Working from home has plenty of perks; flexibility of time, no commute, you can cook yourself an awesome lunch, throw on a load of washing in the middle of the day, sweatpants are appropriate attire, and working in a comfortable environment. You are often able to plan out your day to be more productive while mixing work and life. While working from home can be amazing, you do need to set a few things in place to make the most of your time and keep the balance between work life and personal life.
Have a set workspace
Set up an office somewhere in the house where you can be comfortable that has natural lighting. Ideally, you want an area of the house that has a door. You can close it when you are working so you do not get distracted by the other members of your household, then also closing it at the end of the day is a good way to distinguish switching off from work time. You want to keep your work in one space in the house, otherwise, you may find your whole house becomes your office. This is not only a highly unproductive way to work but also begins to engulf your personal life.
Set your work hours
It’s easy to get carried away and work a lot longer than you typically would when you’re working from home. Set out exactly what hours you are going to work for the day and stick to that. If your job allows, you don’t necessarily have to set your work hours as 9-5. You may find it more productive and more balanced working in the morning, having a longer break at lunchtime, and then picking up work again in the afternoon and working a bit later. Find what works for you.
When working from home, you no longer have the commute time, make the most of it. If you have kids, you might use the time you would normally spend in the car to play before you start work for the day. Or you might use this time to do housework or cook a nice healthy breakfast. If you set aside this time that you would normally spend in the car with a productive task, you will feel accomplished and ready to start your workday.
Take a set lunch break
Just as you would at work, get up from your desk, leave the room, and have a proper lunch break. It’s so easy to just keep working when you are at home, so set an alarm if you need to and force yourself away from your work for a half-hour. This will actually help you be more productive. You could even go for a short walk or eat lunch outside to get some fresh air.
Put your work away at the end of the day
Turn off your computer, tidy your desk, and leave the room (work). This gives your mind a clear distinction that work is over for the day and you are now in relaxation mode. You need to find a way to mentally clock out of work, as you no longer have the usual routine of leaving work. Once you have “clocked off” make sure you stick to that, the email can wait till tomorrow. If you say you will just reply to this one email the snowball effect can mean the work-life balance is completely off. If you struggle with this try logging out of your email so you don’t see the notifications or put your phone on flight mode. Having that time away from work is so important for your mental health and overall productivity.
Take your days off seriously
Just because you have access to your work 24/7 doesn’t mean you should be available all the time. Give yourself your normal weekend where you don’t work and spend the time for you. It's so easy to walk past your office space and think I will just answer a few emails, but it never ends at that. Take your time off completely away from your work and recharge ready for the next work week.
Set your new morning routine
Creating a pre-work routine is a great way to prepare yourself mentally to start your workday when you work from home. Whether it’s getting up and doing a workout, having a good breakfast, playing with your kids, and having breakfast with them. Decide what works for you and try and stick to this each workday. This helps to create a bit of normality for you and your family.