How To Balance Your Work And Private Life When Working From Home
Get Ready for Work Each Day
When you work from home, you don’t have to rush around in the morning the same way you do when you go to work in the office. But instead of dedicating the time you normally spend commuting to an extra half hour of snoozing your alarm, get ready for the day the way you normally do. Take a shower, make coffee and breakfast, and get dressed. That way, you’ll wake yourself up and mentally prepare for being productive and working hard even though you aren’t at your usual desk, and you’ll be less tempted to take it easy by hanging out on the couch or feeling sleepy halfway through the day.
Work in a space that is apart from the rest of your home
Along the lines of preparing yourself for a productive day of work from home, you can set yourself up for a productive day if you choose the right workspace.
Working from home can be a lot more distracting than working from the office. For one thing, you’re alone, without any coworkers nearby to motivate you to stay productive and busy. For another, your home offers more things to do than the office. If you work from your couch where you normally binge-watch your favourite true-crime series, you might get distracted halfway through the day. If you work from your dining room table that’s covered in laundry that needs to be put away, you might do that instead of working.
Instead, work from a neat and clutter-free space in your home that’s specifically dedicated to work. Maybe that’s your home office or a desk. Choose a spot where you’re able to work productively and keep that space distinct from other parts of your home so you can unplug from work when you’re done.
Set a Schedule
If you’re working remotely, try setting a schedule and sticking to it. This will be helpful for your team and for your sense of work-life balance: That way, your team will know exactly when they can and cannot reach you, and you’ll be able to plan personal activities during your day outside of work, wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, and work a manageable number of hours.
If things come up on a regular basis that requires you to log on early or stay online later than those hours, that could be a good nudge for you to change your working hours to be available during that time while still being mindful of using your personal time to recharge.
Use Communication Tools to Indicate Your Online and Offline Hours
Once you’ve determined a daily schedule that makes sense for you and your team, use different tools to publicise that schedule so your team members in different locations and time zones are mindful and respectful of that time.
You can set your Slack availability so you don’t receive notifications before or after a certain time of day, and you can indicate your working hours on Google Calendar so you automatically decline events taking place outside of your daily schedule. And by publicising your hours, your coworkers will be more mindful of your personal time, and might send you an email or schedule a meeting with you instead of sending you a barrage of Slacks early in the morning or in the middle of the night where you’re working.
Just like at the office or in the lab, remember to get up and move around. Try to limit the time spent reading the news and on social media during your breaks, particularly at the moment. Keep yourself hydrated and try to eat healthily. Make sure you have a good lunch break away from your work. It’s very tempting to snack all day when you work from home, but it’s not healthy in the long run.
Make Plans for After Work Hours
If your living space and your workspace are the same place, it can feel hard to truly step away from work at the end of the day, even if you’ve closed your laptop and signed off. Sometimes it can feel like there isn’t a reason to log off at a certain time if you’re already working from the home office.
To that end, if you’re a remote worker seeking a little more work-life balance, make plans for your after-work hours, and stick to them.