Working remotely has many benefits, including increased flexibility and no commute to work. Yet it also runs the risk of making it harder to manage work-life balance effectively, which is important to helping you feel in control, happier and less stressed. Here are six top tips to achieve a more positive work-life balance whilst working remotely.
- Create a designated work space: Working remotely becomes much more effective when you have a designated, clutter-free workspace to work from. When working from home, it is easy to get distracted. Ensure that you choose a space in your home where you have enough space to work productively. Creating a workspace which is distinct from the rest of your home can be especially effective. Ideally, you would aim to work in a separate room, such as a study or home office. Alternatively, invest in a specific work desk so that you can try to create a physical distinction between your home and work life.
- Set working hours: One of the benefits of working remotely is the flexibility that it offers, particularly your ability to set your own hours. However, it can equally feel as though you are working around the clock, unless you create set working hours or a work schedule and ensure that you follow it. This can lead to a poor work-balance if not addressed. Adapt your hours to suits your needs. It may be that you find it useful to split your hours across the day and work for a set block of hours in the morning and evening, rather than working for one straight 8-hour block of time. The key is to ensure that you are consistent with it and you communicate these hours to your team.
- Communicate your work hours with colleagues: Working remotely can pose a challenge when trying to co-ordinate meetings or tasks with other team members who may be working different hours to you. “Good communication is essential when working remotely,” says Connie Crayton, a lifestyle blogger at Britstudent and Australia2write. “You need to let you co-workers know what your working hours are and to be clear about your availability, particularly if you are working together on a project. Keeping a consistent schedule is especially helpful. If your co-workers are aware of your hours, then they are more likely to schedule meetings or contact you only during those hours. It creates a better working environment for everyone.”
- Establish a morning routine: Tempting as it may be to work in pajamas and make the most of not having to commute to work, maintaining a morning routine is important for helping you to get ready for the day ahead. Have a shower, eat some breakfast and get dressed as you would do if you were physically going into work. This will not only allow you to mentally prepare for work, but will help you focus and be more productive too.
- Plan and organise your working day: It can be easy to get side-tracked and procrastinate when working remotely. Instead, plan each work day the night before, get organised and create a daily to-do list. This will help you focus and stay on top of your tasks, ensuring that you are being productive and successfully completing all the work you have to do. Make sure that you set achievable tasks for each day as this will make the workload more manageable.
- Take a lunch break: “It’s really important to eat a proper lunch even when you’re working remotely,” explains Frederick Neal, a psychologist at Writemyx and Nextcoursework. “It might be tempting to just keep going and to eat some quick snacks instead, but try to avoid this. Set aside half an hour to an hour to eat your lunch so that you can recharge properly and get some nourishment. This will help you to refocus and be more energised and productive for the rest of the day.” It can be helpful to make your lunch the night before so that you have it ready to eat during your lunch hour. Equally, try to avoid unhealthy snacking during the day. Instead, take regular breaks, move around and eat a healthy snack to keep you motivated and energised.