Work-life balance is more than a buzzword. It’s about learning to thrive in both your work and personal life—something we all want. And while it’s been a topic of much discussion over the years, remote work-life is a newer challenge that’s been supercharged by the pandemic, and it’s one that needs to be addressed.
The Problem: Misconceptions & Challenges of Remote Work
As someone who works remotely, you may have heard someone say something like, “remote work is so easy, you can work in your pajamas all day.”
A lot of people think that remote work is easy and relaxing—how can it not be when you don’t have to get dressed for work, you can handle personal tasks during the workday, and you can even sneak a nap, if you’re so inclined?
But the reality is that remote work has some unique challenges that impact work-life balance:
- There is no physical separation from your workspace and personal space—it’s all in one area! This causes “work creep” into your off-hours.
- This can cause little separation between work and personal life. With no commute and ample flex time, the lines get blurred between “work” and “personal.”
- It’s hard to take breaks and socialize during the workday. Natural spaces to connect like the lunchroom aren’t there, so taking a break has to be a conscious choice.
The Solution: How to Create Remote Work-Life Balance
Remote workers need to be intentional about work-life balance—it’s not going to happen on its own.
Here are some ideas to try:
1. Take intentional breaks
Your brain and your body need a break. It’s tempting to push through the workday, but you’ll find a break will help energize you and help you focus better.
It is harder to take breaks when working from home when there are fewer reasons to do so, like a quick coffee run with a colleague or running out to get lunch.
So, what can you do for an hour with no one around?
Here are a few ideas:
- Go for a walk or try an at-home workout. Try to also incorporate movement throughout the day! Check out these desk exercises for your health for inspiration.
- Schedule a lunch break with a friend, colleague, or neighbor.
- Cook something new for lunch; it takes time and gives you a creativity break!
2. Create separation between home and work
Remote workers lack separation between home and work, both physically and mentally. It can be hard to disconnect from work when it’s literally in your living room! Try these tips:
Create physical separation by having a dedicated workspace at home (i.e. a desk or office rather than your kitchen table).
Create mental separation by carefully scheduling your day and consciously turning work “off” at the end of the workday.
Consider flexible workspaces and coworking spaces. They’re great options for remote workers because they give you that physical separation from work and a place to get up and go, either every day or a few days a week. Physically leaving your home to work can be huge for building a work-life balance.
3. Develop a routine
Routines are important because they help identify your priorities. Make a list of the things that are important to you in a day, such as:
- Mealtimes with your family.
- Exercise routine.
- Social activities.
- Hobbies and pastimes.
Take a look at your list and match it up with your current routine. Align your daily routine with your priorities and consciously make space for what’s important for you.
4. Talk to your boss and colleagues.
If you work on a team, it can be beneficial to have a conversation about work-life balance with your boss.
You can ask questions like:
- What is the company policy about working over-time?
- Will your boss or manager email or message you off-hours?
- What is the company culture around work-life balance?
These questions will help you clarify the expectations from your workplace. You can then make the decision if it’s the right fit for you and your work-life balance.
You can also talk to colleagues about livening up your meetings. There are a bunch of ways to add some fun to your next Zoom meeting. This will help you engage and connect with colleagues in a fun, casual way! Social connection and interaction are so important for work-life balance.
5. Find an accountability partner
Remote work-life balance doesn’t just happen—you need to work at it! And it can be hard to do it alone. Finding an accountability partner can help you stick to your goals and priorities.
Wondering how this might work? It could be:
- A spouse, colleague, or friend who helps you keep to your schedule. This person can check in with you to see that you’ve logged off work at the time you committed to.
- An app or software program. There are some useful time management tools and techniques that help you stay on schedule. When you prioritize your work time, you can prioritize your personal time!
Creating remote work-life balance requires intention and conscious action. It’s a topic that needs more attention because it’s so important to your mental and physical health. These are just a few ideas to get you started and make work-life balance a priority today!
If you’re looking for a workspace and a professional community that can help support remote work-life balance for yourself or your team, book a tour of your local Launch Workplaces today.