Now more than ever, millions of employees have found themselves working from home. While some of them find it practical, others faced hardships when not being able to work at the office.
The fact is that working from home has its challenges and the secret of staying productive and free of stress as much as possible is to find balance. And here is what you can do achieve that work-relax balance.
Create a morning routine balance
It’s important you stay active in the morning even if you can wake up 5 minutes before your work. If you used to spend half an hour or an hour to commute to work, don’t spend that time now in bed. Get up at the same time and do some other activity instead. Maybe you could work out or have a walk around the neighborhood or simply read a book. The important thing is not to allow the line between your sleep and work to become blurred.
Plan your workflow balance
Before you start your day, create a plan for that day – have a target sheet and time slots that will allow you to also deal with unexpected issues, calls, and tasks, not just cover your set goals. Every time you get onto a certain task, don’t stop until you have finished it. Switching between the tasks to respond to an email or fill a different form will only affect your productivity negatively.
Create a designated workspace
Having a designated workspace inside your home will help you differentiate between work and relaxation and staying focused. It’s very important to be able to walk out of your bedroom and getting into another area equipped as a workplace. In a way, it will feel like you have left the house and are ready to do some work. And as much as it’s important to have a designated workspace, it’s also necessary to have at least one area of your home that is completely work-free.
Your designated workplace should be free of distractions and treated as a regular office. Other family members should respect your privacy behind closed doors. That way, it will be easier for you to focus on your job.
Have the necessary equipment
It’s crucial you feel comfortable while working from home, which means you have to have all the necessary equipment and accompanying items.
As it can be painful and tiring to sit in the same position for 8 hours, you need to change your location and posture from time to time. In other words, it would be great if you had a standing desk together with a classic working desk so that you can interchange between sitting and standing. When sitting, make sure you have an ergonomic chair accompanied by one of the quality chair mats to ease your movements. Change your posture every hour – sometimes you can even try to sit on your sofa and put your laptop in your lap.
Learn to balance the tasks
To avoid getting too stressed out and decrease your productivity, it’s necessary to learn how to give your full attention to just one task at a time. Once you have decided what your priorities are, stick to them and don’t divert from them. It’s especially important not to let house chores interrupt you. Set aside the time for personal matters and don’t do them within the working hours. That way, you will have a clear mind and you won’t feel overwhelmed.
Take regular breaks
You may feel “trapped” inside your own home at one point. In case you don’t have any obligations that would make you leave the house, you could spend a few days in a row not leaving your home at all.
You must avoid falling into this trap because it won’t do you any good (mentally nor physically) to stay inside for too long without enjoying the fresh air and socializing.
Regular breaks during workhours are important for that reason – you get the chance to stretch, take a walk, and clear your mind. And don’t forget to have a proper lunch when it’s time.
Working from home can create communication issues with other colleagues and clients. your team is affected by being “parted” in some way, so it’s necessary to make sure you have clear and effective communication at all times.
Tools like Slack and Skype enable easier communication while in some situations it’s better to have a Skype or phone call. In case most of you are locals but work from home, it’s good to go to the office every once in a while to re-connect and strengthen your relationships. The better the relationships, the better is your communications and, consequently, less stress.
Log off at the right time
When working from home, it’s easy to lose the track of time and to continue working when it’s time to log off or not to have designated working hours. You need to establish boundaries and be done with work at a designated time. The time you used to spend commuting back home should be used for other activities, not for more work. Otherwise, you could experience burnout very soon.
The moment when you’re done with work, shut off notifications on your phone and move away from your laptop. Except in case of emergency, don’t check your emails and messages until the next day.
Finding the right balance when working from home takes time. Everybody is different and everybody adapts to new circumstances at a different speed. It’s important to be patient with yourself and to always have your well-being in mind – especially in these unsettling times when the amount of stress is increased.
Emma Williams is an Australian writer with a master‘s degree in business administration, who has a passion for anything lifestyle and design related. She spends most of her time redecorating and participating in house projects. As a great nature lover, her biggest pleasure is spending time in a small cottage by the river.