Many companies are requiring their employees to work remotely in today’s business environment, and many businesses are considering a permanent remote workforce. As employees and employers adjust to this new work environment, it’s essential to create a healthy work-life balance. Here are the five key considerations to ensure everyone is teleworking successfully:
Separate Work Life From Home Life
Bringing your work life into your home can present a few challenges. It’s essential to do what you can to establish boundaries to help you and your family. First, set your workspace away from distractions that may take place at your home. Ideally, the space should have a door so that you can shut out noise or interruptions. Second, establish ‘do not disturb’ guidelines, work hours, break times, and a policy on handling personal matters. Third, accept that you are working from home, and interruptions happen. Cats and kids may try to the “star of the show” during a video call, and your dog will bark at passersby. It happens. Stay calm, put the call or video meeting on hold if needed, redirect the kids and pets, and keep moving forward.
Set Your Schedule
Knowing when to start and stop working is one of the toughest parts about teleworking. It is ok to put in an extra hour or two as you did at the office, but it is important not to do it every day. Having your work more easily accessible, you can quickly burn yourself out by working too many hours. Sometimes if you start your workday an hour or two earlier, you can accomplish more and maybe end your day early or by 5 PM. This way, you spend more time with your family or by doing things that will give you more balance in your life.
Continue Your Normal Work Routine
Maintaining a routine is an integral part of our mental health. A routine can help reduce stress and anxiety, help you sleep better, and give you more time to spend on your hobbies or with loved ones. Reestablishing a daily work routine is vital to help you feel like you are going to work. Your morning ritual may be getting up early to go to the gym and grab a quick cup of coffee on your way to the office. Whatever routine you have when you go into the office should continue when you’re working from home. You may need to make a few adjustments to your “at the office” daily routine. The important part is to create a teleworking work routine that works for you.
While many health experts have expressed concern about the health of workers who sit at a desk all day, office life can be much more active than working from home. At the office, you go to meetings, run to the copier, or stop by a co-worker’s desk or office. Working from home can often include hours of sitting at a computer, on the telephone, or video conferences. Taking breaks throughout the day will help you work more effectively, create clarity, and increase creativity. Make sure to take a few breaks throughout the day. Take a moment to stand up, stretch, get the mail, or eat lunch away from your work area.
Connecting with co-workers, your supervisor, and customers is important. While it can be easy to shoot off an email, social connection is also an important part of our mental health. Connecting with others can increase empathy and self-esteem and help lower anxiety and depression. One way to stay connected is to plan a regular conference or video calls. Take a virtual coffee break with a co-worker. Or set up a remote team building activity. Remaining connected with co-workers and customers is key to a successful teleworking experience.
As the current situation continues to unfold, no one knows how long employees may need to work from home. Try to use this time to your benefit and while long-term teleworking may not be for everyone, be grateful that you have the flexibility and make the most of it. Maintaining a positive attitude will help you adapt to this new change.