The privilege of remote work and working from home has its perks for many employees. This not-so-new arrangement gives remote workers more flexibility and reduces travel times to and from offices. Many remote workers report that they feel more satisfied because of less commuter stress and more time they have throughout their days.
But we can’t deny that remote work has its challenges, especially for those who now work from home. It’s challenging to strike a balance between work and life since your home is now an office, too. People find it trickier to unplug and find a lovely space to unwind at home, especially under these circumstances.
As such, there have also been reports of the negativities remote work comes with, such as more significant stress, dissatisfaction, and poorer work-life balance. One study found that about 65% of Americans work even longer hours amid the pandemic, with almost 70% of them struggling to maintain an excellent work-life balance!
Because of the added stressors of remote work, employees must find ways to separate their work successfully and personal lives. That said, read on as we share the ways remote workers can achieve work-life balance!
How to Achieve Work-Life Balance as a Remote Worker
Work-life balance refers to the ability to balance work so that it won’t consume your life. You achieve this by finding ways to create that healthy work time and life time ratio. And yes, this would include time spent thinking about work because when you constantly think of your job, you don’t give yourself complete time for your personal life.
If you work remotely, you probably notice that work-life balance now has a blurrier line, and you can’t tell if your home is an office or your office is a home! What’s worse is that you’ll have the tendency to always feel you’re working.
To help you achieve work-life valance, follow these practical tips:
Give Time to Adjust
Maybe you’re new to remote work and just volunteered to try it out, or you never expected it to happen! Whatever the case may be, you’ll always need to give yourself some time to adjust to something new. Think of how you can make this arrangement work for the long term and not merely with temporary fixes.
Be patient and give yourself time, don’t beat yourself up if you make small mistakes or feel like you have no idea what you’re doing! This is the first step to finding a work-life balance.
Accept that you’ll experience some bumps throughout your new work-from-home journey, and you must find alternatives for things you used to experience in a physical office, like team building and socializing.
All the adjustments from working in a physical office to your house will take time and effort, requiring you to think outside the box to work however you feel comfortable and your best.
Set a Routine
This is one of the most obvious tips you should follow not only in a remote work setup but regardless of what work you do! A study by Duke University shows that up to 40% of our behaviors or actions are driven by habit.
Activities like getting up at 6 in the morning and enjoying dinner after getting home from work are reinforced by repetition. That can set you up for living a balanced and consistent lifestyle. Moreover, incorporating a routine will establish a foundation for work success, whether in the office, at home, or wherever you might be working right now.
One excellent way to create an effective work routine is to wake up and sleep at the same time. It’s also best to schedule consistent blocks of time for work, which helps build great productivity habits. Mark beginnings and ends for those blocks to help you set work boundaries.
A consistent routine that works best for you will help reduce the anxiety you might experience when you think you need to work. The blocks and breaks you have during your schedule will also prevent burnout and exhaustion, giving you more balanced workdays.
Besides creating a work routine, consider creating a fitness routine and staying consistent with it, guaranteeing time for your health and hobbies. Doing physical activities will do wonders for your physical, mental, and emotional health! Whether it’s a 15-minute at-home workout or a run around the neighborhood, a form of exercise you enjoy will do wonders!
Make Time for Socialization
Working from home has significantly changed the way we socialize, and the pandemic has made things even more different! We don’t go out to see people or head to the office to work with our colleagues face to face. Many of us now spend most of our days working alone, which results in social deprivation.
It might seem fun having all the time to yourself for the first few days or weeks, but it becomes difficult, dramatically decreasing our quality of life and work productivity. One of the essential things to happiness, engagement, and productivity at work is creating and maintaining relationships and friendships on the job.
But what happens when everyone is working remotely?
Prioritize social interaction and make time for it throughout the day, whether online or face to face! Schedule calls with friends, make time for family and roommates if you live with them, or even go for after-work meetups with colleagues. With borders opening and restrictions lessening, you can now meet your social needs and reap the benefits of working from home!
If you are a manager, you play a crucial role in helping coworkers socialize and build relationships in the workplace, virtual or physical. Schedule regular check-ins with your employees, show appreciation when your team members accomplish things and lead your team with a personal, positive, and understanding attitude.
Have a Separate Work Area
You must have a space in your home made strictly for work as much as possible. This can help create that physical separation between your personal and professional life. It can be a desk in your room or a whole home office.
Whatever the case may be, that separate work area is crucial to help you switch off after a workday. You’ll also be able to properly enjoy spaces like your living room or bedroom because you don’t associate those areas with work. Sure, you can’t work in your office like before, but you still have the power to be creative and assign (and design) a distinct workspace that works best for you!
Speaking of designing a home office space, you’ll want to make that area conducive to work. That means it should be designed for productivity without any distractions. If possible, invest in a strong, ergonomic work desk or even a sit-stand desk to stay healthy than sit for hours on end.
