Work Life Balance: Remote Work
Work life balance is a phrase often thrown around by HR managers and job boards. To you it may feel like something to brush off as unimportant or to focus on when things calm down, but regardless of your employment situation, this balance is important to you and your health.
When you work from home, as a remote worker or a freelancer, it is important to set boundaries. Treat the work day as you would if you were going to an office: get dressed (you don’t have to wear a suit and makeup but have clothes that are not pajamas), head to your designated work space and work for a set amount of hours. Be sure to take your breaks and when you are done leave your workspace (feel free to put your pajamas back on!).
Without a commute and an office, the lines between work and life can blur leaving less time to decompress and de stress. This is why it is so important to have a set space and time frame when you work at home. Don’t set up on the couch and don’t eat lunch while you work. Doing “just a little bit of extra work” to finish up a project could lead to working all night or weekend with no time for yourself or loved ones and working with the tv on or while you are also dealing with kids can lead to less focus on work and the potential for errors.
As always, it’s important to find what works best for you. A co-working space might be more ideal or a coffee shop for a few hours a week (make sure to add coffee and muffins to your budget!). You may find that you work best in the early mornings or the evenings. If that is the case, have a discussion with your boss or client about when you will be available and set up a schedule that works best for everyone. Regardless of if you are most productive at 6am or 10pm, remember add breaks into your day. Go for a run, take an extra-long lunch or even a nap if that helps with your productivity!
Keep an eye on how productive you actually are when in this schedule and space and continue to work on improvements. Just because you think you’ll be able to get a full day of work in doesn’t mean you will be able to every day. Just like in an office, distractions happen, things come up and sometimes plans go awry. No one is perfect, especially if you are new to working from home. Always be prepared to adapt, keeping an eye on that important work life balance.