And it’s great news! Right up until it dawns on you what it actually means. It’s nice to be working at home, all cosy in your PJs, spending more time with your family and loved ones. But what happens when they become a distraction? What do you do when you start wondering whether you work at home or live in your office?
The truth is, remote work doesn’t work for everyone. And if you feel the same, you’re not alone. The shift towards remote work brings with it unique challenges. And they are hard to ignore. They range from distractions that are almost impossible to avoid to complex responsibilities at home. Both of which make it difficult to find a healthy work-life balance.
If you’re still struggling to find the right way to lead a better and more productive remote-work life, you came to the right place. Read on and find out 8 tips for working from home that will help you get through the day.
Set up your home office
There are ways to set up your home workspace even if you don’t have a spare room in your home that you can use as an office. Find a quiet corner or dedicate a desk that you will use only during working hours. Once the work is done, close your laptop and find another place to sit and relax. Make a clear distinction between your work time and your personal time during the day. Once you make a habit out of it, your brain will know when’s the time to switch to work mode and when you’re off the clock. Even a simple mind trick like this one can help you get a better work-life balance. Also, moving from one location to another will help your household members know when to leave you alone.
Set the ground rules with your household members
Speaking of household members, are you absolutely sure they know what you’re doing for a living? Yes, they see you sitting in front of the laptop for the better part of the day, but that usually doesn’t tell them that much. That’s why you should. Explain to them the nature of your work. Communicate with them what’s expected from you and tell them all about your daily tasks and duties.
Let your household members know that being at home and being available are two very different things. Introduce them to your remote work schedule and prevent constant interruptions and distractions. Make sure to do it beforehand. Otherwise, you may unwillingly risk a temper outburst next time they call out your name. You can even come up with your own do not disturb signs which will be helpful if you’re in the middle of an important video call. Make sure to find a solution that will work for everyone. After all, it’d be unfair to expect them to put their life on hold just because you’re on duty.
Clearly communicate your working hours
One of the biggest perks of remote work is flexibility. Given that you know how to use it to your advantage, of course. There’s a fine line between working flexible hours and being on call. And it’s easy for everyone to cross it if you don’t set up boundaries upfront. That’s why you need to communicate your working hours with your team if you want to maintain your work-life balance. Use Google Calendar as your spokesperson. Schedule everything you do (and at what time) to prevent possible interruptions. The same goes for private arrangements. Create personal events and let everyone know you’re unavailable or out of your home office.
As you will find out, clear communication can eliminate a lot of annoyance. Have you ever wondered how come your coworkers call you every time you’re in the middle of your lunch break? Could it be that they simply don’t know when your lunch hour is? Now, there’s some food for thought!
Also, don’t forget flexibility is not your exclusive privilege. As it happens, your team members are taking advantage of their flexible hours, too. That’s why you need to compromise. There will be times you will need to change your habits and routines to make working from home a success. For example, you will need to start your workday early to accommodate someone else’s schedule. Don’t think of it as them disrespecting your time and don’t hold grudges. When it happens, just make sure others know you’ll call it a day earlier than usual. This is exactly what flexibility is all about.
Working remotely ultimately means you’re being your own personal manager. Make sure not to end up being your worst boss ever. Don’t overload yourself just for the sake of feeling busy. Aim for productivity instead and use your well-deserved breaks to stay focused and productive.
As it turns out, good time management can prevent your work from invading your personal life. And in case you’ve forgotten, flextime allows you to choose your off-hours, too. So don’t miss out on it.
Take note of what times of the day you’re most productive and use those hours to get the difficult tasks done. In the meantime, take breaks. If you’re easily consumed by work, don’t leave anything to chance and make sure to schedule them. Set up an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to take some time off. Use it as a cue to walk away from your computer, get your blood circulating and take your eyes off the screen. You can even take your dog out for a walk or do some household chores that will take your mind off your work for a while. Or simply do nothing. After all, that’s what breaks are for.
Always be curious
Back in the day when coworkers shared the same working space day in and day out, office kitchens acted as knowledge hubs. You would stop by to grab a cup of coffee or a bite to eat and you would end up hearing all the latest news. Now that you’re working from home, there’s a chance you might miss out on some useful information. The most important thing is not to take it personally. Instead, actively search for training and learning opportunities. Check your coworkers’ calendars from time to time to see what they have been working on. Take an interest in their projects and tasks and see if you could help them in any way. It might happen that they have unintentionally forgotten to include you. Speak up and let them know you’re there if they need you.
Don’t give up on social interaction
No man is an island, said John Donne. Well, you sure start feeling like one when working from home. There’s no doubt remote work comes with lots of benefits; however, it can also make you feel lonely and isolated. Don’t give up on casual interaction with your colleagues just because you don’t share the same office space anymore. What you can do is schedule a social meeting from time to time. Reach out and find out how they’re doing and what they have been up to. Remember, not every Slack or Zoom meeting has to be business-related.
In case your workload leaves you little or no time to communicate with your coworkers, find another way to combat your loneliness. Spend some time interacting with other people, your family members and friends. You might even find joy in engaging in small talk with your neighbours or people you meet when you take your dog out for a walk. There’s no need to feel lonely even though you’re alone for most of your workday.
Leave your home office at least once a day
It sure feels nice to have a reason to get out of your PJs and put some clothes on. As it usually happens, you only come to realize it once you have nowhere to go. Well, don’t wait for that special occasion to occur; create one. Explore other options, like co-working spaces or local libraries.
In any case, leave your home office at least once a day. Go out for a walk, get some air and, hopefully, even enjoy some sunlight. Make sure to break up the monotony of your workday. There’s more to life than being in front of your laptop the entire day. Don’t forget, if you want to maintain a healthy work-life balance, you have to have a life in the first place.
Find your passion project
Contrary to popular belief, it’s perfectly fine not to be passionate about the work that pays your bills. Be true to yourself and acknowledge that your job and your passion project are not the same things. Write down a list of things that interest you. Take into account your skills and capabilities. Try out different activities and find the one that sparks joy. Make time for it in your schedule and enjoy your after work hours. Remember, no one can get your work and life in balance but you. Start today and see what happens. You might be amazed where it’ll take you.
Remote work comes with benefits for both the employers and the employees. That’s why it’s not hard to see why it’s here to stay. If you still haven’t gotten accustomed to it, this might be the perfect time to implement the 8 tips listed above. Think of remote work as a skill that needs to be mastered. It’s not easy but if you give it a try, it can only get easier.
Working from home ultimately means having to figure out where to work and when to work. To make the most out of it, you need to create boundaries between your work and personal life on a daily basis. Otherwise, you will end up being overwhelmed and frustrated.
If you want to take advantage of all the benefits that remote work can offer you, get in touch and we might just be able to get you one step closer to making that happen.