It’s hardly surprising that the endless months in lockdown are starting to take its toll on most of us. While it certainly has its upsides, working from home makes it difficult to differentiate between work ending, and life beginning. Our dining tables and kitchen surfaces are now cluttered desks and bedrooms have been transformed into home offices. The office is inescapable and the lines between work and personal life have been well and truly blurred. If you’re struggling to strike the right balance or just finding it hard to get motivated for another day WFH, keep reading. We’ve got some tips that will help you find a healthy work life balance while working remotely.
Just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean you need to be constantly accessible at all times. Putting boundaries in place is vital. Create an expectation with your colleagues around your availability and try not to send or reply to non-urgent emails outside of work hours.
If you don’t have a separate work laptop and phone, then create separate personal and professional user accounts on your devices. Not only will it prevent notifications and calendar reminders from interrupting your personal time, but it will also reduce distractions and keep you more focused during the working day.
While many people are saving both time and money, working from home comes with its own drawbacks and distractions. It’s important to structure your day and establish an effective routine that works for you.
If your role allows, consider adjusting your working hours to suit your various at-home demands and pressures. Doing this could result in increased productivity and less hours lost. Have a think about what suits you best and talk your employer about what options are available.
Let’s be honest, we’re all feeling a little Zoomed out at this point. Unnecessary and unproductive meetings can hinder the completion of other important tasks and really extend your workday. If you think a meeting isn’t needed, then speak up. Discuss the number of meetings you’re having with your team and find a way to reduce them in frequency or in length.
Time management has never been more important. Have dedicated times where you check your emails, for example first thing, after lunch and at the end of the day. Dipping into your inbox frequently can be very distracting and mean tasks take twice as long to complete. Also, make sure you keep a written ‘to do list’, as holding everything in your head will overload your brain and scupper any chance of clear thinking.
We all know that leading a healthy lifestyle has a positive impact on all aspects of our life, but it’s also so easy to fall off the wagon. Set aside time for activities that you enjoy, whether it’s just sitting down and reading a book or going out for a head-clearing run. Hobbies help us relax, recharge and get our mind off work. Even a brisk walk at lunchtime will boost your endorphin levels, which will help counterbalance any stress chemicals.
Annual leave isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. It's so important to take time off work, even when you can’t physically get away. It gives you time to truly switch off, enjoy yourself and come back feeling refreshed. Studies show that taking time off increases company productivity and reduces stress, with a larger number of annual leave leading to a decline in the psychological distress of employees.
If you don’t want to use your annual leave right now, it’s still important to take regular breaks throughout the day. Our bodies weren’t designed to be sat down staring at a bright screen for hours on end, so make sure you take regular small breaks, even it’s just to the kitchen to make yet another cup of tea.
The home office is never going to replace the hustle and bustle of a physical office. Companies need to have a space where employees can interact in person, bounce ideas off one another without having to schedule a Zoom call and work collaboratively to allow creativity to thrive. So, we look forward to the safe return to offices soon.