Working from home has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years. A lot of that popularity is because of the COVID-19 pandemic. People around the world have been required to work remotely, and it seems that this working style is here to stay.
I am an advocate of remote working. I believe that employees -whenever possible- should decide where and how they work. However, it may be challenging to balance productivity and well-being and working remotely.
Moreover, for some, working from home can be surprisingly difficult. Not having the right office setting, constant noise, and endless interruptions are some of the challenges we might face while working from home.
And yet, the benefits of remote work may outweigh the challenges; and it might offer an opportunity to develop a productive work-life balance.
In this article, we will talk more about how to achieve that much-needed work-life balance.
Benefits and Challenges of Working from Home
Many employees are working from home for the first time because of COVID-19. Others have been working remotely since before the pandemic. Regardless of the reasons, working from home is probably playing a bigger part in your life than it ever has before.
Working from home could have a positive impact not only on your life but also on your family and your company. Staying connected and with a positive and open to changes attitude will allow you to maintain a fulfilling home life while working productively.
However, there are challenges to keep in mind. From a manager’s perspective, concerns may be about whether remote employees are meeting their obligations. On the other hand, employees working from home may feel alienated from the company. The lack of connection with team dynamics increases the chances of suffering from stress and anxiety. Therefore, if you are working remotely, it is crucial to maintain contact with colleagues and cultivate a sense of belonging.
Working Safely at Home
When you are working from home, unlike working from the office, you are responsible for creating a working space adapted to your needs. It is important to make sure you are healthy mentally and physically.
Designing Your Space
To guarantee that you stay on track and get things done, you should create a working space that fosters productivity. Make sure you have all the tools you might need to work comfortably.
While your working space should be a place where you enjoy spending time; However, it is crucial to be clear that it is a place of work. When it comes to decorating your space, a few “office” touches might help you be more productive.
A height-adjustable desk and a high-quality chair are the best investments you could make. With a height-adjustable desk, you can control how much time you spend sitting. When using a chair, having proper back support will allow you to comfortably. Working comfortably is one of the keys to getting things done.
Adequate lighting, natural airflow, and noise control are also crucial components. Whenever possible, opt to have a natural light source as it is gentler on the eyes. Work near a window to enjoy the fresh air. If you are working in a noisy space, consider using headphones or noise-canceling tools.
Keep Healthy Routines
Working from home could be challenging for your physical and mental health. It is essential to cultivate healthy routines to ensure that you don’t slip into unhealthy behavior.
One of the healthy habits to keep is a consistent working schedule. With less time commuting, it may be tempting to work extra hours a day. As a result, you will be more likely to suffer from burnout and stress.
Keeping a healthy sleeping and eating schedule is vital to stay healthy. Avoid excessive snaking as it can distort your daily routine.
Regardless of where you are working, keep in mind the importance of breaks. Having regular short breaks can help you stay energized and on task. Getting a 10-minute -off-screen- break for every hour of work could help you work more efficiently.
Being Productive While Working Remotely
Staying productive is often one of the main challenges while working remotely. Working away from colleagues, with only remote interactions, fosters disconnection and apathy. Moreover, it could promote procrastination.
One way to help you stay on track is to create cues that help you transition in and out of work mode. These cues can include a clear start and finish of your working day and time put aside for relaxing, working out, and eating. They could also be routines that guide you towards your working day, such as listening to a podcast, drinking a cup of coffee, calling a loved one, and so on.
While it might be tempting to stay all day in your most comfortable pajamas, having a “working from home dress code” could be helpful. Having particular clothes for working at home will set your mind into working mode.
If it is possible, avoid going to your working space when it is not time to work. Otherwise, your mind might be in a constant “work mode.”
A study made by the University of California in 2008 found that it took an average of 23 minutes to get on task after an interruption. And staying on track while working from home could be challenging. A clear structure of what your working day should look like could help you stay focused.
If you find yourself suffering constant interruptions from family or friends, or if you are often spending “working time” doing household chores, redesign and communicate clear boundaries.
Keep track of your social media use. Designate a time for replying to messages and catch up with your notifications.
Without colleagues around you, it can be hard to stay motivated. Remote work does not foster a space for celebrating small victories with others. It also makes it hard to give and receive encouraging words. It will come in handy to practice self-motivation to boost confidence and positive thinking.
Finding ways to make tasks more enjoyable and rewarding could bring in motivation. Use your To-Do List to record your achievements and completed tasks. Using a To-Do List will create a measurable record that enhances a sense of satisfaction. If tasks are routine and monotonous, give yourself “treats” when you complete them.
Remember to celebrate success as a team, but also on a personal level. As humans, we need to know that our success is noticed, especially when not physically present. Otherwise, it is easy to feel insecure about your output. Acknowledge when a colleague has done something good. Small actions can build work morale and self-esteem in others.
Remember that when working from home, you are responsible for your working space. You are also accountable for your self-motivation and discipline. The most important thing to keep in mind, regardless of where you are working, is to keep your working space adapted to you and not the other way around.