Before the coronavirus pandemic hit the world, only about 3.6 percent of all employees in the United States worked from home for 20 or more hours a week. However, the onset of COVID-19 pushed millions more to quickly transition to working remotely. By the third quarter of 2020, more than half of all American workers had shifted to working from home.
Fortunately, the work-from-home notion has been extremely successful. Nearly 77 percent of employees state that they wish to continue remote work post-pandemic, and 65 percent reports that their productivity has increased since working from home.
That is all great, but what about work-life balance when working from home?
Unexpectedly, many people are combining their work and home lives than ever before, which is taking a toll on their emotional and mental health. This article discusses some tips to stay productive, alleviate stress, and avoid burnout when working from home.
#1 | Get up and get ready
When working from home, it might be tempting to roll out of bed and start working in your pajamas in under five minutes. After all, you are working remotely—you don’t have to rush around in the morning the same way you do when you work in the office.
However, getting ready for work the same way you do when you are going to the office—taking a shower, making coffee and breakfast, and getting dressed – will keep you mentally prepared for being productive and working hard. It may reduce the temptation to take work easy by hanging out on the couch or feeling sleepy halfway through the day.
#2 | Make your workspace all about work
It is easier to separate work and life if all the working happens from a dedicated space. So, instead of working from your couch or bed, create a go-to workspace that’s away from all potential distractions.
Use this space to do nothing else but work. Think of it as your office—it tells you when you are at work and when you aren’t. The same goes for your work thoughts as well. They end right when you get up from the desk after the day’s work.
#3 | Create a schedule and set boundaries
Creating and sticking to a strict schedule can help you maintain productivity and ease some stress from working all day. Set your work hours and sign off at the end of your scheduled workday, so you have time to focus on other things that matter, like your family and kids.
Ensure expectations and goals are clear, and keep from emailing your employees at all hours. This prompts your employees to answer at all hours, which isn’t good for you and them.
When your work hours have a start and an end, you will easily set boundaries with your family, coworkers, and employees. If possible, consider using scheduling software options to save messages to be sent during work hours.
#4 | Take breaks and stay active
Fortunately, remote work allows you to make your own schedule. Meaning, you can create one that helps your brain and body to get the daily rejuvenation they need. If you find that your time spent working is draining you, it is time to take a step back and reboot.
Researchers suggest that you should give your brain a break every 90 minutes to two hours. So, set a timer and take 10- to 15-minute breaks. You can use your breaks to exercise, take a walk, do some stretching, or prepare your lunch.
#5 | Make plans for your after-work hours
When working from home, it might be hard to truly step away from work at the end of the day. Sometimes, you might feel like there isn’t a reason to sign off at a specific time. Well, making plans for your after-work hours can help.
Whether your plans include attending a yoga class or heading to a friend’s place for happy hour drinks, if you have somewhere to be at the end of your workday, you will be more likely to log off and get up from the desk.
Make work-life balance a priority
Working from home comes with many great benefits, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges associated with this new way of working. The added pressures of looking after your kids and household may make working from home more of a hurdle than a blessing.
Hence, keeping your work-life balance top of mind will help you contribute meaningfully and productively to your job while combining the best of both worlds.