Remote work has many incredible advantages, but it also has its downsides. Because it blurs the line that separates the time and space between work and play, some struggle with having an “off switch” and find themselves working even longer hours or thinking about work constantly.
A healthy work-life balance is subjective; it means differently, depending on who you’re talking to. But generally, it involves being productive and efficient at work without compromising the mental, emotional, and physical aspects of your health and well-being and not missing out on the things and people you love.
It may seem like a tall order, but luckily, it’s easier to tick off all those boxes when you work from home or remotely. In this blog, Will Cotter, owner of Oklahoma-based cleaning company, Happy Cleans, shares some of the best tips for achieving work-life balance when working remotely.
Reclaim your mornings while remote working
One of the biggest game-changers of working remotely is that you no longer need to allot time to commute to your office. Because of this, you’ll inevitably be tempted to sleep in, wake up late, and start your day firing emails and tapping on your keyboard while having breakfast or a morning cup of coffee.
Diving into work as soon as you wake up without a bit of prep time can make you feel stressed and rattled throughout the day, quickly leading to burnout. Based on experience, setting aside at least 30 minutes for simple morning rituals can make a big difference. Setting up a morning ritual helps you take things slow, instead of rushing and stressing and eventually dreading going to work.
Here are some recommendations worth trying.
- The coffee morning routine – Brew a cup of your favorite coffee using a French press. Then, sit in a quiet corner where you can be in the moment, reflect on your thoughts, look over your garden, admire the morning light, or read a few pages of a book while enjoying a steaming cup of coffee.
- Catch some sunlight while doing some cardio – Head out to run or take a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Take your dog out for a walk. Do a quick 10-minute yoga. Practice grounding and connect yourself to the earth by walking barefoot in your garden.
- Get ready for work – Take a shower and change into your work-from-home clothes. If you have a morning skincare routine, now’s the time to do it. This little prep work will help you get in the zone and condition your mind that you are going to be professional and productive today.
Have a designated workspace
A needy dog who wants to play every five minutes, a child who’s so irresistibly cute not to smother with cuddles, a pile of laundry or clutter waiting to be sorted out, the pristine beach calling out from your hotel window — these are just some of the common distractions you must deal with when working remotely.
If you are working from home, it’s highly recommended to set up a dedicated workspace. If you’ve got a spare room, that’s even better. But if you don’t, you can create one in any quiet corner around the house with less foot traffic. Also, invest in an ergonomic desk and chair to save yourself from back pains and other health issues related to poor posture.
On the other hand, if you’re traveling while working remotely, check out the best co-working spaces or coffee shops near where you’re staying. They’re not only very effective at achieving hours of focused work, even on vacation, but a fantastic way to meet fellow travelers and digital nomads, too.
Follow a work schedule
Flexible work schedules are the top keywords when talking about working remotely. Many surprises have been discovered when it comes to working from out of the office. Most companies now let their employees work any time they want as long as they’re online during specific core hours, are available for meetings and calls, and deliver the promised results. That’s the dream!
But as Spiderman says, with great power comes great responsibility. If you’re a self-confessed workaholic or have poor time management habits, it’s not impossible to find yourself slaving away at your desk from morning ‘til night and getting burned out in the process.
Here are some tips to not let that happen.
- Have a daily schedule with a definitive end time.
- Be vocal about your core hours, so colleagues and clients don’t set up regular meetings beyond them.
- Do not check emails when you’ve already logged off or are on vacation.
- Do not open work chats and emails when you’re already in bed.
- Snooze email and chat notifications on your phone in the evening and on weekends.
- Set up out-of-office emails when you’re on vacation.
Schedule something to look forward to after remote work
Again, if you’re not mindful of your habits, it’s easy to fall into a routine where you’re staring into the screen of your laptop and mobile devices nonstop, and your work has taken over your whole life. That’s why sprinkling your work week with exciting things you’ll look forward to doing is helpful.
Of course, what qualifies as exciting will vary from person to person. But here are some examples to give you an idea.
- Cook a healthy meal — a good compromise if you already ordered in for lunch.
- Meet friends for drinks or invite them to come over.
- Go out for an afternoon walk or run.
- Have a barbeque night and eat al fresco.
- Make your own cocktails.
- Have a family movie night.
- Go on a dinner date with your partner.
- Do your errands.
- Drive to the beach and go for a swim.
- Do touristy things if you’re on vacation.