Whether you regularly work remotely or are just bringing your work laptop home for the first time, you’ll soon experience all the pros and cons of working from home while social distancing. Follow these five steps to strike the best work-life balance while working from home.
Claim your work space
Mixing too much of your personal and work lives is one of the biggest pitfalls of working from home. In order to get some real, quality work done at home, set up a designated working area to physically separate your work and home life. If space permits, set up a temporary home office area in a room without too many distractions, and natural light if possible. Your workspace should be comfortable enough for you to sit (or stand) in for a full work day.
If you don’t have much space to experiment with, designate a corner, desk, or even a simple table as your work area. Really try to keep your work only in the designated area so you can transition into and out of your working mindset, without bringing in too many outside distractions. Conversely, keeping your spaces separate will help you fully relax and enjoy your free time, without thinking so much about work emails or deadlines.
Make a routine that works for you
In your typical office life, you have a fairly predictable routine. Your daily commute, lunch hour, and meetings break up the time you spend sitting at your desk. Create a home office routine that works for you and boosts productivity. Try setting a regular lunch break where you can disconnect from work, and shorter breaks throughout the day for stretching and checking your social media.
Though it might not seem like a big step, get dressed as if you aren’t about to work from your kitchen table. Though you probably don’t need to dress in a full suit and tie, changing out of your pyjamas and into something you would wear in public can get you into a more productive mindset. The same goes for having a shower and brushing your hair. These simple actions help you get into the working mentality, and can even help you feel more awake and focused.
Set your work hours - and stick with them
In an office setting, the end of the work day is signified by leaving the office. When working from home, however, there is less of a clear end to the day, as you are spending your down time in the same place you work. To be the most focused on your work and avoid feeling stressed during your down time, make sure to have clearly defined working hours and communicate your schedule with colleagues and anyone you live with.
It is tempting to check work emails or continue a project outside of business hours when you are stuck inside, but try to make a habit of having a clear end to the work day. When you close out of your inbox and clear all work-related tabs on your laptop, take a walk, or do some activity that signals to your mind and body that you are entering your down time. Your work performance and overall wellbeing will be better off for it.
Connect with your colleagues
Part of what makes a job enjoyable is the people you work with. In the office, you can catch up with coworkers while making your morning coffee, or chat with desk mates about a sports team you diligently follow. Spending time with your colleagues also connects you more with your workplace, creates a greater sense of accountability for completing tasks, and provides a better sense of community.
Morale aside, staying connected with your teammates is crucial for communicating any issues that pop up during the work day, and collaborating on projects. Regular catch-up meetings through platforms like Skype or Zoom are excellent ways to let your colleagues know what you have on your plate, and quickly clear up any issues you may have come across on an assignment.
Better health for better work
Right now, it’s crucial to practice healthy habits and follow health recommendations to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle while working from home also benefits your productivity and the quality of your work. Though it is tempting to snack on your favourite crisps or make frequent trips to the pantry, focusing on nutrition and getting more fruits and vegetables in your diet will help your concentration during work.
Incorporate stretch breaks in your work routine to improve your posture and avoid feeling sore while sitting in your work space. If possible, try to fit in some exercise to get your heart pumping, whether it’s by taking a walk or following along with a Youtube video for a quick work out. The endorphin boost from exercise can improve your mood, focus, and overall productivity.
Feel like you have a handle on your work-life balance and want to develop new professional skills while working from home? Have a look at the career-focused online programmes London School of Business and Finance offers to find a course that will enhance your CV, and keep you focused on your long term goals.
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