It's no exaggeration that one of the biggest pros of working remotely is getting more flexibility. After all, you can swap long commutes by spending more time with family or catching up on reading. But non-traditional working hours can also increase pressure to spend more time working than you would in the office.
Moreover, you might even forget to take breaks, eat lunch, and leave work for the day without social cues like the ones in traditional working spaces. It could result in remote employees working additional hours and not having much free time.
That’s why we’ve listed strategies to help you find the perfect work-life balance if you’re working remotely.
Before we understand how to find the perfect work-life balance, we should know why it's vital.
When working remotely, employees usually stay extra hours after the workday is over to feel more productive in general. That’s because most people tend to think that longer hours mean more productivity, but that's far from the truth.
It may seem logical because you can dedicate more time to tasks than you would in the office. However, extended working hours are bad for your productivity in the long run. Many studies explain why longer work hours can lead to burnout.
Moreover, some studies also suggest that constant stress and burnout can result in depression and anxiety.
Most people tend to feel that they should be available all the time because of flexibility in work hours. However, that’s a sure-fire way to work longer hours and bring stress into your routine.
That’s why you should set a schedule and stick to it if you’re working remotely. That way, it will help you allocate time for tasks, and you'll be able to unplug after the day ends. Additionally, you'll feel less overwhelmed because you'll only be working manageable hours.
It’s crucial you have a dedicated workspace when you work remotely as it helps you set yourself up for a productive day. Not only does it help you eliminate distractions, but it also gets you to switch off work-mode when the workday ends.
That’s because working from home is more distracting than working from the office. For example, you might be tempted to check social media or fold the laundry sitting on the bed. Additionally, you don't have your coworkers to help motivate you to be more productive.
That’s why you should have a separate workspace that's not one of your usual relaxation spots. So, avoid working from your bed or your couch. Instead, set up your workspace in your dining room or a separate room. It's also ideal that your working space has a door to shut any distractions out.
We understand that it's not easy for everyone to have designated rooms, especially if you live with family or in a one-room apartment. However, you can still designate spaces to help you concentrate, but make sure it's neat and free of clutter.
If you think your day starts with emails and ends with emails, you need to set up a schedule ASAP. A good way to reduce work stress is to start your mornings with a routine that isn't centered around work.
To achieve this, you need to wake up earlier than usual and have morning coffee, exercise, and meditation rituals. It’s also great to take a morning walk or listen to your favorite podcast before work. Similarly, it’s also important to have an evening routine like spending time with your family or walking your dog to help unwind.
These small rituals will help you find balance by sandwiching your workday with non-work activities. So, you can mentally switch to "home mode" from “work mode” by focusing on a different activity.
We’ve already mentioned in this blog post that it’s crucial you separate your work life from home life in every way. And just as how you should designate different spaces for work and play, you should also change tools. For example, don’t use your work laptop to watch a movie after work. That’s because it has access to business correspondence and work tools. So, your mind can feel stressed when you're supposed to be winding down.
Similarly, don't use your play laptop at work because you'll be tempted to play a game or watch something during work hours. Additionally, you're signed in to your socials on your personal laptop so you can get distracted from notifications.
If you can’t use separate working tools, it’s better to sign out of all socials and delete any bookmarks before you start work. Similarly, make sure to sign out of work correspondence email or platform when you’re done for the day.
When you’re working remotely, it’s not easy to separate yourself from work or focus on leisure activities when the workday ends. So, in order to not get stuck in work for longer hours, you need to plan your after-work activities. You can set some self-development activities like going for a jog or preparing dinner. Additionally, you can also use this time to be social, like calling a friend or spending time with your family.
So, when you make plans, you'll have reasons to wind up work on time, and you'll be less likely to do overtime.
In-office spaces, you have co-workers and cafeterias to remind you to take a proper lunch break. However, that's not always the case for working remotely. Many people forgo lunch entirely and eat snacks instead. Not only is that bad for your health, but you're probably getting more distracted by snacks.
That's why you must take your lunch break for half an hour or an hour at its designated time. Set a reminder or an alarm to remind yourself if you tend to get too absorbed in work and forget.
You have to punctuate your day to have a proper work-life balance. This way, having a specific lunch break can be something you can look forward to.
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