Working from home is nothing new. Prior to COVID-19, more people were starting to work remotely, even if just for a couple of days a week. But with the global pandemic came a drastically altered business landscape. Now, with evolving technology, even the jobs we thought had to be done in the office can be done remotely.
But with this shift from the corporate office to the home office comes a challenge: avoiding burnout. Working where you eat, sleep, and relax makes it easy to blur the boundaries between home life and work life. To improve your work-life balance, here are a few things you can do:
- Set a schedule (and try to stick to it)
Overworking is common, even when people work in the office. But when you work in an office, you can get up and leave your desk and the office behind at the end of the workday. When you’re working from home, you’re likely only a few steps away from your computer, and it can be difficult to actually end the workday. One way to make sure you’re not checking emails or DMs on apps like Teams and Slack while cooking dinner and before bed, is to set work hours—and do your best to stick to them. Also, make sure your teammates and managers are aware of them. This way, they’ll know when they can reach you. Like anything, this may fluctuate. If that happens, try adjusting your hours or adding more breaks to make sure you’re working a reasonable number of hours.
If you’re using tools like Slack, set your availability, so you don’t get notifications before or after a certain time of day. You can also set your hours on a tool like Google Calendar so your teammates can easily see when you’re available.
- Take time for breaks
It’s essential to avoid burnout to stay positive, energetic, and, most importantly, efficient. A part of keeping stress low and energy high is taking breaks—even if they’re just brief. Get out of your seat and let your eyes take a break from the screen. A short workout, some stretches, or a brief walk a can do wonders for clearing your head, and in turn, make you more productive when you come back to work.
One of the perks from working from home is the flexibility it offers. You can take mini breaks throughout the day to get things done that you usually wouldn’t be able to in the office.
- Make plans for after-work hours
When you live and work at the same place, it can be hard to separate the two. If you’re working on something, it can be challenging to let it go and come back to it tomorrow—even if you’ve set a schedule for yourself. It’s easy to think, “since I’m here anyway, I might as well just finish up.” Or you may be tempted to leave yourself available since it feels like you are when you’re so close to—or on—your computer. You might also notice an email pop up when doing something else after work hours and feel compelled to answer. This is why it’s necessary to shut down your email and make plans (even if they’re at home) post workday.
Making commitments for the end of the workday helps draw the line from work time to you time. Plan to hit up the grocery store, do something physical, meet-up with or call a friend, or even just commit to making dinner. Unless something is pressing that needs to be finished today, making plans for a specific time after work helps you switch off.
The advantages of maintaining a healthy work-life balance are many: less stress, a greater sense of well-being, and higher energy are just some. And a well-balanced worker is a more creative and influential one. Improving your work-life balance can help you remain productive and avoid burnout when working from home.