Blurred lines: work-life balance and working remotely
Work-life balance is often elusive and challenging to maintain. When work moves from an office to your home, the lines you had previously drawn between your personal and professional life can easily blur.
While working from home comes with the highly sought-after benefits of flexibility, more quality time with loved ones, increased productivity and no commuting, it can become difficult to switch off and unplug at the end of the work day. As Covid-19 continues to flood our daily lives, we are all searching for calm and stability as we navigate what has become our new normal. A good work-life balance, now more than ever before, is essential for personal happiness, professional growth and your motivation to do great work.
Each person’s definition of work-life balance is unique to them. Here are a few ways you can define and achieve it for yourself while working remotely:
Designate a work-only zone
Choose a neat and clutter-free spot for your home office and dedicate this space as a work-only zone. A comfy chair and natural light are productivity boosters so keep this in mind when setting up your space. If your home office is in an open space and you engage regularly with your team or clients via video calls, take note of your background and possible distractions from kids, pets or roommates.
Start the day off right
Get ready for work in the same way you would if you were going into the office: make a cup of coffee, take a shower, savour a good breakfast, meditate or enjoy a workout. Giving yourself the time to mentally prepare for being productive and ensuring the right mindset for working remotely will maximise your success later in the day.
One of the simplest ways to ensure work-life balance is to take a lunch break. Step away from your workzone to relax during your break – enjoy a nutritious lunch, head out for a walk, do a bit of reading or catch up on your favourite TV series.
A break could also mean taking a few minutes to make a cup of tea, stretch your legs or give your eyes a break from staring at your computer screen. These microbreaks are helpful in maintaining productivity throughout the day.
Mark the end of the day
Transition out of work mode by powering down your laptop and tidying up your workspace to mentally clock off and to feel like you are leaving the office at the end of the day – even if your desk is only a few steps away from your couch. The added bonus of no commute allows for some extra time to unwind before you start dinner or head out for some exercise.
It can be tempting to unpack the dishwasher, hang a load of laundry or start prepping for tonight’s dinner, but multi-tasking can be more distracting than helpful. Keep yourself in work mode during working hours and use the time you would usually spend commuting before and after work to tackle these at-home tasks.
Find after-work hobbies
Make stepping away from your desk easier and break up your work week by finding new hobbies to fill your time with. Take up painting, join an outdoor yoga class or host a weekly virtual cooking class to make the most of the flexibility which comes with working remotely.
Adapting to new situations takes time – taking an active approach is great but be sure to be patient with yourself while experimenting with these tips for achieving your unique work-life balance.