Before the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, working from home was considered a luxury(1). Today, advancements in the information age and a more knowledge-based economy have allowed engaging in remote and hybrid work to be more realistic and practical for employers and employees.
For some individuals, especially parents or working moms, a work-from-home arrangement lets them take care of their kids and provide the essentials, such as attending to the children’s health needs or purchasing educational toys for 2-year-olds.
How do you support a healthy work-life balance while working from home? How do you stick to a schedule? Is it helpful to take breaks? What about discussing nonwork topics with your colleagues?
This article discusses how you can manage your work-life balance, including setting a schedule and taking breaks while working remotely from home.
Ways to Attain Work-Life Balance While Working From Home
Working from home brings a new set of benefits and disadvantages. You’re closer to your family and spend less or no time commuting to work. But you can also risk overworking and become prone to many distractions.
So how do you strike a healthy balance between work and personal life while working from home? Here are three ways to help you attain this balance:
Maintain a Schedule
In work-from-home arrangements, many employers don’t have a rigid work schedule. Still, creating a regular schedule and sticking to it can help maintain productivity.
Without a schedule, it’s easy to ignore the time and cause you to overwork. Maintaining a schedule can help ease the stress that comes from working constantly.
Set your work hours and log off at your work day’s end so you can make time for other things. A schedule also helps you set boundaries for your work, coworkers, and family.
Converse About Non-work Stuff With Coworkers
Because of the remote work environment, interacting with your coworkers, whom you probably used to see face to face every day, can be challenging.
Relive those times when you used to spend a few minutes chatting with your coworkers over coffee breaks. Consider scheduling group chats with your colleagues using online chat tools such as Zoom, Skype, or Slack.
Take this schedule as a way for you to talk about nonwork stuff for a few minutes a day. Trade healthy meal recipes or talk about the latest streaming movies. This social connection can help you decompress and build or maintain relationships at work.
Take Breaks and Make Time for Yourself
Individuals who get too engrossed in their work can forget to take a break like how they would in the physical workplace.
Working without breaks can be detrimental to your body and brain. Overworking can increase cortisol, the primary stress hormone, in your body(2). This increase can lead to brain fog, high blood pressure, and other health problems.
So don’t forget to give yourself some breathing space between outputs.
Consider taking 10- to 15-minute breaks, such as taking short walks around the block, a quick snack, or, if you’re a parent, a little playtime with your kids.
Research shows that stale office air can make you less productive(3). So if you’ve gotten used to staying cooped up in your desk at the office, consider going outside for some fresh air now that you’re working from home.
The COVID-19 outbreak has changed how individuals, especially parents, work. There’s less commute and more time for the family.
But working from home can easily make you forget that there are other things to do besides work. So it’s essential to keep a proper schedule, maintain social relationships, and take breaks, so you don’t burn yourself out and maintain that work-life balance.