Work/life balance when working from home

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Health Assured team

29 September 2020

As we enter another lockdown—with the potential of further restrictions incoming, depending on the next few weeks—the influx of workers returning to the office has slowed 

Officially, UK government advice is that you ‘may only leave your home for work if you cannot reasonably work from home.’ This means that many workers who were beginning to get settled back in to their old routine may find themselves back at home again. 

Of course, this isn’t always possible. Many companies and jobs simply require an on-site presence. But with coronavirus still a present threatt’s a good idea to minimise people’s exposure to those from other households.  

Now, while remote working is perfect for a lot of workers—fewer distractions, no commute, their own, familiar kitchen to make brews in—for some, it’s a bit more difficult. And that can be because achieving a good work/life balance gets a bit trickier when you work and live in the same space.   

With this in mind, we’ve put together a brief guide to keeping your work/life balance in tip-top condition. It works for remote working during the pandemic—but the advice will work out even as the pandemic subsides. After all, if this is the new normal, let’s all aim to get it right.  

Make a space for work—and only work 

Easier said than done for many—shared houses and tiny flats can make this difficult. But it’s vital to have a work space in your home, where work begins and ends, and you only do work while you’re there. 

One of the primary benefits of working in an office is the psychological effect that arriving has. Getting out of your car, or walking from the bus stop, causes your mind to shift into work mode. And the reception areas of big offices act almost as a liminal space—when you see your company’s logo picked out on a big, imposing sign, you know it’s time to get focused. 

This is a lot more difficult to achieve, when working from home. But one way to do this is by creating a specific work area—and making sure you leave well alone after work is done. 

This can be a quiet corner, a spare room—if you’re lucky enough to have one—or even just a place at a desk in the bedroom.  

Here’s a great tip for those without much space: when you log out at the end of the work day, cover your work computer. You don’t need anything fancy, even just slinging a towel over it will do. The act of removing that cover in the morning will have the same effect on your mind as approaching the office, and you’ll be in ‘work mode’—and when you cover it back up, it’s time to be at home again. 

Stick to your work hours 

It can be tempting when working from home to work a bit harder. Or even to slack off a little, if that’s the way you’re inclined (we hope not—and if you’re reading this, you’re probably in the former camp.)  

Both of these are detrimental to a good work/life balance, however. It’s related to the above advice. You need to switch off, and you need to focus. Avoid multi-tasking—while it can be tempting to put on a load of laundry, or figure out a shopping list while you wait for a task to finish, you’re letting life encroach on work (and vice versa.) 

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should be glued to your work space from 9-5 on the dot. Remember, you’re entitled to the same breaks as you are when attending the office. Use them. 

Stay in touch 

Keep on talking! While you might not be in the same physical space as your co-workers, it’s very important to help them stay in the same mindset as you are, so they can more easily keep work as work and life as life. Teams, Slack, Discord et al are great for back and forth chats, whether via text or video. 

A major part of this is a morning greeting, and a goodbye at the end of the day. You’ll be surprised just how much these little formalities help to switch on to work at the beginning of the day, and switch off at the end. 

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