When you work from home and the same space is used as an office and living quarters, your work life and home life mix seamlessly, and it is near impossible to effect a work-life balance that works for you.
Yet working from home is the new normal in our digital business world. As such, more registered trademarks are leveraging its benefits to drive their objectives, and the regular office environment will soon become part of the past.
But what is the impact of this workplace disruption on remote workers? Is it possible to separate work from home life? If yes, how can it be done? The rest of the article will provide answers to these questions and more.
Limit work discussions at home and vice versa
It would be best if you were disciplined about the hours of the day when you are available to discuss work-related issues. The first step is to set your work hours. It might take some discipline to achieve, but it is a great step towards effective self-management.
You see, when you set aside your working hours, you eliminate a lot of the potential dangers of overworking yourself(more on that later). Now discussing work-related issues outside these hours makes nonsense of your plans and has a way of tipping the balance in your life towards your job. It simply disrupts your work life balance.
That’s not saying that you should ignore work emergencies and such. No. We mean that you have to stick to your work hours as much as possible. If you don’t, there will always be a barrage of work to do all the time.
How do you limit work discussions at home and vice versa?
Let your family, friends, co-workers, clients, and boss know your working hours when they can call you. Not everyone will comply but it is important to put them in line and let everyone know when you are in work mode or home mode.
The struggles of remote work
Remote working has tons of benefits and is becoming increasingly popular by the day. However, it is not without its struggles. Let’s look at some of these struggles.
Time Management Issues
This is perhaps one of the biggest challenges of remote work, especially for those who work from home. But, of course, there will always be distractions: friends, family, loved ones, house chores, social media, preparing meals, and even TV shows!
Worse still, you have no boss or coworkers to answer to, so it is kind of easy to give in to these distractions. And once you do, you get thrown off rhythm and, it takes a while to get back on the job. So it becomes a lot difficult to manage your work hours effectively.
The Tendency to Overwork
Since most people who are remote employees do not work regular hours, there is the risk of you working throughout the day. Some remote workers even work well into the night, robbing themselves of the restorative power of sleep. Putting in a good day’s work is good for you. But you need to be able to know when to stop.
Most times, remote employees work without contact with the home office. This separates them from the communication they enjoy when they can look over their shoulder and get quick answers to a pressing work issue. Such gaps in communication can affect the employees’ responsibilities, especially if they don’t have access to meeting rooms.
Most times, an in-house tech guy resolves any tech-related issue that might spring up in the course of handling office tasks. A remote worker who doesn’t have that proficiency will easily be frustrated when tech-related issues spring up. Say, for instance, the cell signals start acting up, or the laptop or other work devices pack up. It can be doubly frustrating working in locations with poor or low internet coverage.
Why it’s important to keep home and work life separate?
Working from home can be a dream come true especially when all you need is a laptop and internet access. However, it could also become a nightmare where all the boundaries between work life and home life come crashing down. Too much work takes a toll on one’s personal life, yet overindulgence in personal activities will hamper work.
So there has to be a healthy work life balance. There has to be some separation between both aspects of our lives. So here are some reasons for separating work and your personal time.
When you effectively keep your home life separate from your job, you relax more, and the risk of burnout is significantly reduced. See your work as a marathon that requires planning, organization, and loads of rest.
Relaxation is similar to recharging your battery so that you become more productive. However, on the flip side, the lack of relaxation will cause burnout, leading to a loss of concentration and focus and possible health issues.
When you recharge yourself with enough rest, you become more productive at work. Why? Because you replenish all the energy you expended while working. You become like a fully recharged battery with the alertness, energy, and drive needed to tackle your daily tasks.
You are more engaged with your tasks and achieve a state of mindfulness vital to improved performance. So it becomes easier for you to do more and ultimately become more productive in the long run.
You risk negatively affecting your well-being when you don’t have a healthy great work life balance. Overworking takes a toll on your physical and mental health because of the stress you have to undergo when you work long hours on a long-term basis. Taking the time to do other things in your personal life will eliminate any stress and improve your well-being.
You Never Miss Out on Memorable Moments of Life
What is the point of all that hard work if you don’t enjoy the fruits of your toil? Spending most of your time at work will rob you of some of the most memorable moments in life, like missing out on family time and key events in the lives of your loved ones. Such moments never come back, and missing them will take a toll on your relationships.
After all, what are we without our relationships?
You Achieve More
A healthy work life balance will let you achieve more results easily. You get to be more productive at work while handling all other life-related issues. In all, you become a more rounded person who is on top of all aspects of your life.
Being successful in your career does not require 24-hour stints every day of the week. The reality is that you need to strike a balance between your work and home life. Let’s face it; work is only a small, howbeit integral aspect of your life.
How you can separate home and work?
Now that you know what you stand to gain from separating your work life from other activities at home, how do you go about it? Let’s look at some tips to guide you.
Be Strict With Your Boundaries
Your boundaries are the difference between a fully balanced work-life relationship. So once you have communicated your working hours to all the parties concerned, you should be strict about sticking to those hours. Find a way to politely reinforce your boundaries and master the art of saying”no” where
Track Your Time
Time management is key to effectively separating your work life and personal life. So find a way to track how you spend your day and how well it fits your work schedule. There is a lot of software that can help you track and manage your time effectively.
Get a Designated Workspace
Create a dedicated workspace where you do all your work. This workspace should serve as your office, and it is best if this space is separate and is of a significant physical distance from family members, the TV, the stereo, and every other place that gets your attention away from work.
Your separate office should be a zone where you enter work mode when it is time to work. We also recommend that you don’t do any work outside this specific workspace.
Try to take occasional breaks to separate you from work. Creating this separation refreshes your mind and improves your focus after taking the break. If you don’t do this, you risk working for unhealthily long hours that do more harm to your health.
Understand the Psychological Effects of Working from Home
Working remotely has some psychological effects on you. If you are not careful, you could go crazy from working and living in the same space day-in, day-out. Why? You get what some folks describe as “cabin fever,” where you simply get fed up from working and staying in the same space.
Consequently, you develop mental health issues as your stress levels increase, and your productivity drops. The solution is to add some variety to your life. Go out some more and see more of the world.
Getting out of the house
Getting out of the house regularly is one of the fastest ways to treat cabin fever. Get out of the house as often as your schedule permits. Going out for a lunch break or dinner, watching movies, spending time with family and friends, taking a walk or just hitting the gym would do.
Getting out of your house is great for your physical and mental health and should be a vital part of your plan for separating your job from your personal life. Make sure you set aside a certain time every week for personal business.
How employers can benefit from work-life balance?
When employees have a balanced work-life relationship, it also reflects on their work and the growth of the business they work for. Here are some of the benefits that employers can enjoy when their employees have the right work-life balance:
- Improved employee accountability and commitment to responsibilities
- Increased teamwork and communication
- Higher employee morale
- Better employee engagement
- Reduced work stress
- Decreased staff turnover
- Lower recruitment costs
- Enhanced services and competitiveness
- Establishing a brand reputation
- Better work environment
There you have it! Working from home is great for business but you need to keep work separate from personal affairs. We hope you apply some of these insights so that you can have a better-rounded work-life relationship when working remotely.
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