If you and your team are new to working from home, you’re probably going through a lot right now. Working from home can be challenging, and it doesn’t come with an official manual on how to do it well. Many companies have been thrown into the lion’s den when it comes to working from home, and it’s having a significant impact on teams of all sizes.
When you work from home, it can feel like work is taking over your entire life. That’s where work/life balance comes in. Today, we wanted to share some insight on work/life balance and how to achieve it when you work from home.
What Is Work/Life Balance And Why Is It Important
Work/life balance has evolved over the years, but it’s the process of making sure that your work doesn’t take over too much of your life. You want to be able to leave work at work, so you can enjoy the time you spend away, and come back to work feeling refreshed and excited to tackle your day. It is about give and take, though. Sometimes, you have to stay late at the office, but then you may have some days where you leave early. Work/life balance helps us feel like we have a balance between the two in the grand scheme of things.
If we don’t get enough balance between work and life, we’ll find it challenging to enjoy both parts of our existence for what they are. We need to do great work, but we also need to find time to relax.
Work/life balance helps you maintain your mental and physical health, boost productivity, and it enables you to become a more well-rounded individual. We can’t devote ourselves entirely to work, after all. Whether you’re an employer trying to create more work/life balance for your employees or an employee trying to balance it all, we know how challenging work/life balance can be.
Work/Life Balance During COVID-19
We are living in a weird time right now. Everything is off-center, and many people are working from home, even though they are not used to it. On top of working from home, we are dealing with a global pandemic that has infected well over a million people worldwide.
It might feel like now is the perfect time to throw yourself into work when you are at home. What else is there to do? Work is likely a welcome distraction from all the news happening around the world. Work/life balance is still relevant, even if it feels like a welcome reprieve right now. You should always be taking an adequate amount of time off to decompress and get ready for the day ahead.
7 Ways To Improve Work/Life Balance While You Work From Home
If you’re new to working from home, creating a balance might seem strange to you. How can you separate work and life when you live where you work? These next tips will help you establish work/life balance, even when you work from home.
1) Create A Specific Space For Your Work
If you haven’t already created a specific space for your work. One of the best things you can do to improve work/life balance when you work from home is to honor the areas you’ve created in your home. Instead of working from bed, get a desk, and set up shop there. If you have a spare bedroom to put your office, that’s even better. Being able to close the door at the end of a long workday and keep work out of sight will make your life even better.
Overall, you want to set boundaries in your life, so that your bed becomes a place where you sleep, your couch becomes the place where you hang out with family, and your office becomes the place where you work. Mixing spaces can have dire consequences because it makes it hard to relax when you need to settle down.
2) Take Breaks Throughout The Day
When you go into the office, you usually manage you take breaks throughout the day. You might feel the need to work extra hours because you’re working from home, but don’t let that get to you. As long as your work is getting done on time, you should be able to take breaks to improve your mental and physical health.
Set up intentional breaks throughout your day. During those breaks, get away from your desk and the work that you’re doing. Breaks will help you reset, get more done, and think creatively.
3) Set Office Hours And Stick To Them
When you work from home, it can be easy to work at all hours of the day. Even though you can work at all hours, you should probably stick to a traditional business schedule, especially if you will going back to the office after a while.
You need to spend typical business hours working because that’s when your colleagues and business contacts will likely be working. For example, if you work in sales, you probably want to create a typical 9-5 schedule because that’s when it’s going to be most appropriate to cold call and connect with your contacts.
Once you pick the hours you’ll be working, stick to those hours. Close down your computer and stop checking your work email after hours. Unless it’s an emergency, you need to stop checking-in after your office hours are over.
4) Figure Out When Your Work Best And Take Advantage Of That Time
When you work from home, there are a ton of distractions that you won’t get at the office like your kids, pets, and all of your favorite board games. You need to protect your creative time and make sure that you settle into work when you’re in the mood to do so.
Are you a morning person or an afternoon person? Figure out what your ideal schedule looks like and lean into that. You likely have a mix of tasks that you need to do. Save more creative tasks for times when you have more brainpower to spare. Save light work like housekeeping, email checking, etc. for the time of day when you have less creative energy.
5) Schedule After Work Activities (While Social Distancing)
If you don’t have anything to do after work, work becomes the default activity to tackle. Instead, you should schedule some after-work activities, so you have something to look forward to. Maybe your after-work activity is reading, cooking, cleaning, or catching up on the latest show that everyone is talking about. Create a list of all the things you want to get done soon so that you always have a task to accomplish after work.
6) Keep Up With Your Colleagues
When you work from home, it can be easy to neglect building acquaintanceships and friendships with colleagues. If you typically go into the office, these relationships naturally build as you pass each other in the hallway, chat before a meeting, or bump into each other in the office kitchen. Now that you’re working from home, it’s easy to get caught in your own little bubble. Don’t do that. Make time every day to connect with some of your fellow employees. Make creating and building human connections a part of your daily routine.
7) Have Reasonable Expectations Of Yourself
Last but not least, you must have reasonable expectations of yourself. If you are working from home for the first time due to COVID-19, it’s probably not going to be as easy as you hoped it would be. Everyone is dealing with stress, and you’re dealing with a new work arrangement on top of that. If you are not 100% perfect, you’re doing just fine. Everyone is struggling with COVID-19 and what it means for the future of work. It’s okay if you are not on your A-game right now.
Working from home can be a challenge for employers and employees alike. Today, we shared seven tips to help you and your team improve work/life balance. Whether you were thrown into remote work or you always wanted to work remotely, we hope these tips help you take control of your work life so you can be more productive and happy.