But what is a good work-life balance? To many, it means having a healthy division of time and energy between your working time and your downtime. This can mean having clear set boundaries between your working day and your leisure time, but it can look different for everyone. Having a good work-life balance is hugely important to our well-being, as it can protect us from chronic stress and burnout.
As we all adjust to working outside of the office, it can be hard to maintain the routines you used to have and keep things separate. That’s why we’ve put together a few top tips on how to improve your work-life balance when working from home.
Get ready for your working day
When working from home, it can be tempting to start working in your pyjamas, but changing into new clothes for the day, having a shower and making yourself look presentable can help put you in a positive mindset.
Consider introducing a commute
Most of us were happy to give up the commute to work, but reintroducing a commute can help set a boundary between your work and home life. This could mean you go out for a short walk, get coffee or walk the dog before you start your working day. It can help clear your mind and set you up for the day.
By keeping to a structured day, you will find it easier to switch off from work and enjoy your social and leisure time more. Remote work means you will usually have more flexibility around when you work and when you don’t, however, that freedom can also mean more procrastination. Try to keep to a realistic schedule and maybe have a daily to-do list to keep you motivated.
Set up an office space
If you can, it is very beneficial to set up a space in your home which is only used for work. It’s best if this area is in a different room to your bedroom or living area, somewhere you don’t always spend a lot of time in. A home office space can help you stay focused, and make it easier to switch off when you move to other areas of your home. Set up a desk, get some storage solutions and keep your space clear and organised.
Be strict about your working hours
When working from home, it can be easy to lose track of when you start and finish work. To maintain a healthy work-life balance, it’s important to set strict working hours and try to keep to them. It’s rare that you’d be in the office from 8am to 8pm, so don’t work these hours from your home.
Just because you are working from home, doesn’t mean you should feel guilty for not being in the office. Your employer should trust you to get the job done, the same way you would in the office, it’s not up to you to work harder or longer hours.
Find a way to mark the end of your working day
Once you have finished work for the day, it’s healthy to mark the end with a clear buffer to help reset your mind. Usually, this would be your commute home, however, you can improvise by going out for a walk, running an errand, or maybe calling a friend.
Try not to multitask
When you are remote working, it can be easy to find yourself trying to juggle a thousand things at once. You may be completing some work, whilst trying to tidy your home, catch up on chores and do some ironing on your breaks. This is an unnecessary distraction that can make you feel overwhelmed and blur your home life with your work life. If you like to complete housework throughout the day, try to focus on one task at a time, rather than doing everything at once. You’ll find that you will complete your tasks to a higher quality and more quickly.
Increase productivity by taking breaks
None of us can work for 8 hours straight, so it’s vital that when working from home you still take regular breaks. The solitude and repetitiveness of working from home can be exhausting, so taking little breaks for yourself can help you relax and return to your next task refreshed.
Have a proper lunch break
Having a good work-life balance usually means trying to replicate your office workday. This means you should always try to take a proper lunch break, away from your desk. Most people will also take a walk on their break, so maybe try to get outside and get some fresh air to distance yourself from work.
If you live with other people, you may want to try and set boundaries, so you don’t end up socialising for too long whilst you should be at work. This will help you cut out any unnecessary distractions and maintain your productivity. Make your work schedule clear to the people you live with, and that way you can look forward to socialising and catching up in your breaks or at the end of your working day.
Don’t look at your emails outside of working hours
Everyone is guilty of checking their emails outside of working hours, even when we were in the office. But, the key to a healthy work-life balance is to keep to your boundaries. Checking emails in your own time will draw you back into work mode, which isn’t always healthy.
Avoid sitting in your office space on days off or on weekends
Try to keep your home and work separate as much as possible. So avoid sitting in your office chair on a Sunday morning whilst you are having breakfast, as this can jolt you back into work mode.
Make time for exercise
Exercise is one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. It is not only important for our physical health, but it can also destress us before or after a working day. Whether you like swimming, going for a run, yoga, playing tennis or doing an exercise class on YouTube, getting your body moving whilst working from home is invaluable.
Plan fun activities for your time off
Having something fun things to look forward to at the end of your working day or week can help give us all a boost. Don’t spend all of your free time completing chores or running errands, try to devote your spare time to something joyful and you will reap the benefits.
Network and maintain relationships
In the office, we would normally interact with lots of different people, either for work or to socialise. To keep your spirits up, why not schedule some time to have a chat with colleagues or friends, like you would if you went to get a coffee or had a chat by the water cooler? This kind of interaction is very important to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Be kind to yourself
Finding the perfect work-life balance can be very difficult and usually takes time. Everyone is different, so it’s about finding the balance that is right for you. Working from home comes with a lot of benefits, but it also poses some new challenges. By following some of these tips we hope you can work towards a healthier work-life balance in the future.
Does your organisation need help in supporting team members working from home? Get in touch with E2E.