Ask for Support Whenever Needed
Even if we do our best to adjust and redesign our routine and workspace, there will be times you’ll feel overwhelmed. If that time comes, never be afraid to ask for support from your employer. Transitioning to a remote work setup can be a tough change, and we may need some help as we do so.
Whether tech assistance or social interaction with colleagues, communicate such needs to your manager, who can help address such needs.
If you are a manager, you must prepare to support and accommodate your team in new and inventive ways. This will help them transition to the new arrangement excellently and let them know they have a great leader, which can boost productivity levels.
Create a Non-Work-Related Morning Routine
Okay, we mentioned creating a routine, but we want to concentrate more on the morning routine, as this is what can make or break your day!
You probably noticed that you immediately grab your phone and scour through emails the moment you wake up. And the moment you get to bed… You’re still checking and answering emails!
It may seem productive, but you’re setting yourself up for burnout. An easy way to achieve work-life balance is to begin your day doing something you love and something relaxing before you begin grinding your work feats.
If you begin to think of work the moment you get up, that is the problem. Since you’re trying to achieve work-life balance, it starts with creating that balance in the first place.
And that all begins in the morning! Here are great ways you can kickstart your morning and create an energizing routine to ready yourself for the day:
· Coffee ritual – Don’t opt for readymade coffees; try learning to make your own and experimenting! You can even try making your own breakfast.
· Yoga – Even a quick 10-minute yoga or meditation session is both calming and energizing.
· Shower – Take a morning shower as you play your favorite songs or podcast.
· Walk – Yoga not right for you? Try a 10-minute walk or workout, whether it’s in your yard, neighborhood, or local park. Please leave your phone (or at least leave it on silent).
· Play – Switch off notifications and use your phone for entertainment, playing a stimulating game like Wordle for a few minutes.
Don’t Check Emails from Bed
Many of us are so guilty of checking emails from our bed, whether we just woke up, are about to sleep, or when taking a quick nap! This is terrible for your work-life balance and mental health, but unfortunately, it isn’t easy to avoid.
When aiming for work-life balance, your work should stay out of your place of rest. This ties back to creating a morning routine. Leave your phone out of your routine until it’s time for work, keeping it away from the bed if you must. You can leave your phone in the living room or a few feet from the bed, so you won’t automatically grab it.
Besides avoiding checking emails from bed, we also recommend not checking your social media notifications from there. It will help you get up or go to sleep easier. As we know, social media is very addicting, and if you aren’t careful, you can spend hours online without realizing it.
Since this is a bit hard to do, a good thing to remember is that you must treat your bedroom as a personal space, somewhere you live and rest in. It’s not where you work, so anything work-related doesn’t belong in bed!
Make a Work Schedule with a Start and End Time
Back to the routine! As you create a routine suitable for you, remember that your schedule when working at home must have a cut-off time where you just stop and tell yourself that whatever else you need to do will have to wait until tomorrow.
You might feel tempted to get your tasks over it, but prioritize time for your wellbeing and sanity! Set the alarm to let you know when work is over, or write it on a Post-It note to know what time you have to stop working and focus on your personal time.
Doing this will help you ensure that your time before and after work will be used for personal time. It’s the time to do your hobbies, socialize, relax, cook, and take care of yourself!
Don’t Sit in the Work Area During Days Off
Just like how we mentioned that your bedroom and living room are personal spaces for rest, your office area should only be for work. Don’t head to your workspace during weekends and days off! That way, you won’t feel like you’re in a work environment on a Sunday when you should be resting.
Have a Lunch Break
Even in a physical office, you might have taken your lunch at the desk to get some work done. Don’t bring that habit into your work-from-home setup.
Your lunch break should be what it is – a break from work. It’s something you can look forward to during your workday, and you can use it as an opportunity to rest and energize yourself for the late afternoon. Whip up some healthy meal in the kitchen (avoid takeout) and sit in your dining room, fully aware of your meal and enjoying it without thinking of work.
Utilize Remote Work Productivity Tools
Another huge problem people face is feeling lazy and unproductive. With the bed so near, it can feel so tempting to rest for a few minutes or to scroll down social media… Next thing you know, you haven’t done anything the entire day!
That’s where the wonders of technology come in, with work productivity tools you can utilize. You can use your phone’s standard apps, like the alarm clock, timer, and calendar, which help block and manage distractions at home. You can also install productivity apps on your laptop or phone to block certain apps and websites until the workday is over.
Wrapping It Up
While remote workers can benefit from the greater flexibility a work-from-home setup offers, it also comes with increased pressure. Make sure you prioritize yourself and aim for work-life balance before anything else to prevent burnout and further stress.
We hope these tips on how to achieve work-life balance helped you out! If you want to learn more about being more efficient with your job or even tips about the hiring process, we have more in store for you here at HireNest.