Working from home – almost all of us have experienced this at one point or another during the past few years. For some of us this was a welcoming change, for others it was a strange situation, leading to isolation, solitude and lack of collaboration.
This has been an on-going topic of discussion between our team here at CLEARGOALS and the source of a couple of Slack channels such as workremote-likeroyalty and survivingisolation. We are all still trying to find ways to cope, adapt and make the best of it. Some of us love it, some of us miss the old days.
I have personally worked mostly from home for the past several years, either by choice or due to a lack of office space. I will say that, as a working mom, this setup has its advantages as it provides more flexibility. However, there are some lacking aspects of everyday life – I miss seeing colleagues and collaborating in person, having a set routine, and even dressing up to go to the office. But no, I do not miss the commute!
While working from the comfort of your home desk (or kitchen table, or couch, or bed) has its many advantages, I believe that it can also lead to a few disadvantages – discipline issues, health challenges, lack of socialization and collaboration, missing motivation, and limited visibility to peers and managers are a few of them.
I have fond memories of when I started my work life (it sounds like ages ago lol). The camaraderie between colleagues, the jokes and conversations during breaks, the happy hours and sometimes the lasting friendships that went beyond the workplace.
Nowadays, the lives of young adults that are starting in the workforce might look very different than some of us. With the normalization of remote work (either 100% or remote most of the week), the new workforce faces a new reality. It might sound exciting, but it requires a lot of discipline. Virtual tools are replacing the “old school” way of interacting with colleagues and clients and are now the norm.
Balancing life while working from home can be challenging, but with some strategies and practices, you can create a productive and fulfilling routine.
Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy work-life balance:
- Set Clear Boundaries: Define specific working hours and try to stick to them. Communicate these hours to your colleagues and family so that they know when you’re available and when you’re not.
- Create a Dedicated Workspace: Set up a designated workspace that is comfortable and free from distractions. This helps you mentally separate work from personal life.
- Dress for Success: While you don’t need to wear a full work attire, changing out of your pajamas can signal the start of your workday and put you in a more productive mindset.
- Stick to a Routine: Maintain a consistent daily routine. Wake up, start work, take breaks, and end your workday at roughly the same times each day to establish a sense of structure.
- Schedule Regular Breaks: Try to incorporate short breaks throughout your day to stretch, move around, and clear your mind. This can help you stay focused and prevent burnout.
- Leave Home: Whenever you can, get out of the house and move your body. Your body needs blood circulation, fresh air and natural light.
- Set Clear Goals: Establish daily and weekly goals for your work tasks. This can give you a sense of accomplishment and help you stay organized.
- Use Technology Wisely: Utilize tools like calendars, to-do lists, and project management apps to stay organized and manage your tasks efficiently.
- Communicate Effectively: Keep in touch with your colleagues and managers through regular updates, emails, or virtual meetings. Effective communication helps reduce feelings of isolation and keeps you aligned with your team.
- Take Care of Your Well-Being: Prioritize self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, and spending quality time with loved ones. Taking care of your mental and physical health is crucial.
- Limit Distractions: Minimize interruptions during your work hours. Turn off notifications on your personal devices, close unnecessary browser tabs, and communicate your need for focus to those around you.
- Practice Mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness techniques into your routine, such as deep breathing or short meditation breaks, to reduce stress and stay present.
- Set a Work-Ending Ritual: Develop a routine that signals the end of your workday. Things like shutting down your computer, tidying up your workspace, and mentally transitioning to personal time.
- Socialize Virtually: Stay connected with friends, family, and colleagues through virtual social activities. This can help combat feelings of isolation and maintain a sense of community.
- Evaluate and Adjust: Regularly assess how well your routine is working for you. Be open to adjusting your strategies based on what’s effective and what isn’t.
- Set Ground Rules With the People in Your Workspace: For example, if you have children who learn at home or who come home from school while you’re still working, they need clear rules about what they can and cannot do during that time. If you share a space with another adult who’s home at the same time, you may have to negotiate quiet times, meeting times, and any shared equipment, like desks and chairs.
- Get Face Time: ask to have an annual or semi-annual trip. It could be for planning, training, or team building.
Remember, achieving a perfect balance might be difficult, but with practice and persistence, you can find a rhythm that suits your lifestyle and helps you thrive while working from home.