Working From Home and Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the status quo, and millions of office workers the world over are now foregoing the virus-ridden close-quarters daily commute. Instead, they’re spending their workdays in the relative safety of their homes.
Working from home can be rewarding, and it certainly does a lot to help with curbing the spread of the coronavirus, but it’s not without its problems. It can be challenging to separate work from home life, especially when children are involved who are also home from school.
Here are a few tips on how you can maintain a healthy work/life balance, keep your sanity, and maintain your previous levels of productivity.
Dress for Work
When you work from home, it can be tempting to lay in bed until the last minute before heading to your desk, a bowl of milk and cereal in hand, while still dressed in your pyjamas.
This is a sure-fire way to ruin your productivity. A daily ritual of dressing for work, even when your commute is now limited to your hallway, can have a substantial psychological impact.
Pyjamas subconsciously put your mind into relaxation mode and say it’s time to take a break from the world. It can be hard to shake this mindset when you sit down at your desk wearing slippers and a dressing gown.
We’re not saying you should be dressing in your usual formal workwear because casual is fine. The act of getting dressed for work, even if it’s shorts and a t-shirt, will put you in the right mindset to focus and get stuff done.
Work Your Normal Hours
Successfully separating your home life from work often means sticking to as close a regular work routine as possible.
It can be tempting to work late into the night, but it’s surprising how quickly this can become your new normal. If you don’t want to become estranged from your family because you’re always at your computer, then stick to a strict work schedule.
Turn the computer off at your normal going home time. If possible, use a separate phone for work, so your home life isn’t constantly interrupted by email and work notifications.
Use the Right Tools
When working from home, you must have the right tools to manage your workflow. A competent client portal, CRM, and inventory management tool are all essential for ensuring your schedule stays on track, and you keep your customers in the loop.
Keep a Separate Space Exclusively for Work
If you have the room, create a separate office space that is exclusively for work. It will be even more effective if there’s a door. A closed door tells your family that you are working and the usual rules of a parent at work apply. Being able to put your work area out of view during your time-off will also help keep your work-life nicely separated from family time.
Take Active Breaks
Working in a busy office means you’re regularly getting up from your desk to converse with colleagues, do photocopying, visit the break room, or head out to lunch.
Sitting at your desk at home can often mean uninterrupted hours of inactivity – especially if you’re comfortable. All communications are now online, so there’s no reason for you to get up out of your chair.
Small bursts of activity can improve your levels of productivity. It would help if you also were mindful of making sure you expose yourself to a few minutes of sunlight and fresh air every day for mental and physical health reasons. Use an app to remind you when it’s time to stretch the legs and take a breather.
Working from home, even during times when there’s no pandemic, can be lonely. If you’re at home with your family, be sure to spend quality time together during non-working hours. If you miss the camaraderie of the office, set up a video conference to stay in touch and keep up with the latest gossip. The technology we have today means that there is no reason you can’t enjoy a coffee with your besties, even if you are separated by a few miles.