While there are many benefits modern employees crave, one of the most glaring is a healthy work-life balance. Work-life balance refers to the stability that an individual needs between time dedicated to work and other aspects of life such as family time, social activities and hobbies. One adjustment that many businesses have made to accommodate the demand for this benefit is implementing remote or flexible work arrangements. Remote work is great for minimizing time spent getting ready for and commuting to the office, but over time can make it difficult to separate work and personal time. To avoid blending your work and personal efforts while working remotely, implement any number of the following tips:
1. Dedicate a workspace
One of the best things you can do for yourself while working remotely is dedicate a physical workspace. Making a physical change from lounging on the couch to sitting upright at a desk or table will send a signal to your brain saying the workday has begun. Try to do nothing but work in your workspace—even eat—so that your brain doesn’t begin to associate the two as cohesive, which can cause distractions and bad habits to form. Even if you’re unable to dedicate a whole room to devote to work, choose one item that you only do work from, such as a desk chair. Not only will that chair signify a specific space in your home for work, but your back will also thank you for having good posture!
2. Know when to log off
One challenging part for many remote workers is setting a strict time to “log off” for the night. Creating a schedule to get yourself into a routine is critical for those working from home because technology allows us to be connected at all times but that isn’t necessarily best. Use a digital calendar tool that publicly signifies when your working hours are so that coworkers know when you are available to help them with something or answer their questions. Also try to resist the urge to work past your scheduled stop time by turning off notifications and storing your laptop away for the night.
3. Keep in constant contact with coworkers
Any remote worker will tell you that the physical distance often hinders relationship building with colleagues as well. To help minimize this disconnect, chat frequently with your team using unified communication tools such as instant messaging and video chat to foster a more personal feel. Make it a point to contact your close coworkers daily or weekly and ask about their lives as you would at the water cooler or waiting for a meeting to start.
4. Step out of your workspace
If you would have stepped out of the office to grab a coffee, lunch or run to the bank, try and leave your home to do the same. It can quickly become the norm to stay put and looking up at 5pm to realize you haven’t seen a single person all day. Because this isn’t necessarily healthy, make an effort to give yourself breaks by stepping away from your computer like you would in an office. Try curbing your mid-afternoon slump by heading to a local coffee shop for a pick-me-up or brew a pot at home but take a walk around the block to drink it. This will help give your brain a chance to rest and recharge rather than pushing yourself to a burnout.
While the opportunity to work remotely can be a great way to balance work and life, it can also do the opposite by cutting into your personal territory and time. In order to embrace all of the benefits that remote work has to offer, spend some time creating habits that foster a healthy work-life balance.