Achieving a good work-life balance while working from home can be challenging. It takes careful thought and planning. Even more so when everyone has suddenly become a remote worker due to corona virus.
Achieving work-life balance: it’s something we all strive to do whether working from home, working remotely or working in a traditional office setting.
Finding that work-life balance when you work from home is something that comes with time. Maybe you’ve found yourself here, reading this article, because you’re trying to avoid work-from-home burnout.
The first thing you need to realise 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 on a daily basis. It will contrast drastically if you are single, married, or have kids at home all day.
Tips that can help you find your Work-Life Balance while working from Home
1. Design a Home Office Space
If you’ve been reading our guides for how to set up a shared home office or our home office essentials guide, you know that we really believe in separate spaces for work and play in your home, when your home becomes partially your office.
A home office is a designated space designed to be productive and free of distraction, even if it’s a corner of your living room, family room or bedroom. Consider that your home office should only be used for work and should be a place to focus. To achieve that perfect work-life balance, avoid even going near your home office on the weekends, so that you can mentally split up how workdays and weekends feel.
2. Get rid of Time Wasters
If it doesn’t reflect your true priorities, put it on your not-to-do list. Draw boundaries. Politely excuse yourself from conference calls that you don’t need to be part of. It is not selfish to devote your attention to activities that are the best use of your time.
3. Make a work schedule
Your schedule for working at home should surely have a cut-off time where you tell yourself, “If I haven’t done it today, it probably won’t get done, and I need to carve out some time for my well being and sanity.”
So, give yourself that limit and even write a post-it note for the wall where you scribble a time by which things have to get done, or it’ll have to be taken care of the next day.
This is so that you can assure yourself that evenings (or mornings, depending on that schedule you’ve committed to) are a time for hobbies, socializing, FaceTiming your parents (or kids!), cooking, relaxing and taking care of yourself.
4. Go for a walk after the workday is over
Unless you live in an area where you’re not allowed to go outside during the lockdown, go out for a walk or for a bike ride as soon as the workday is over. This will help you mentally switch to “home mode” by getting you focused on a different activity, thereby relaxing your mind.
If you cannot go out, do some exercises or stretches at home. Not only will physical activity help you divert your mind from work, but it will help you stay in shape and help you relax.
5. Avoid sitting at your home office space on days off
Like we mentioned above, avoid using your ergonomic home office chair as a regular chair during weekends or days off. Make sure that office space is for workdays only, so that during your personal day or your Sunday morning, you don’t feel jerked back into your office environment.
6. Prepare a productive meeting Space
You might be more on the isolated end of the spectrum if you live alone and if all your meetings are virtual, or, you may live with family or roommates, and you may have client, vendor or team meetings in your home.
In line with the focus on work-life balance, prepare a designated space for meetings whether someone will be coming over to sit with you or even if all meetings are via Zoom.
7. Stop getting upset or Stressed about Minor Issues
As with every new undertaking, you will not be perfect the first time around. Give yourself a break. There isn’t one tried and true rule to finding work-life balance, especially in this ever-changing situation. In fact, how you approach it will be as individual as you are.
No matter what this balancing act looks like, the most important part is that it works for both you and your family. If both your life and work are getting the attention they deserve, whatever you are doing is right for you.
8. Plan your after-work time
When everyone is locked in and there isn’t much life outside your home, it’s difficult to break yourself away from work. You have to leave your desk at a specific time to bring your kid home from kindergarten, meet a friend for a drink or catch a class in the gym.
In order to not get stuck at work for longer than needed, it is now more important than ever to plan your after-work activities. These can be activities like having an after-work run, preparing dinner or scheduling a call with a friend at 5 p.m. sharp. By making plans after your office hours, you’ll have a specific reason to “leave” work on time.
9. Maximize the positive Lifestyle benefits of Working from Home
There are tons of benefits of working from home as a lifestyle. Should we start with the fact that working from home slashes the commute and gives you hours back in your day, or the fact that you don’t have to brush shoulders in the kitchen with that coworker who talks too much?
Along with the positive benefits from home is the way that you can take control of your work-life balance. Remember, working from home gives us a lot of freedom, and included in that freedom is the autonomy to create our schedules and stick to them. To achieve the perfect work-life balance, optimize those hours you no longer spend commuting.
10. Don’t forget to Socialise
When the whole office starts working from home, you get cut off from a lot of casual daily interactions. If you’re 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, while isolation can make every day feel like Groundhog Day but one where all we are doing is working.
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.