Before 2020, many of us dreamed of the opportunity to work from home. But jobs like that were hard to find, and we would look at those who could work from home with a degree of envy. But then, along came the Covid-19 pandemic.
With little preparation and planning, many of us were sent home, with our laptops, to carry on working. With this change, the lines between work and home life became blurred, and our work-life balance was thrown off-kilter.
We can improve our work-life balance by setting the boundaries between work and personal time and scheduling wind-down time. Regularly taking time to escape tech and adapting our workdays to our energy levels will help, as will creating a defined workspace and making exercise a priority.
A healthy work-life balance is one where we can carry out our work responsibilities without sacrificing our personal goals. Let’s look at the details around these best practices for achieving this.
- 1. Setting The Boundaries Between Work And Personal Time
- 2. Schedule Some Wind-Down Time
- 3. Regularly Take Time To Escape Technology
- 4. Adapting Our Work Days To Our Energy Levels.
- 5. Creating A Defined Work Space
- 6. Make exercise a priority
- Why Is Work-Life Balance Important?
- What Are The Disadvantages Of A Poor Work-Life Balance?
1. Setting The Boundaries Between Work And Personal Time
If we’re suddenly working from home, we may be enjoying the lack of a commute. But that travel to and from work each day has a distinct advantage in that it creates a clear start and end time to the workday.
We need to search for new ways to mark the beginning and end of a working day and a working week when working remotely.
Adding to the lack of a clear start and end time, we might also find ourselves working through the day without a break, whereas in an office, we are more inclined to take coffee and lunch breaks with our colleagues.
Even the short water cooler breaks where we get up and walk away from our desks are essential for our workday.
The other issue is that we want our colleagues and leaders to know that we’re still hard at work, even though we’re not in the office. We often land up overcompensating as a result.
The key is to become very intentional about our working hours and find ways to mimic the organic breaks that office work provides. And don’t forget to switch off the laptop entirely at the end of a workday.
2. Schedule Some Wind-Down Time
Closely linked to the boundary setting is scheduling some time to wind down after a day of work. When work involved a commute to the office, we could use the travel time as a way to power down, allowing us to enjoy the rest of the day.
Examples of ways to do this: Close your home office door for the day, take a walk, schedule some exercise, or even just change clothes and allow yourself a gap to do something mindless before the next part of your day.
3. Regularly Take Time To Escape Technology
With our phones, laptops, and tablets on the go all the time, we can easily fall into the trap of checking our devices every time they buzz. We will basically find ourselves working all the time.
We need to be quite deliberate in regularly switching off the tech, for example, before you go to bed. And when we are with our families, we should try very hard to put down our phones and stay in the moment with them.
4. Adapting Our Work Days To Our Energy Levels.
Many will agree that one of the best things about working from home is the freedom is to work when we’re at our peak, instead of as office hours dictate.
If our roles allow for this sort of flexibility, we should take advantage of this remote work opportunity to find out if we’re a night owl or an early morning lark.
We can then adapt our days to work with our energy peaks and troughs.
5. Creating A Defined Work Space
When we walk into our brick-and-mortar office, we automatically move into work mode. We need to recreate this feeling at home.
If possible, keep your work-from-home space separate from the rest of the house to maintain your work productivity and keep your home feeling more like home.
If you don’t have a spare bedroom or a proper home office, then make a point of packing your laptop away every day.
If you have a specifically designated room to work from, experts recommend that you start and end your day with a ritual of some sort to move from home into work mode and vice versa.
6. Make exercise a priority
In one of the earlier points, we mentioned that exercise is a great way to wind down from a workday. But more than just providing a break between work and home, exercise plays an essential role in our mental and physical health and creating a healthy work-life balance.
It is far too easy to put off our walks, runs, yoga, or gym sessions because of that last-minute phone call or email from a boss or client. If you make exercise a priority, you’ll soon discover that a fresh mind will help you to function better and complete your work tasks in less time.
Why Is Work-Life Balance Important?
As employees or entrepreneurs, some of us might fall into the trap of working too hard if we’re working from home. Others might battle with a lack of discipline and not working hard enough, which adds to their anxiety.
The process of creating a healthy balance between our personal and work life involves setting boundaries and being committed to working within these essential boundaries.
Whether you’re self-employed or have suddenly found yourself in a new remote working situation, work-life balance is essential to limiting stress and avoiding burnout.
Studies have shown that employees with a good work-life balance work 21% harder than workers who feel overworked.
What Are The Disadvantages Of A Poor Work-Life Balance?
Aside from the stress, anxiety, and burnout mentioned earlier, a poor work-life balance leads to a higher risk of stroke and coronary heart disease.
According to some studies, people who work 55 hours or more per week have a 1.3 times higher risk of stroke than those who work standard hours.
Working from home has created many possibilities for us, as long as we are disciplined and deliberate in creating a healthy work-life balance.
If we overlook the importance of these practices may have a very negative effect on our health in the long run.