Working from home is great! You get to roll out of bed, get ready and start work. There’s no travel. Your lunch is in the fridge. You are surrounded by your pets and much more!
However, working from home can be tricky as you’re always in your own space, trying to balance work and life.
My team and I have worked from home for a long time! The good news is that you CAN maintain work/life balance.
Here are seven (7) helpful tips for maintaining balance when working from home:
Tip #1 – Find an Appropriate Workspace
Find a workspace you can hide after finish time, or you can close a door on. When you’re in that space it is for work only.
Tip #2 – Dedicated Work Hours
Have specific work hours and don’t check emails or take calls into the night. Just because you’re close to your work station does not mean you are on call 24/7. Structure your day as if you were going into the office. Have a start time, break times and end of work day time. This will help you to stay in a routine.
Tip #3 – Get Dressed for Work
Get dressed and out of your PJs! The good thing about working from home is you can wear casual clothes however, it is important to remember to shower, brush your teeth and hair etc. This will help you to get into work mode. If you’re going to be at video conferences, wear business casual clothes to remain professional.
Tip #4 – Take Breaks
Working from home will encourage you to sit at your desk longer. You don’t have to go to the printer, walk to someone’s desk to ask a question etc. It is important to take small breaks through the day. Stand up and stretch at least once every hour. Take all of your designated breaks such as your lunch break, if you’re working full-time hours.
If you struggle with this, the easiest way to remember is by setting up reminders in your calendar.
For those of you who may suffer from Disordered Eating Behaviours and find that working from home is creating an increase in your snacking or eating, you need to remember that:
You are at work and not at home!
The only times to eat are on breaks or if there is true physical hunger.
Become aware of mindless snacking and set up boundaries for yourself that every hour you move, hydrate, destress.
Only on breaks or for real hunger do you eat!
Tip #5 – Set Boundaries
You start work, throw a load of washing on, stop work, hang out a load of washing, do some dishes, pick up some toys, and go back to work. Oops a half hour has passed.
If you have kids, or a partner, they might like to come and chat to you while you work, or you might start watching TV, or scrolling on your phone. If you try to multitask home life and work at the same time, you might be spending all day trying to complete your workload and achieving NOT MUCH!
It is important to set healthy boundaries to find balance, maintain focus on your work and complete your tasks by the ‘end of your normal work day’.
Set work times, and pretend you are in your office. Put up a DO NOT DISTURB – WORKING sign on your door and if possible, close your door. This will be a gentle reminder for you and your loved ones that you are not available until your next break, unless it is an emergency.
For those of you with Disordered Eating Behaviours, you will need to set up a boundary around food and eating. Adding on to Tip #4, a really good habit for food and creating a boundary is to make your snacks and meals as if you were working from the office. If you have all of your snacks and lunch prepared, there is no reason to eat or go into the kitchen, unless it is for water, tea or coffee, outside of these times.
You may even want to put a sign on the fridge and cupboards to remind yourself – AT WORK. This can work as a visual and physical reminder of the space and mindset you need to be in, for your scheduled working hours.
Tip #6 – Communicate
Stay up to date and in the loop with work and tasks by communicating effectively with your co-workers and employer. Be proactive with communication and clarify anything that can be a misunderstanding.
You may need to use different ways to communicate which brings us to Tip #7.
Tip #7 – Stay Connected
Connection. Connection. Connection.
If you’re someone who enjoys a chat and connection through the day then you need to keep a check on your mindset and stay connected with phone calls, instant messaging and video chats.
To stay in touch with co-workers or work friends, set up a schedule of when and how you will connect. Schedule a morning tea once a week, or more, to jump on a video conference to debrief about your week, projects and clear up any communications.
Working from home comes with it’s own set of challenges and benefits. It’s all about trying different things to get the balance just right for you.
We would love to hear your experience with working from home – Comment below:
What things have you learned about working from home that you haven’t considered before the social distancing rules came into effect?