How to achieve work-life balance when your home is now also your office
As many workers have made the abrupt shift to working from home last year, how do we set healthy boundaries when working remotely? While work-life balance is often described as the equilibrium between personal and work life, which employees value more now than ever before, its definition has certainly evolved over the years.
OnOffice believes achieving an optimal work-life balance is different for every one of us. The balance we required last year may be entirely different today. We have provided 5 simple tips below to help get you started and hope these will inspire you to discover what work-life balance means to you.
1. Set specific work hours
One of the key benefits of working from home is flexibility, as well as the freedom to plan the day as you wish. In fact, a study by TalkTalk last year has found that 58% of workers in the UK said they had been more productive as a result of working from home, while over half (52%) said they never expect to return to a five-day working week in the office, with many now completing five day’s work in four days. While there are many benefits to working from home, having a separate routine and areas for work and play is crucial to achieving a balance. For instance, setting regular office hours with start and end times helps avoid distractions during the day, but it also allows others to know when they can and can’t reach you. Define clear boundaries with your team how and when they can contact you and to prevent out-of-hours communication.
2. Make plans for after-work hours
Is there a particular activity or hobby you enjoy doing after work? One of the obvious perks of being able to work from home is more time. The pandemic has given many of us the opportunity to ditch the daily commute and spend the free time offline instead. 2020 has seen people taking on new hobbies, whether that’s learning a new language, exercising, baking sourdough bread or spending quality time with family and friends. Planning after-work hours and activities such as these is important to relieve stress, which will ultimately benefit wellbeing and help make workers better at their jobs. Perhaps employees should work less and spend more time on hobbies?
3. Create a designated workspace
Creating a productive and inspiring WFH space doesn’t have to be difficult. The focus should be on having separate areas for work and play, so you can unplug from work when you’re done for the day. Forget creating an Instagram-worthy space and think about what you need to work productively from home. A dedicated desk or home office is ideal, but for those who don’t have the space or luxury of carving out an entirely separate workspace, explore makeshift office options instead, such as kitchen tables or empty corners. Invest in small yet affordable upgrades, including fold-out or floating desks, good lighting, comfortable seating or cushions and small accessories including plants.
4. Eat lunch away from your desk
Whether in the office or at home, eating lunch al desko raises workplace concerns especially when trying to create a better work-life balance. Research from Grace Say Aloe has revealed that 40% of office workers eat their lunch at their desks. Perhaps some of us are unable to manage our daily workload, but are others uncomfortable with small talk or feel afraid of appearing lazy when leaving their desks? While eating al desko has a negative impact on our physical and mental health, one of the benefits of working from home is that you’re able to set aside lunchtime for yourself. Make sure to take a break to boost creativity and to prepare a nutritious meal which will help you feel focused and refreshed for the rest of the afternoon, as well as ready to tackle your workload. We’ve also rounded up five super snacks to stash at your desk to help you snack smart from 9-5.
5. Get fresh air
In addition to taking short, regular breaks or a longer lunch, fresh air and sunshine are crucial for physical and mental wellbeing. Research has shown that work productivity improves after 30 minutes of fresh air outdoors. Try switching up your routine and go for a morning run before work begins or a quick walk during lunch to enjoy the daylight and absorb vitamin D, which will help stave off fatigue and depression. Sometimes, a walk in the sunshine really is the best medicine.
Enjoyed this article? Read more: 3 simple ways to stay connected to your coworkers while working from home
Image courtesy of Good Faces, Unsplash