How to Retain Work-Life Balance When Working From Home
It’s much easier to develop a functioning work-life balance when work and home are two different places. You feel the difference when you leave one area and enter another. People working from home sometimes find the concept of a work-life balance to be difficult to comprehend. When work and home are the same place, how do you switch gears? While you’ll need to do things a little differently, it’s definitely possible to separate the two and create harmony on both sides.
Start Your Day Off the Right Way
If you’re not going to interact with anyone face to face, things get a little blurry. You may find yourself working in the clothes you slept in, drinking your first cup of coffee while you’re checking your work emails. Don’t do that. You deserve to have a regular morning routine where you wake up, have breakfast, and get dressed before you ever sit down to work. This will help you switch your brain into work mode, and keep your work from overtaking your life.
Use a Special Work Area
Never work in your bedroom or living room! These rooms have specific purposes. Your bedroom is for sleeping, and your living room is for entertainment. Working in these spaces only makes the boundaries more confusing. If you have a work area or a special office, you can leave the work in that room and walk away from it. You may not have as long of a commute from your “office” to your “home”, but the boundaries are clear. Be strict about working only in your special work area.
Create a Schedule and Stick to It
You have tons of paperwork to read, but you also want to get the dishes done. Unless you have a giant home, both of these tasks exist within a short walking distance of each other. While it might seem like the ability to transition between work tasks and home tasks so quickly is the best way to facilitate work-life balance, this isn’t always the truth. By constantly switching your attention between the two, things will become muddied. You’ll be able to get a clear grasp of what’s getting done and when you’re doing it when your work hours are set in stone.
Leave the House as Often as Possible
One of the biggest downsides to working from home is the occasional feeling of being trapped. You may not have realized how much you appreciated the change of scenery that came with leaving for work until you no longer needed to leave your home. Take your family on a picnic. See a movie with your friends at a theater. Staying in all the time will almost certainly get under your skin, making you feel like your work-life balance is off-kilter. So much of that balance depends on getting the occasional breath of fresh air.
Utilize Your Flexibility
When you’re working in a traditional office environment, much of your work-life balance will come from flexibility. Do you have an important family event to attend? Now, you won’t need to get as much approval for that time off. You don’t have to show up late to anything, and you don’t have to pick and choose what it is you’d like to attend. Since you make the schedule, you call the shots. Don’t overwork yourself unless you really need to. You’re more empowered now than ever before.
Don’t forget to take a little vacation once in a while. Even if you don’t go anywhere exciting, people who work from home deserve the opportunity to relax and unwind once in a while. Give yourself sick days and holidays off.
With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and marketing.