If you thought achieving work life balance was impossible when you were working in an office, working from home makes it even more challenging. When your home is also your office, there’s no longer a clear distinction between the two. Many people feel like they’re always “on the clock” and more likely to put in unnecessary overtime simply because it’s convenient to do so.
What’s more, a recent report found that 73% of professionals are burned out,compared to 63% before the pandemic. Of those, 27% say their burnout is directly caused by the inability to separate their work and home lives.
Work has transitioned from something you go to to something you do. How do you recreate this distinction at home so that you can enjoy more time freedom and not feel pulled in two directions?
It starts with creating the right space that separates the two under the same roof. Let’s look at some practical, cost-effective ways you can achieve work life balance when both share the same environment.
1. Create a Designated Workspace
A recent McKinsey report found that 80% enjoy working from home, while 41% claim they’re more productive at home than they are in the office. Still, that doesn’t mean you should have to be chained to your job in a place that’s supposed to be conducive to relaxation and personal time.
One way to define the boundaries between work and home is to have a dedicated workspace that’s reserved just for work. When you’re working, this is the space you’re in. When you’re networking, stay as far away from your workspace as possible.
Ideally, this space will be a room with a door you can shut. This helps you tune out the rest of the house when you’re working, and keep work out of sight and mind when you’re not. If you don’t have the luxury of a separate room, a dedicated desk and chair can be an effective option.
2. Focus on Ambience
The way your home ofﬁce looks and functions can have a huge impact on your productivity and general sentiments toward working from home.
Choose a space that has plenty of natural light to keep you awake and focused during the day. Add comfort items like a soft rug or inspirational pieces like artwork to make your workspace somewhere you enjoy spending time in.
3. Stay Engaged During Working Hours
One of the most notable differences when you start working at home is the feelings of isolation and disconnect from coworkers.
Collaboration can easily take a backseat to your core tasks when working from home. Even though this gives you more time to focus, it also means missing out on opportunities to build trust and camaraderie, brainstorm new ideas, and feel like part of the team.
Most companies use tools like Slack to keep workers engaged remotely. If your company offers these tools, make sure you’re using them, too. They’re helpful for separating work from home life by adding the “people element” back into your work day.
4. Keep Work Materials in One Location
When your home is your ofﬁce, work can easily start sharing all the spaces you live in. Ideally, you will keep all of your work materials in your designated home ofﬁce. But if you don’t have the luxury of having a separate room with a door, it might be wise to invest in a ﬁle cabinet, shelving unit, or other solution that can house all of your work materials. This ensures your most important papers and projects are right where you need them instead of having to search the whole house when deadlines are approaching.
5. Pay Attention to How You Manage Your Time
One of the biggest pitfalls of working overtime at home is that we feel like we need to do more simply because we can. Maybe we didn’t accomplish as much in a day as we would have in the ofﬁce. Or maybe we want to get ahead on a project so we put in more hours.
Time management can play a critical role in overcoming this always-on syndrome. When you can stay productive during work hours, you won’t need to “stay late” to catch up or feel the urge to answer just one more email.
Take a few minutes each day to map out what you really need to accomplish. Then, work backward to ﬁgure out how much time to spend on each task. When you can get a full day’s work in, it’s easier to resist the urge to do more.
Get Support for Your Home Office
The sudden shift to working from home wasn’t an easy one for employees to navigate. It took a great deal of creativity and reinvention, not to mention the added costs of creating a home ofﬁce if you didn’t already have one.
At HiTouch Business Services, we remain committed to supporting work-from-home employees with all the furniture and tools you need to succeed. We believe the right home ofﬁce setup and best practices can help you avoid burnout and enjoy the experience. Explore our ofﬁce solutions and set up every workday for success.