Keeping a healthy work-life balance
when working from home.
Starting in 2020 more people than ever found themselves working from home. This change was so sudden that most of us didn’t have the chance to get used to the idea, or ease into remote working gradually.
Remote working has brought with it some fantastic benefits. Greater flexibility, less time spent in traffic, and more time with family to name a few. But turning your home into an office comes with some downsides.
How do you switch off and relax when you haven’t left ‘the office’? And how do you stay productive while surrounded by the comforts and distractions of home?
Here are our tips for maintaining a healthy work-life balance while working remotely:
1. Find your ritual
Set the tone for your day and get into a working mindset with a morning ritual. This could be putting on a shirt and having a cup of coffee, going for a morning walk, or trying a quick meditation. Without a commute to mark the transition from home to work, it’s important to mark the start of work in your own way.
In the same way that you mark the start of the day, it is just as important to mark the end of your working day. Change out of your work clothes, close the office door, or clear work materials out of view. Find a signal that marks the end of work and the start of your own time.
2. Set a schedule
Remote working can bring great flexibility, letting you sleep in a little and extend your working day, or start early to enjoy some more free time in the evening. Being flexible doesn't mean that you can’t have a routine at all. Following some guidelines of when to work and when to stop helps to maintain a good balance.
Schedule time for lunch, as well as regular screen breaks. Try to focus on your important work in short bursts. Set a one hour ‘focus’ timer to help you stay on track, then reward yourself with a break.
3. Ask for Support
More employers are embracing remote working, and businesses expect that you’ll need some support and equipment. Many organisations are performing regular wellbeing checks to ensure that employees aren’t feeling isolated. Even if these checks aren’t in place, be sure to talk to your employer if you find yourself struggling.
Make sure that you have the tools that you need to get the job done. This might include a proper monitor, keyboard, chair, printer, or software. Most organisations that support remote working will have a budget in place for at-home equipment.
4. Leave the house
Getting outside during the day can benefit your mental wellbeing, boost energy levels, and increase productivity. A little fresh air and natural light can go a long way. If you’re feeling stagnant or trapped in the house, why not visit a café, library, or shared workspace for a change of scene. A fresh location every now and then can break up the repetition of being at home and help to keep things interesting.
In a remote working environment, it is easy to lose touch with colleagues, and even harder to get to know new ones. This doesn’t mean that you need to write long emails or spend hours on the phone. Instead try short check-ins with your co-workers. A simple ‘what are you working on?’ can go a long way.
Businesses are adapting as remote work becomes more widespread, but that doesn’t mean that improvements won’t be needed. Try to be positive and give meaningful suggestions.
Team tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack can be a huge help and offer a level of interaction that isn’t possible via email. A virtual coffee break or a show-and-tell session can make teams feel more connected and encourage collaboration.
Many of us have these applications installed on our personal devices, so be sure to mute them if they become overwhelming, particularly outside of working time.