“Shhh, I’m on a call!” Managing work-life balance as a remote worker
As many people across the world adjust to new work from home opportunities, both individuals and companies are learning on the fly how to adapt to this new ecosystem. For many folks, it was an overnight process – their kids were in their “office”, “commuting” became a walk through the house, and pants became “optional”. On the surface it may seem like a magical vacation but after the honeymoon phase subsides and reality sets in, there is still work to be done. Beyond needing new tools for productivity and communication, it will be equally as important to maintain healthy work-life balances.
Here at PML, we’ve built our company and culture around remote working. In fact, it’s ingrained in everything we do. We polled the team to share a few insights and tips on maintaining a strong work-life balance while working remotely from home. Here are some of our top tips for success:
Establish a Physical Work Space
If remote working is going to be a long term solution, you’ll want to set up shop with a desk and appropriate technology. We’ve found it beneficial to be able to physically separate from your normal day to day activities and habits at home. A dedicated, separate, and distinct area or office space that you can work from is ideal but even a desk in a quiet corner of your living space can do the job. While the couch, recliner, and kitchen table may seem like good options, they’re not conducive to sustained organization and productivity. This way, home can feel like home and work can feel and look different.
Manage Your Workday
Whether you’re freelance and can decide your hours or a remote worker with a standard 9-5 work day, it’s really important to set yourself up for success. Work during work hours and “leave” after that (obviously some situations are different). Also, make sure to have quick breaks throughout the day. Get up and move, go outside. Schedule time for lunch and take a break from working during that time.
Just as you want to respect your work day, set expectations with your roommates/family/partner that when you are working, it is the equivalent of you not being at home. This way you can focus, accomplish what you need to and can “leave” work when it’s time to enjoy family or friends.
Maintain Personal Routines
Try to keep all of your normal routines if you can. While it may no longer be required, getting ready in the morning can be a nice way to separate regular life and work life. Maintaining solid sleep schedules help keep you fresh for the next day.
Exercise is important. You are no longer walking around the office, moving from meeting to meeting. Get up from your desk and stretch during the day or take a quick walk around the block. Set a checklist/to-do list to stay focused and motivated. You’ll have a better idea of how many tasks you are accomplishing during the work day. Whatever you usually do on a regular day, try to replicate that now. Routine helps us to adjust and will assist you in establishing a day to day rhythm.
The real key to maintaining a strong work-life balance is creating some separation in space and mindset for work vs regular life. Manage your workday efficiently and establish typical healthy routines. Remember, this is your chance to shine and prove why remote working is the right decision for the present and the future. Take advantage of the opportunity now to set yourself up for success by working hard but also maintaining a strong work-life balance.