Achieving a good work-life balance while working from home can be challenging.
You maybe struggling to find the motivation to get up when not going into the office, you may miss your colleagues the social interaction being in a social environment or you may even find it hard to differentiator the different between work and down time. In the last 12 months, all of us have probably found the hardest challenges in home working and you’re not alone.
We have created our top tips to help you find the best work-life balance when working from home:
1. Let go of your perception of perfection
We should always strive for excellence instead of perfection, this is even more important when striking a work-life balance while working from home. You will probably not have everything you need to do your job exactly as you would in the office. You won’t have all your files, printer, scanner or potentially even the fax machine you only use once a month. Its time to adapt and do the best you can with what you have available. A small mental shift that makes a large difference.
2. Switch off and shut-down
When you are available all the time, your workday never ends. You need those times when you shut off. Give yourself a chance to separate from work. It can be as simple as not checking email in the evening or on the weekend. Allow yourself moments of calm instead of rushing to complete every task.
Often the first to go when our routine is disrupted in such a big way, exercise should be the first thing we make time for. It reduces stress, pumps up endorphins, and lifts your mood. Don’t have an hour to lift weights? Start with a 15-minute yoga stretch. It will give you the same benefits (on a smaller scale) with the added sense of accomplishment and self-care.
Understandably when gyms and sports facilities are closed, it can be hard to find ways to exercise. Thankfully many trainers and gyms are offering online classes, or search YouTube for free classes. Exercise is an excellent way to achieve work-life balance while working from home.
5. Eat a proper lunch
While eating snacks all day while a step away from your fridge sounds amazing, it does nothing for your productivity or sense of work-life balance while working from home. At work we may be more compelled to take a lunch break when your coworkers remind you to – this doesn’t happen at home.
Make sure to set aside time in your day to take a proper break. Set a calendar or phone reminder. Even better do a virtual lunch break with your team so you can connect with each other and get a proper time-out.
6. Go home on time
It can be hard to get up and walk away when you no longer worry about getting stuck in traffic or picking children up on time. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still have a “go home” mentality. It means, decide what time you finish up for the day, and when the clock gets there stop working and leave your workspace.
Judge your productivity by your results, not the hours you put in – especially right now. Work-life balance while working at home is all about creating a new normal and sticking to it instead of working away until the wee hours. You will be much more efficient with the extra sleep anyway.
7. Build transitions into and out of work
Your commute not only gets you to and from work but also gives your brain time to prepare for your day and decompress after. Just because you don’t have that commute, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an equivalent routine to ease into and out of your day.
We often take for granted our commute time and just wish we could get there faster. But we rarely identify the opportunity it gives us to mentally prepare. You are generally not signing off on a major project and going straight to making dinner. Give your brain time to hit the reset button. Have a signal at the beginning and end of your day to serve as a buffer.
If you listen to the radio or read, do the same. Or spend some extra time with a pet. Get in some exercise to equal your walk to work by walking around the block for an equal amount of time. For your evening commute, do it in reverse.
8. Don’t forget to socialise
When the whole office starts working from home, you get cut off from a lot of casual daily interactions. If you’re not used to working alone this can make you feel lonely. Those random social interactions help break up your day and make it feel unique, while isolation can make every day feel like Groundhog Day but one where all we are doing is working.
Combat this by talking to your work colleagues a couple of times throughout the day.
Have a video coffee break, ask what they did on the weekend, catch up on their family news, reach out and share that joke or meme, or just discuss the shows your binge-watching. If you normally talk to them about a specific topic, keep it up.