For the longest time, many companies feared a work-from-home format, thinking that it will reduce productivity. Yet when remote working became a requirement because of a global pandemic, productivity remained (or even increased). This proved to big businesses that letting their employees work within the comfort of their home is something perfectly fine, and in some cases, even beneficial.
But this has also introduced a new problem: many bosses and managers intrude on your personal time, thinking that you’re available 24/7. This has people clamoring for proper work-life balance, and that’s what this article will talk about. Below are some techniques you can practice on enforcing a good work-life balance.
Why Is Work-life Balance Important?
Just because you are at home and always have access to your work files does not mean you should work on them whenever your boss asks you. Now more than ever, we all need to respect that we have lives outside of work. We have family and ourselves to take care of, and we also have to deal with the constant worries about our health, so we need to be more conscientious towards each other. It’s indeed essential that we set aside time for ourselves, take a break, and recharge our batteries.
Set a Schedule and Follow It
Remote working tends to give most people more time than they’ve had before, which results in many waking up only when they need to work. People then realize that they actually have just enough time for work, even if they’re working from home. To avoid this, create a schedule that includes non-work-related activities. Wake up at 6 am, get some breakfast, walk your dog, do your work, and then do some errands like paying your utilities or getting your appliance repaired. Having a routine with personal, work-related, and home-related activities will help you create that sense of balance where you’re not putting too much time into one aspect only.
Have a Dedicated Working Space
A dedicated workspace helps you set the mood for work and helps you create a tangible boundary to separate your personal and professional life. This means when you are working, you should try your best to avoid simultaneously doing chores around the house. It may be hard to ignore the urge to do some chores when you have such easy access to everything around the house, but do your best to avoid overlapping your office work and housework.
Avoid Cabin Fever
Being stuck in one room for hours on end will surely make anyone feel antsy and irritable. And this isn’t just some myth. Sick building syndrome (or cabin fever) is real, and it needs to be addressed. A simple way to solve your cabin fever is to work in bursts. Work intensely for 25 minutes and then take a quick 5-minute break after. This will allow you to avoid being seated for a long time and let you get fresh air, which, interestingly enough, is also very important to keep your productivity up.
Set Clear Boundaries
Working close to your other family members might be challenging because there will be unavoidable circumstances where you have to interact with each other. In this case, you should have a sit-down with your family to discuss and respect certain restrictions during work hours. But just as you do not want distractions while working, do not think about work when you are not within working hours. If you work 9-5, Monday to Friday, that means shutting off your work laptop when you’re done for the day. That also means avoiding answering work emails on weekends, when you’re supposed to be spending time with family.
Respect Your Days Off
Speaking of weekends, this is a time where you can recuperate and relax, so dealing with work-related tasks is not advisable. If your coworkers or bosses try to ask you to work on your days off, respectfully tell them that you would like to have proper rest days and that they too should take a break from work. We generally don’t work our best when tired or stressed, so finding the time to take your mind off of work can help you become more effective when you get back to it.
This whole new setup of working in the comfort of our own homes is a refreshing change of pace, but it has some potential disadvantages. Aside from the challenge of cooperating with your coworkers remotely, the change in environment definitely takes getting used to. It’s a matter of knowing what these challenges are, addressing them, and adjusting to this new normal if we want to continue working from home.