As one of the millions of individuals worldwide that traded their suit and tie for sweats and a t-shirt all in the name of remote work, you know how amazing being able to work from home truly can be. Setting your own schedule, working wherever, and having freedom to travel are just some of the perks that have made countless business professionals begin to notice the many advantages of working from home.
However, just like any office, your home office needs structure and balance in order to be separated from your actual life. Finding this work-life balance can often be difficult when your work is so closely connected to your home, but with a bit of organization, scheduling, and accountability, you can begin to get the most out of your work from home-based position and see a more visible work and life separation.
Create a Schedule and Uphold It
Perhaps, one of the biggest perks associated with working from home is the ability to set your own schedule. Gone are the days of waking up at five in the morning to get ready, commute, and be in the office from eight until who knows when. Instead, you can wake up whenever, finish your work, and relax on your couch in between projects... right?
Well, the truth is that, although this is one possibility for a remote employee, having a designated work schedule is one of the best ways to separate your work life from actual life. By having a set schedule, you can train your mind to not do home or life tasks during this time period. Imagine you are in the office and these perks of being home such as television, your bed, or being able to go outside are miles away from your workspace. By doing this, you effectively separate home distractions from work and productivity and give yourself a better foundation with which to complete your daily tasks.
Explain to Clients “Remote” Doesn’t Mean “Always Available”
One of the most common things that remote workers face is the disparity between remote working and being available 24/7. According to Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs:
“I let my team know my general working hours, and they do the same for me. That way, we're not expecting people to be available around the clock, and we know more or less when someone is or isn't going to be available for work-related things. This helps us all stay connected, while at the same time, setting and respecting each other's boundaries and need for work-life balance."
Being available or giving off the illusion of availability 24/7 does not make you seem more invested than other people in your industry, but rather makes you unable to get quality sleep and sets you up for failure if you don’t respond immediately to a client that expects this kind of responsiveness from you.
Set a Designated Workspace That You Close Down Each Day
Not always are these separations metaphorical in nature. In fact, creating a designated workspace in your home and being able to “shut it down” each day is a great way of further instilling in your mind that work is work and your home life shouldn’t be affected by it.
Although many home workers enjoy the ability to sit on their couch or lay in bed while they complete work, this connects your work and life and does not allow you to find a certain level of necessary balance between the two. Instead, try to create an office space similar to the one you would have in a company and keep all of your business-related items within this space. That way, at the end of the day, it’s as simple as closing a door and flicking a switch to effectively turn off your business and enjoy your personal life.
To do this, start by making a list of essential home office supplies and setting them up on a specific desk or table in your home. Try to find a location that is quiet and encourages creativity, and don’t be afraid to make this space your own. After you have done this, begin working solely in the space and see the difference a real personal home office can have on your productivity.
Plan Your Activities Daily
Whether you choose an online scheduling system or an old school paper planner, planning your daily activities allows you to allot your time accurately and account for all essential tasks. By doing this, you make sure that you are not forgetting pertinent aspects of your weekly work schedule and that you are turning in all work tasks in a timely fashion.
Furthermore, by doing this, you can also increase your daily productivity and make sure you are separating your work life from your regular life by scheduling out your work and not going beyond the set hours you have chosen to be your workday hours.
Always Get Enough Sleep and Stay Away From Working in Bed
There is a time for laying in your bed and a time for being in your office. When sleeping, you will want to ensure that you get a good night’s rest each and every work night that way you can feel well-rested and focused the following day. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, a good night’s rest helps with job performance and productivity. This means that staying up late or sleeping in during the day could both contribute to a less productive version of your remote working self.
Similarly, because you attribute your bed to sleep, you should never work on your bed. This can oftentimes confuse your mind, make you feel more tired than you actually are, and avert your focus towards sleep rather than the work you must complete that day.
No Pajama Parties in the Workspace
According to a study performed by Stephanie Vozza in relation to an article she composed on the business site Fast Company, Vozza states:
“I chose dress pants, a blouse, and a blazer, as well as a couple of dresses that have been collecting dust in my closet. I was very skeptical that it would make a difference, but I quickly found that I was wrong. I tend to take care of household tasks while I work … [but] wearing work clothes, however, kept me in work mode. I felt more focused–even though my laundry did pile up.”
The truth is that “dressing for success” is the best way to ensure that your work day does not bleed into your personal life. By choosing to wear professional clothing and working at a designated space in your home, you can be ready for the work ahead of you and be prepared if you ever need to video chat with a client or take a photo for your social media account. This image will show you are professional and also increase your own productivity and confidence as well.
In the end, working from home is an amazing experience that allows business professionals many freedoms, but it also requires hard work and dedication. By following these steps and implementing a more business-oriented strategy in your work-from-home schedule, you can become more productive, find that work-life balance, and showcase a professional and experienced remote worker when needed.