Work-life balance is where an individual puts equal importance on their career and personal life. A positive work-life balance leads to a lot of beneficial effects, including reduced risk of burnout, less stress, and better physical and mental health. Poor work-life balance, on the other hand, often results in increased stress levels, exhaustion, and more frequent burnout.
For many people, it is easier to maintain a good work-life balance when their place of work is separate from their home. The difference in environment is very distinct, and when you leave the office, you also leave your work. The same cannot always be said for people who are working from home. When their place of work is also where they spend most of their personal lives in, lines blur quite easily, and it can be difficult to keep work and personal lives separate when they occur in the same place.
So, how do you maintain a positive work-life balance when you work from home?
1. Keep your workspace separate
As much as possible, have a designated workspace that is separate from the rest of the house. If you have a spare room, it is strongly recommended that you convert it into a home office if you don’t have one yet. Having a workspace that is not the kitchen table or the desk in your bedroom is one of the best ways to establish strong boundaries between your work and personal life. Furthermore, it will allow you to focus on work so that you can get it done on time, allowing you to manage your time well.
2. Soundproof your office
Unless you live alone, noises from family members and pets can be very distracting, especially when you’re talking to other people on the phone. If you live in a crowded neighborhood or in the middle of the city, external noise is likely another issue.
The best way to address this problem is by soundproofing your office. If possible, install external timber cladding to limit the sound coming into your office from outside the house. If you don’t want to make drastic modifications to your house, however, you can minimize the noise coming into the room by pushing heavy furniture against the walls, hanging thick tapestries, sealing gaps in the doors and windows, and decorating with soundproofing art.
Reducing noise promotes a more productive environment by allowing you to focus more. And without external stimulants distracting you from work, it’s much easier to get work done on time.
3. Set work hours wisely
If you have the luxury of setting your own work hours, consider yourself as one of the lucky ones. A flexible schedule can lead to a positive impact on work-life balance because it allows you to plan your day around. You’re not bound to a set schedule; you can do personal things on your own terms and work during the hours that you’re most productive.
Take advantage of this privilege by setting regular work hours during the time frame that works best for you. If you work best in the morning, start your day in the morning. If you work best at night, opt for a graveyard shift. Either way, set a schedule that starts at around the same time every day to get you into a routine.
4. Avoid multitasking
One of the benefits of working from home is that you get to do other tasks while working, but this can be a double-edged sword. Sure, doing the laundry or cleaning the house in the middle of work tasks can get a lot more done, but it’s one of the easiest ways to blur the lines between your work and personal lives.
With that in mind, it’s best to avoid multitasking between work and household activities. Save chores, errands, and non-urgent personal tasks for outside of work hours. Similarly, avoid doing work when your work hours are over, unless if it’s an emergency.
5. Respect your boundaries
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should work all the time. Set your boundaries and let your boss, co-workers, and family members know about it. Avoid answering phone calls, messages, or e-mails when it’s not the time for work (unless it is an emergency). Most importantly, be the first person to respect your boundaries. In this way, the people around you will do the same.
A good work-life balance ultimately leads to a more fulfilling life. You can have both a great career and an even better personal life. Using these tips, start improving your work-life balance while working from home, which is the place where it’s hardest to achieve.