While the concept of a work-life balance has been around since the early 1930s, its meaning has evolved over the years. As the world is slowly coming to grips with remote work, it appears that we are moving away from “hustle culture” and towards establishing a healthy work-life balance in our lives.
But what is work-life balance and why is it so important? To us, having a work-life balance means establishing a healthy division of time (and energy) between work and leisure activities. That balance looks different for everyone. There are a few common steps you can follow to establish a balance that works for you. A healthy work-life balance protects you from chronic stress and burn out, and ensures sustainable growth in the workplace.
If your daily routine was previously constructed around listening to your audiobook on your commute, your post-work pilates session, and a dinner with friends, finding a similar balance while working from home (WFH) might be challenging. We have put together these 5 tips on how you can create a healthy work-life balance while WFH.
1) Set boundaries to achieve a healthy work-life balance
The greatest struggle faced by new remote workers around the world is to set boundaries at work. For many, the golden rule for a healthy work-life balance is to leave their work at the office and unplug at home. Create a similar structure while working remotely. We recommend blocking notifications on Slack once you have finished your allotted working hours for the day. If you have the Slack app on your cellphone, you might like to delete it while working from home. You will likely be surrounded by all of your technological devices. You do not need to be reminded of work-related tasks while having your breakfast.
While you might feel pressure from your colleagues to be online at all times, you could be responsible for creating those expectations yourself. Try setting boundaries with yourself first, and the rest will likely fall into place.
2) Take advantage of the flexibility of working from home
See your transition to remote work as an opportunity to give yourself more space. The benefits of working from home can be summarized in one word: flexibility. While your previous work-life balance might have consisted of finding time for leisure outside of your nine to five job, that is no longer the case. Depending on your company’s policy, you could wake up early and get a head start on the day or indulge in a slow morning and work later into the night.
Create a work-life balance that works well for your body and your productivity. Just because some start their day at 6:30 AM doesn’t mean you should.
3) Maintain structure
Nevertheless, don’t allow your newfound freedom to mess with your productivity. Often, having too much flexibility can lead to hours of procrastination – because you can always do it later! The truth is that you still have to complete the same number of tasks. If we were all highly motivated, auto-disciplined machines we could still clock in the same number of hours at different times of the day. For many of us, that is not the reality.
Know yourself before you experiment too much with the flexibility of remote work. Then, settle on an organized chaos that you can realistically sustain. Remember that there is no point in creating elaborate schedules if you cannot consistently and successfully follow them.
4) Accept the circumstances (and adapt)
Exercise, fresh air, and recreational activities are at the core of a healthy work-life balance. Exercise is not only important for our physical health, but can also help release stress after a long day of work. Those locked down in their apartments will need to accept that they can no longer rely on the pre-paid HIIT classes for motivation. The sooner we adapt to exercising and staying fit in small spaces, the better.
YouTube is filled with fun (and free) fitness videos catering to every taste. We encourage you to carve out a time in the day to be active. If you want to avoid jumping in your apartment, this 20 minute full body HIIT Workout, and this 15 minute HIIT session are great alternatives. Reducing stress with morning or evening yoga is another great way to enhance your work-life balance. Finding exercise that you enjoy and look forward to can help you break your day up.
5) Be kind to yourself
Finally, accept that you cannot be perfect during this time. Be honest to yourself about your emotional state and your productivity, and accept that getting used to uncertain situations takes time. On some days you will not find the motivation to move beyond your bed, and will complete your work from under the covers. If that is what you need to do, then grant yourself those privileges. However, you should make sure that a lack of movement and low motivation don’t become long-term habits. We can all do our best to adapt to our circumstances, because we might not be returning to our old realities anytime soon.
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