work life balance

How can you achieve a better work-life balance at home?

With working from home now the new norm, achieving work-life balance can feel like an impossible feat. This is because it's hard to separate your work life from your personal life when it's all happening in the same space. Fear not, though — here are six tips to achieve a better work-life balance while working from home:

1. Designate an office space

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to working remotely is keeping your work and home lives separate. If you never fully disconnect from work, your productivity will suffer, and your home life can take a hit as well. Pre-COVID, when you were going into the office, the separation between work and home was physical. You want to try to recreate that as much as possible. While your workplace doesn't have to be its own room, it should feel as separate from the rest of your home as possible.

2. Get into the work mindset

Pre-COVID, you probably commuted to the office, whether that was driving, walking, or riding your bike. Again, the goal is to recreate that physical separation as much as possible. Get into the work mindset while working from home each day by going for a walk right before you start working. This can substitute for the time you would've spent commuting. Likewise, at the end of your workday, end it with another walk to get out of the work mindset.

3. Keep clearly defined working hours

Just as you designate and separate a physical workspace, you should be clear about when you're working and when you're not. The most significant difference between working from home and working in the office is that you essentially have to treat yourself like an employee and hold yourself accountable to your regular work hours. At the end of your workday, be sure to power off your work phone and log out of your work email.

4. Don't get distracted by the news or anything else

One of the biggest challenges facing people who work from home is being distracted. Since your home is right in front of you, it's easier to get distracted by laundry or reorganizing a closet. Or perhaps you're really consumed by the news right now, especially checking in on COVID-19 updates. Consider setting timers for any breaks you take. And turn off your news notifications until after you're done working for the day.

5. Don't forget to socialize

With working from home, it can feel like there are fewer opportunities to socialize with your coworkers. Combat this sense of isolation by talking to your coworkers throughout the day on Slack, calls, text, Zoom, or however your company communicates. After work, be sure to organize Zoom hangouts with friends and family or carve out time to take a socially distanced walk together. Make sure to stay connected to others as much as possible.

6. Manage your expectations

Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you have to work harder. When it comes to creating balance, you should manage your expectations and give yourself understanding and forgiveness. Approaching working from home with more patience and grace will take the pressure off yourself.

References
  1. "7 Essential Tips for Working from Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic," The Muse, n.d.
  2. "How to Dramatically Improve Work-Life Balance," Forbes, April 28, 2020.

mental health | wellness | Coronavirus | work from home