For some professionals, working from home is their normal but for others, it has been thrust upon them during this pandemic. Working from home, just like in an office, is all about finding a good balance between your work life and your home life. When you’re working from home, it can be difficult to separate the two and make time for yourself. Just because your new office is in your own home, doesn’t mean you are obligated to spend more time working than you usually would.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can help you feel less stressed and that is very important, especially in a time like this where you might be feeling more stressed than usual. It can help you feel healthier and happier and avoid work related burn-out or bore-out. You should feel like you are getting a break, so we have some tips on how to sustain a good work-life balance when you’re working from home.
Try and create a workspace
Having a designated at-home workspace might be just what you need to try and separate the work feeling to the home feeling when you finish for the day. It’s not possible for everyone to have a separate room available for working or even a desk. So, if you find a space that you are comfortable in and use this daily for your work, then leaving that designated space at the end of the day can help you distinguish between work and home. A workspace doesn’t have to be exactly like the one you have at work, it can be on your sofa or at your dining table, as long as you are comfortable and happy working there. Then at the end of the day, pack your workspace away and forget about it until morning. It can help if you don’t see your laptop/computer screen whilst you’re not working. (Not viable for every single person but good if you can)
Learn to switch off at the end of the day
The problem with working from home for some people is that even though they have finished for the day, they can still hear their email inbox ding or their phone flash up. In order to have some time for yourself after work, switch off your computer and phone and DO NOT turn them back on until you start work the next day.
Feeling obligated to answer late emails or phone calls is what can leave us feeling cheated out of our own time. Your employer shouldn’t expect this of you, so why do you expect it of yourself? You need to have a split between work and life and having your technology on after work hours can make it difficult for you to find the right balance.
Interruptions during the day can happen but don’t feel guilty!
Both you and your employer should understand that working from home comes with distractions! If you have children, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. There might be parts of your day where you aren’t as productive as you could have been because of other people in your home or noise from outside etc. The list of possible distractions is endless. However, don’t feel like you should add on extra time to your day for something that is out of your control. (Although, employers have different may have policies on this.) We all have things we have to deal with in our personal lives and you shouldn’t be putting extra weight on your shoulders. Clock off on time and make sure to start again tomorrow.
Take your breaks
This can be as simple as taking your lunch break and several other breaks during the day. You should be eating proper meals and prioritising this time to sit down, have a break and maybe even read a book or go for a walk. Taking the whole of your lunch break will split up the day and hopefully not leaving you wishing for the day to end.
Other times, you might need more than just a few breaks throughout the day. Don’t be afraid to take your annual leave. It might feel weird not being able to go out anywhere or travel abroad but your mental and physical well-being can take a hit if you’re working day in and day out for a really long period of time. If you don’t feel like taking huge chunks of annual leave, just take a day here and there. You might really start to see a difference in how you feel. It’s all about balance.
Schedules can keep you on top of your daily work and can help reduce stress once you see that you are being productive. However, if you don’t tick everything off your list by the end of the day, I highly recommend adding it to tomorrow’s list and not working until it’s done. Unless it’s something very important, it can wait until tomorrow. A good work-life balance is all about prioritising your time.
Try and make plans
You might not currently be able to make too many plans with friends and family, but you can plan small things for yourself to help you relax at the end of a workday. Get a new book, plan a new recipe to cook for dinner, set up a zoom call with friends or even pop over to their garden for a cup of coffee. Something to get your mind off of work. This situation we find ourselves in might not be ideal, but we can still make the most of it and take care of ourselves.
Do not work on your days off
If it’s the weekend or you have booked annual leave, use these days to do anything other than work! Even if all you want to do is have a lay in, do it. Not only are you not getting paid for work that you do on these days, you aren’t letting yourself have any time to yourself. Finding the right work-life balance can be difficult, but extremely beneficial when you find the right balance for you. It might be difficult for you to tell the difference between being at work and being at home right now but try and do things that help you separate the two. Don’t over work yourself and cut yourself some slack every now and again. Your time is valuable and it’s important to take care of your physical and mental well-being, as well as do your job.