Achieving better work-life balance can be a challenge for remote workers, as the boundaries between work and personal life can become blurred. Whether, email notifications are constantly dinging on your phone, or you get asked to "just" pop onto a call even though it's the end of the work day, or you end up working on the weekend because your work computer is now on your kitchen table - blurred lines between work and home are a real and common problem for remote employees.
Quickly, remote workers can find themselves feeling like they're working all the time - or should be working all of the time - because work and home are now the same place. And just like that, instead of the freedom and flexibility and work-life balance you thought you were getting, you feel more chained to work than ever before. Ugh!
Just take a look at these statistics on working from home and burnout from a recent study:
86% of employees who work from home full-time experience burnout.
67% of remote workers report feeling pressured to be available all the time.
46% of remote workers say they miss the clear boundaries that in-office work sets between their work and personal lives.
The Good News For Remote Workers
If you're a remote worker who can relate to these struggles, you are NOT alone. Feeling like you're always working and constantly pulled to work more, are common stressors for remote employees. While we believe that a perfect work-life balance doesn't actually exist, you CAN establish better rhythms and find more freedom in your daily routine. There are actually several strategies that can help:
1. Set Clear Boundaries
Remote employees should set clear boundaries between work and personal life by establishing set work hours. It's especially important to stick to those work hours once you've set them. Whether you're "in the office" from 7am-4pm or 10am-6pm each day, consistent hours will help you remember to really step away when the work day is done.
2. Use Time Management Strategies
Use time management strategies to help manage your workload and avoid working too many hours. Time blocking, batch working, booking meetings only on certain days/times are all good ways to be more productive during your work day. No matter what strategy you use, adding structure to your day will help you be more productive and manage your work hours more effectively.
3. Take Regular Breaks
Take regular breaks throughout the day to recharge and refresh. Take a short walk on your lunch break, do stretches every hour on the hour, or meditate for just five minutes twice a day. These kinds of short breaks that get you moving and your let your mind rest can help relieve stress and improve focus.
4. Communicate with Employers
Communicate with your employer early and often about work routines and your needs and preferred working style. This can help prevent overwork and ensure that you're on the same page regarding work expectations. For example, you may ask that all emails written in the evening after work hours are scheduled to send at the start of the next work day. This way, even if you check your work email at night (which you should try not to do!) you won't be kept up by new mail delivering new tasks or stresses.
5. Create A Transition Routine
When the end of the work day comes and it's time to transition to being at home, mark the occasion with a short routine. This routine will take the place of the decompressing you used to do on your commute home and signals to your brain that it's time to switch gears. It doesn't have to be long, but it should be something you can commit to doing each day. Maybe you journal for five minutes, or close your eyes and listen to a particular song, or read a book just for fun for 15 minutes, or change into sweats and wash your face, and do some stretches for your back. Whatever it is, let that routine become a clear transition that you're off the clock!
6. Join a Coworking Space
Even with all of the above advice, creating a better work-life balance as a remote worker can be really difficult. Especially since other issues, like isolation and loneliness, often result from remote work as well. One of the best methods for setting clear boundaries and separating your home life from your work life, is to leave the house to go to work, even if it's only for a day or two each week. And while you're coworking, you get the added benefit of connecting with others in person throughout your work day. Plus, the change of scenery can help you avoid falling into a rut and instead will help boost motivation. It also allows you the flexibility to set your own schedule and builds in a natural transition routine as you commute home. And get this, a recent study reported 60% of people who cowork claim they are more relaxed when they get home!
If you live in the greater Plattsburgh area and remote work has become more of stress than a freedom, set up a tour of Lake City Coworking and see if coworking - whether for just one day a week or full time - is the solution you've been looking for. We have private meeting rooms for you to zoom into meetings and all of the amenities of a large office at your fingertips. And you'll really start to be able to separate work life from home life and bring that work-life balance into better focus.