WFH Wellness Series: What does work-life balance look like when you work from home?


For a while during the past decade, the idea of “remote work” tended to come hand in hand with the concept of “digital nomads” -- those who can work with little more than a laptop, and who take advantage of this fact by constantly traveling around the world. But as time has passed, more companies have caught on to the benefits of remote work, and realized that it can be well-suited for more lifestyles than just those of globetrotters. In fact, having one fixed, personal workstation is considered ideal for remote workforces, as it allows for suitable, ergonomic equipment, a less fluctuating environment, and a sense of routine, which helps productivity and all-around mental health. 


The general wellness of workers should be a priority for any company. It improves the quality of work, reduces burnout rates, contributes to a healthy company culture, and increases employee retention. When managed well, a full or even just partial remote work model can increase the quality of life for workers. But, as with any paradigm shift, there are initial challenges that need to be overcome, such as striking the perfect work-life balance. As jobs become increasingly competitive and society continues to blur the line between work and pleasure, it can be tricky to know when to switch off. Make no mistake though, having a fulfilling life outside of work especially when your work and personal spaces are one and the same is crucial to well-being and productivity. Below are some tips to achieve the seemingly elusive work-life balance. 


Set up, and clean up


Whether a remote workspace is placed in a room of its own or in the heart of a home, taking a moment to set up for the day and tidy up once you’re done is key. This simple habit will signal to your brain that work is something which should be switched on and off, creating a healthy boundary within your personal space. Though this rule doesn’t have to be rigid (perhaps one day you’ll find that leaving things ready to pick up where you left off the next morning saves valuable time and energy), on average, you should be mindful of marking a tangible difference between your space when it’s aimed at enabling productivity, and when it’s suited for leisure. 


Communicate, communicate, communicate 


When working from home, constant and clear communication with management and fellow coworkers takes on special importance. One of the many benefits of remote work is the flexibility it offers, allowing employees to work under the circumstances that they find most productive. The catch is simple: Everyone should communicate what their schedule usually looks like, whether they’re early birds or night owls, and be open to making concessions to ensure that their work hours fit well with the rest of the team’s. This way, everyone can avoid having work seep into their off-the-clock hours. 


Plan breaks ahead of time 


To expand on the previous point, mapping out your day or better yet, your week will allow you to have a clear sense of when you’ll be taking breaks. With collaborative work software like Monday and Slack on your phone, it’s easy to step away from your workspace for a moment, while still remaining connected during work hours. It may sound counterintuitive, but being able to take care of quick errands between tasks will free up your day once you’re ready to clock out, giving you more time to unwind. 


Get out of the house 


Even if it’s just to get a coffee and bagel in the morning, drop off your dry cleaning, or do a quick grocery store run, being around other people is important for your mental health when you’re lacking the daily face-to-face interaction of an office. Humans are social beings, and working from home doesn’t mean isolating yourself from the world around you. Quite the contrary it can be a great opportunity to get to know your neighborhood, patronize local businesses, and spend more time immersing yourself in your community. 


Leave time for personal pursuits 


Bonding with coworkers is great and necessary for strengthening a team, especially when you’re working remote, but to achieve a true work-life balance, you should be sure to also have friends and hobbies that have nothing to do with work. Taking up a sport, joining a book club, or simply making time for dinner or drinks with people from different walks of life, will enrich your point of view and allow you to craft a unique identity. Being passionate about your work is one key to happiness, but knowing that you’re not entirely defined by what you do for a living is just as important. 

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