However, dressing in casual clothes can make you just that: casual. It is highly recommended that you portray the same professional image as you would working in person.
In our previous blog titled How to Make the Most Out of Your Virtual Meetings, we mentioned, “Dressing well can potentially increase your confidence, which can in turn increase your productivity.”
If your job requires a lot of client connection, the above advice is that much more important, as you want to maintain a positive image and impression. By dressing well despite the work setting, you’ll receive benefits beyond just looking nice. You’ll also be more productive, and have a sense of normality when wearing the work attire you are used to.
3. Work in an area devoted to just work.
Ever heard the phrase “there is a time and a place for everything”?
When working from home, the options are endless as to where you choose to work. Choose a spot that works best for you that is away from distractions and leisure activities. You want to make sure you designate a spot just for work, as well as a spot just for leisure activities. Try your best to ensure the two do not get blended together.
The one place you should certainly avoid working in is your bedroom. Have you ever tried to sleep while your work station is glaring at you? It doesn’t call for the best night’s sleep. You also shouldn’t set up your workstation where you typically eat, watch TV, relax, etc. It’s important that you make it feel like a transition from work to leisure and vice versa.
According to a study from The Journal of Further and Higher Education, “It has been well established that psychological detachment from work (i.e., mentally separating oneself from work) during leisure time is critical in promoting employees’ work performance and subjective well-being.” So be sure to set up a work station that you can detach from when needed.
4. Set boundaries.
It may be tempting to be available for every email, chat, and call after work hours, but avoid the urge to check your work items at all times. As mentioned above, make sure you set up strict boundaries for your work and leisure time.
Keep in mind, if you worked on-site prior to being transitioned to remote work, did you continue working once you left the premises? If the answer is no, then treat remote work the same.
5. Be mindful of other schedules.
It’s important to understand when working remotely that some of your co-workers may be in different time-zones, which means that the end of your workday may be mid-day for them. It’s crucial that you communicate and make others aware of your time-zone and schedule.
Even if you are in the same time-zone as some co-workers, it’s still a good idea to communicate your schedule in order to maintain your boundaries. Some individuals may start later in the day and end later in the day. Some may start earlier, so it’s up to you to ensure that your calendar does not get filled up outside of your typical work hours. It makes logging off much easier knowing you don’t have to expect any calls, and knowing that you aren’t missing anything important since you have communicated your schedule effectively.
6. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Change requires adaptation, and it’s okay if you don’t get fully adapted to remote work right away. It takes time to get settled in new ways, so don’t be too hard on yourself if some days are not as productive as others. Just like working on-site, you will have good and bad days, so don’t let little setbacks bring you down.
There is no magic potion to finding a perfect work-life balance, particularly in this ever-changing situation. Really, how you do it will be as unique as you are. No matter what this balancing act looks and feels like, all that matters is that it works for you and your organization.
We’d love to hear how you maintain a work-life balance working remotely! Let us know in the comments below!
Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all-inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may be applicable to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your own legal advisor regarding the specific application of the information to your own plan.