With new challenges come new solutions and setups. With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full swing, many businesses and corporations have transitioned to a work-from-home setup to adjust to the crisis. The pandemic has certainly renewed interest in telecommuting, and now the majority of the world’s workforce is working from home.
In a study published in 2019, researchers found that 26% of workers said they took their work home with them, while 33% said that they did work on the weekends. Another study showed that in October 2019, 44 million working Americans had more than a week of vacation days remaining unused.
America’s salaried workers had a problem maintaining a healthy work-life balance before the pandemic. The era of teleworking thanks to COVID-19 was supposed to change this, however, workers have reported feeling even more overworked and stressed. Because the 9-to-5 workday has been obliterated, the boundaries between work and rest have been blurred as well.
Why work-life balance?
Because we’re all different — we have different jobs, responsibilities, families, and other things that are of value to us — a healthy work-life balance means different things to different people. What it’s not, however, is about doing things perfectly at your job so you have plenty of time for rest or play; that’s putting unhealthy pressure on yourself.
Simply put, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is being able to juggle both aspects of your life — being able to work productively when you need to, and being able to put your work down when it’s time to rest. It’s about balancing rhythms of rest and work so that you work from a place of rest; not resting so that you can work.
Designate places for work, play, and rest.
Experts say that working from your bed decreases your level of productivity and negatively affects your quality of sleep. The reason is that working from your bedroom blurs the lines between rest and work, and wires your brain into thinking of your bed as a place for productivity. You’ll never be able to turn your “work brain” off even when it’s time for some shut-eye.
If possible, designate specific rooms in your home for work, play, and rest. If you have a home office, make sure that your work never leaves that room. Think of your bedroom as a sacred space — no talks of work concerns, and no work documents and files. Set aside a specific room for play as well — a place where you can take 15-minute breaks, read a book, and drink a sumptuous cup of coffee. The most important thing is to not let these areas overlap.
If you have no choice but to work from your bedroom, consider setting up your work station so that you’re facing a window or a wall, not your bed. It’s to fight the temptation to lay down and work from your bed.
Finish tasks on time.
Working from home allows for more flexibility, but it may also encourage procrastination because we feel like we have more time on our hands. That may be true, but not finishing your tasks on time may also cause you to work more hours than you were supposed to. If your work schedule is from 9-to-5, work hard to finish your tasks at 5. It will keep you from working overtime.
Set a structured and detailed work schedule and try to stick to it. Write a to-do list and experience the satisfaction of ticking those boxes when you finish them on time.
Delegate and outsource what you can.
Working from home may tempt us to take on all the work that we possibly can since we have more time. However, being able to delegate and outsource tasks is a crucial part of cultivating a healthy work-life balance.
Trust the experts to do their jobs. If creativity is not your primary field, let the graphic artists do their work. If you’re a business owner who needs help making sense of business data, consider enlisting the services of business analytics consulting agencies to help you understand and run your business better.
In a sense, fighting for your work-life balance means relinquishing control where you can, and believing that other people can help you as well.
Set Healthy Boundaries
The key to a healthy work-life balance while working from home is knowing how to set proper boundaries. Learn how to tell your boss or team to stop texting or calling you after five in the evening. Know when to stop procrastinating and start working, and when to say enough is enough, and understanding your body’s rhythms and needs. Know when to stop and start — and watch your productivity increase.