Maintain Work-Life Balance While Working from Home
In these times of needed social distancing, working from home isn’t just a benefit for some but now a standard operating procedure for many, and the following are ways to help us better acclimate while also ensuring it doesn’t take over home life
The opportunity to work from home or remotely has always had various benefits. From saving employers some of the expenses they would incur if they had everyone in the office, to employees saving time, energy, and money going to and from the office daily, working from home is indeed among the better aspects of the continued advancement of technology and communications.
However, for some, working from home isn’t always the ideal set-up. Be it because they find working with other people in the home too distracting, simply want to keep their work and personal lives separate, or their job actually entails being in the office, it is understandable how “WFH” isn’t for everyone.
Unfortunately, these days, it will have to be for many.
In an effort to end the Covid-19 pandemic, places all over the world have been put on community quarantine and told to practice social distancing. As a result, many employers have sent their employees, particularly those with roles that can be fulfilled outside the office, home. So now, more than usual are looking at where they live as both home and office. You’re likely one of them, and the following are ways to help establish a home-office effectively, yet still keeping life and work separate.
Have your “home office” ready
While working from home does away with risks of a daily commute, as mentioned, it can sometimes blur the lines between work-life and home-life. When in the comfort of one’s own home, it can get tempting to work more or start and stop at any time. To easier enter a working mindset at the start of the day and promptly leave it when the day is done, is to have a designated place to work at home.
To do this, one, of course, has to make sure that essentials provided by your employer or acquired by yourself such as a consistent internet connection, a laptop computer, and cellphones are all in place. It will also be helpful to have an ergonomic chair and partly sized office table if possible. Then, have these collected in a room or space that is designated for work,
The key is to make sure that this area is also not a place for rest or leisure. Remember it can be easy to get distracted by what’s on TV or what’s happening in the kitchen, so to stay in “work-mode” to keep your distance while having everything you need to do it within reach.
Dress up for the work-day
Speaking of being in a working mindset, while it can be tempting to just roll out of bed and begin working while still wearing what you slept in, it may not be the best for your productivity. So to retain some of your office routines, and to help you get in a working mindset, you may want to prep and dress up as you are going to an office.
You need not sport the shiny shoes or pencil skirt or silk tie, but at least change into something you typically don’t wear at home or on a more leisure day. Getting ready as you get up from bed will help jumpstart your workday, and hopefully, keep you in the zone as you get work tasks done.
After all, studies have indicated that the way we dress can affect performance at work and overall career advancement, so why should this be any different when work is set at home? By dressing in an attire attuned to your job, you help yourself get into a mindset of “I’m working, right now.”
Establish a schedule
Generally, balancing work and life comes down to time management, and this may become a little more challenging to do if your job, like your family or housemates, is with you at home. This makes maintaining a schedule paramount, as it not only leaves you with something to abide by, but also the people you live with.
Something many professionals who’ve worked from home recommend is establishing a “time inventory.” This is where you list, preferably on a calendar, the different activities and obligations you have to fulfill. Listing these will help ensure you have the chance to work around your life, instead of life revolve around work. List everything you can, be it spending time with the kids to preparing meals, and be honest with how much time it takes to do each.
Once your time inventory is complete, you’ll know how much exactly there is for work, and can better determine how much you need to get all your tasks done on a daily basis. If needed, you can rearrange some of your personal activities to accommodate any work that needs a little extra time.
Keep to that schedule
Once you’ve set your hours, guard this schedule by treating it like time in the office, where for example, when your work schedule starts at 8 am, you start at 8 am. Similarly, if you are to end at a certain time, say 5 pm, then make sure that you also keep to it and close all your professional communication lines like email and direct messaging when done for the day.
Adhering to a schedule also means taking breaks. Ideally, you should be able to schedule something like lunch at a nearby food place or walk in the neighborhood. However, during times of social distancing, your options are likely limited. Still, avoid feeling “trapped” in your work— that is now being done in the home you’d typically escape to— by taking a break elsewhere, be it the kitchen for a snack, or outside where your plants or pets are and tend or play with them during your specified break time.
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