How to have work-life balance when working from home
By Steph Coelho
Aug 28, 2020 at 6:54 AM
Many people are still stuck working from home, and while a WFH situation has its perks -- you can stay in your PJs and avoid traffic -- it can be a challenging adjustment for some.
Technology has made working from home possible, but it also means work is always there. A text, an e-mail, or a phone call might interrupt your day (or evening) at any moment.
Many are finding it hard to strike a work-life balance since the boundary between work time and leisure time has become a bit less defined.
So how can you unplug and take quality time with yourself and your family? Here are a few tips that can help you switch off and set work aside.
How to set up a temporary work station at home
Your laptop ends up in the kitchen, you find yourself checking e-mails in bed, and you peruse work documents on the couch. It happens, we get it! But by mixing your leisure spaces (e.g., the bedroom) with your work area, you risk entangling your two separate lives.
Get yourself a nice desk and create an inviting work area. If your at-home situation is temporary or if you're short on space, the area doesn't have to be an office. The key is creating a work corner that's just for work. The rest of your home should be for relaxing, sleeping, and family time. Add a budget-friendly work station like the AmazonBasics Home Office Computer Desk that features attached shelves for keeping work documents in one place.
Put your office or desk somewhere that isn't within view of your bedroom or family space. If the only available spot you have is in your living room or sleeping space, consider adding room dividers to keep your workspace separate. If your desk is in an area with a lot of traffic (like the kitchen), a room divider can signal other family members to keep quiet and not disturb your work. A tall divider with built-in shelving delivers privacy with the benefit of added storage.
How to take time for yourself when working from home
This might go without saying, but taking time for yourself is key to a healthy work-life balance. Spend some time each day doing something just for yourself that isn't work-related. Read a chapter of a good book or simply sip your morning coffee while taking in fresh air on your front stoop, balcony, or backyard patio.
If you find it hard to get away from work when you're stuck at home, try scheduling activities with your family. They don't need to be complicated. Plan board game nights and play fun, easy-to-learn card games like Sushi Go Party. Or make time every other evening for a movie night.
How to take breaks when working from home
Some people find it helpful to take frequent breaks to boost productivity. When working alone at home, though, it can be hard to keep tabs on the time of day. Studies show that going long periods without a breather can actually hurt your performance. Remind yourself to step away for a bit with a digital desk timer.
What should you do with your moments of free time? Work in some physical activity to combat the sedentary nature of work-from-home life. Use a fitness tracker like the Fitbit Inspire HR to motivate you to move more.
How to take lunch when working from home
At-home work-life means no designated lunch break. Avoid eating at your desk and instead join the rest of your homebound crew for a meal. Spend more quality time together by preparing your weekly lunches in advance. Store them in these sturdy, airtight Pyrex glass food containers so that food is ready to throw in the microwave or oven when you're hungry.
Remove work apps from your phone
Instead of taking all work calls on your cell phone, take them on an old-fashioned desk phone like this Crosley unit. Add a retro flair to your office environment and get yourself a temporary landline to deal with work-related calls.
Go one step further and delete all work-oriented apps from your phone so you're not tempted to check in after hours.
How to stop checking e-mails when working from home
Stick to set work hours. Regardless of whether those hours are set by your company or self-imposed, try not to do work outside of those times. Tell your partner or family what they are so they can help you keep tabs on when you're working too long.
How to clock in and clock out when working from home
Setting specific work hours is important, but so is sticking to them. Do so with the help of a visual aid like this stylish Foxtop Modern Office Clock. Keep it right within view, so you always know what time it is.
How to set boundaries when working from home
Be open and honest with your bosses, co-workers, and family members about what you need. If urgent late-night e-mails are negatively impacting your mental health, talk to the people you work with to find a solution or compromise.
Do you need a quiet environment to get work done so that you're available for socializing later? Tell your housemates. Ask them to lower the TV or use headphones when listening to music so you can concentrate and get work done within your set work hours.
Steph Coelho is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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