Working from home can be a positive experience. You get to attend meetings in pajamas, cozy up with your favorite mug while you work, and even have access to your very own fridge. However, working from home does have one major challenge: maintaining your work-life balance.
When work is as close at hand as your living room sofa, it can become quite easy to simply keep working – answering one more email, handling one more invoice, knocking out one more task in Asana.
More and more people are discovering the joys (and challenges) of working remotely. That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide full of practical strategies for balancing work and family.
Read on to discover our eight best tips. We’ve got something for everyone.
8 Strategies for Enhancing Your Work-Life Balance
The phrase “work-life balance” originated during the 1970s and described the idea that people need to allot their time equally to their job and their personal lives to maintain good mental and physical health. Too much emphasis on either “work” or “life” could lead to imbalances that caused stress and health problems.
Today, research recognizes work-life balance as critical for employee productivity and morale. Many offices enact policies to protect this balance – but what happens when you’re no longer physically in an office, such as in the case of remote employment?
You’ll need to approach your work-life balance consciously and proactively. Here’s how.
1. Maintain Separate Spaces
When you’re commuting to an office every day, maintaining a work-life balance is relatively straightforward thanks to the separate environments. At home, however, you have much less of a physical separation to reinforce the mental one.
That’s why having a home office – or a dedicated workspace – is so helpful. When you’re seated at your workspace, you’ll prime your mind to focus on work rather than other activities you’d otherwise engage in while you’re at home.
2. Keep Yourself Comfortable
Make sure your workspace is set up to maximize your physical comfort so that you can focus on work. Ergonomist-approved tools and devices can help. Consider:
- A Pro Fit® Ergo keyboard and mouse set to prevent tension in the hands and arms.
- The SmartFit® Ergo monitor arm so you can adjust your screen height and angle.
- One of our many ergonomic foot and backrests to support your posture and improve circulation.
3. Move Frequently
While you’re enjoying your comfortable productivity in your home, remember to take breaks and move around. Sitting in the same position for extended periods can restrict blood flow and cramp your muscles.
We’re big fans of the 20-20-20 rule. According to the American Optometric Association, you should take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and look at an object that’s at least 20 feet away.
Likewise, make sure you stretch to reduce muscle tension and improve blood circulation. Here’s a handy stretching guide we’ve put together to help you get started.
4. Establish Work Hours
When you work from home, it can be easy to slip into a “work whenever” routine. For most people, that means “work all the time.” After all, it doesn’t really feel like working if you’re not at work, right?
Over time, that leads to working longer hours and higher stress levels. You have a few options to combat this. Try:
- Setting a “start” and “stop” time. For example, schedule yourself to work from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. It will help you arrange the rest of your day and keep you from looking at your work during your personal or family time.
- Scheduling breaks. Try to mirror what your regular office break schedule would have looked like. For many people, that’s a 30-minute or one-hour lunch, plus two 15-minute breaks.
- Organizing your schedule by activity. Consider taking calls only in the morning, if possible, and reserving the afternoon for uninterrupted work. That prevents meetings from running over into your personal time.
5. Get Outside Every Day
Sunlight is scientifically proven to impact your serotonin levels, so make sure you’re getting outside every day. Schedule time into your schedule to go for a walk, enjoy nature, walk the dog, or do some more strenuous exercise. You’ll return feeling refreshed, decompressed, and energized to resume work.
6. Give Your Personal Life Your Undivided Attention
We’ve mentioned setting yourself up to give your work your undivided attention. Make sure you’re also doing that for your home and personal life. That means:
- Emphasizing a device-free breakfast or dinner table. Place the focus on your family.
- Turning your phone on silent when you take breaks or have lunch. Or better yet, leave it at your workspace.
- Prioritizing plans with friends or family outside of your “work hours.” Stick to your commitments to reinforce a separation between your work and personal life.
7. Connect Digitally
The internet is quite amazing. It delivers a whole host of tools that make our lives easier right to our fingertips. Among those tools include the means to stay connected with friends or family who you’re not able to see face-to-face.
If you’re currently working from home alone, have connections that live far away, or are part of a remote work team, consider some of our favorite tools to connect with them:
- Teams: Teams is part of the Microsoft ecosystem, and allows colleagues to collaborate remotely within a single Office environment.
- FaceTime, Snapchat, and Skype: These apps are videotelephony – they allow you to talk to someone while streaming a video of them (a video call).
- Discord: A free app that’s also available on your computer, it allows text and voice group chats between users.
8. Don’t Check Your Phone Before Bed
We’re all familiar with falling asleep while scrolling through Instagram. When you work from home, the urge can be strong to do the same with your email. Not only will that subject you to sleep-disrupting blue light, but it might also get you worked up and stressed out again.
Instead, create a routine around bedtime that involves putting your phone away at least an hour before you sleep. Consider configuring the “do not disturb” mode to silence all notifications until morning.
Health Is Holistic – Kensington Can Help
Working from home is hugely popular, but it requires additional attention to your work-life balance. We’ve covered a few practical tips to help you maximize your productivity while protecting your personal time, or time spent with friends and family.
You’re now empowered with new strategies to make the most of your day – and the rest of your time. So, go forth and enjoy stress-free, remote productivity.
Having an ergonomic workspace can elevate your work-from-home experience. View our full line of ergonomic wellness solutions for your home office.