The past couple of years have been tumultuous, and have created lasting changes in the world of work. For many employees, remote or hybrid working is now the norm, with some of us relishing the extra time at home and the lack of commute. However, others feel isolated without the camaraderie of the office and struggle to switch off at the end of the day. At CareerWise, we are experts in all facets of the working world, and can help you navigate the new normal. Here is our guide to maintaining a work-life balance when working from home.
What is work-life balance?
This phrase refers to achieving a healthy and happy ratio between your work time and your free time. You need to be able to fulfil your work tasks well and on schedule, but also to feel that you have proper time off to recharge and live your life. It can end up feeling like the distinction between work and home has become so blurred that you never know whether you should be in home mode or work mode. If you are feeling like this, you are risking burnout and need to make some adjustments.
Why is work-life balance important?
Those who have a good work-life balance are happier and healthier. They are more able to focus when they are in work mode, so they are actually more productive and do better work than those who can’t switch off. Those who don’t have a good work-life balance experience stress and a lack of control in both their work and personal lives which will negatively impact their wellbeing and their work. So achieving a good work-life balance is beneficial for employees and employers alike.
CareerWise’s top tips for achieving a better work-life balance when working from home:
Begin your day in a non-work way that you will enjoy. Don’t let checking your emails become the first thing you do! Instead, remember that you start off in home-mode. Have a healthy breakfast, a good coffee, a shower or do some yoga. This should help you feel that work fits in to your life, rather than that you are squeezing your life around work.
If you can work from anywhere, it somehow ends up feeling like you should be available at all times too. This is an unhealthy habit that is hard to break, so try setting some firm boundaries. Make it clear to your colleagues what your working hours are, and that they can expect swift and efficient replies from you during those hours, but that you will not be available at other times. This way, you will be able to plan social activities in your spare time, and feel like you are living life fully. It can be hard to stick to this, especially if you are working on a different schedule or even time zone to your colleagues. But take note if you find yourself regularly working late or pushing the boundaries of the routine you have set – this is a warning sign that things are becoming unbalanced and you are not getting the time off you need to recharge.
This helps reinforce the points above. You could add a footer to your email signature, detailing your availability. Google Calendar allows you to set your working hours, so that it automatically declines work you are invited to outside of those hours. Slack can also be used to set your availability so that you don’t receive notifications in your own time. Once you’re clear to colleagues on what your working commitments are, you could always turn off your phone!
When your workspace and your living space are the same place, it can feel really hard to relax at the end of the day. Despite the inevitable post-work fatigue, it’s a good idea to make plans to get out and about. Go for a drink with a friend or check out a new film for a relaxed evening that will allow you to truly unwind. Or use your time to go to a creative evening class or have a work-out. Anything to get you out of the house and away from work-mode. Having a concrete deadline for turning off your computer at the end of the day can help you stop working late.
Make the most of the upsides of working from home by interspersing your working day with home-life errands. It can really boost your productivity to get away from the screen, even for a few minutes. So after an intense Zoom meeting or a couple of hours of emails, go and put on a load of washing! If you were in the office, you’d have a chat to a co-worker or make a coffee, but when at home it can feel like you mustn’t leave your screen. By doing little home tasks throughout the day, you’ll feel like you are being really productive in your home life as well as your work life, and when it comes to evening you will be able to truly relax, rather than have to do all your life admin!
Whether you are new to home working or a long term digital nomad, it can be a challenge to strike the right work-life balance. Here at CareerWise we are dedicated to helping you make the most of your career. We have roles for remote workers, hybrid workers, and those looking for office jobs too. If you are searching for your next job in Ireland, why not call CareerWise today and see how we could help your career flourish.
Michael worked for over 10 years in the industrial engineering environment before starting in recruitment with BDO in 2006 on their engineering desk. He joined IRC in 2008 as a technical engineering consultant before moving into account management and becoming principle account manager in IRC. Michael has worked with some of the largest engineering companies within the mid west region and has had sole management responsibility for one of the largest temporary staffing accounts with one of the bigger multinationals based in Ireland during his time with IRC.
Michael joined Careerwise in April 2016 with the responsibility of growing the business out of the new Galway office with a primary focus on the West, North-West and Midland regions. Michael has extensive experience and knowledge in the technical, engineering and commercial sectors.
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