How to Create a Healthy Work-Life Balance While Working Remotely
Especially since 2020, remote work has become a mainstream part of modern professional life. And even now that many employees are returning to the office, remote and hybrid work models are becoming more and more popular. Many people are keen on the flexibility and freedom that these models offer.
But this flexibility has a downside: it can be hard to unplug and take time for yourself. So before you burn out, we have some tips on how to maintain your work-life balance in this new era of remote work.
Establish a Morning Routine
Isn’t it great that you can skip the daily commute and reach your workplace almost instantly? It may mean that your urge to dive right into work in the morning is rather strong — after all, you want to make the most out of your day. Maybe you even feel some pressure to prove that you can be just as productive while working from home as you are at the office.
But there’s a flip side.
Diving straight into work can add to your stress. What can help is to give yourself a little extra time in the morning to wake up and do something just for yourself. This can be your daily cup of coffee, a morning yoga routine, or even a relaxing walk or quick run. Whatever your morning routine looks like, protect that precious time you have before your start your work day.
Set a Schedule & Stick to It (Wherever You Are)
When your workplace is always just a few steps away and you enjoy the flexibility to work wherever and whenever you want, it can be very tempting to do nothing else. Cutting your lunch break short, working late at night, and always being available can be one of the biggest problems for people who work remotely or in a hybrid work model.
Aside from making it difficult to unwind, this can create the impression that you’re always available to answer emails, take care of customer requests, or that you’re able to get back to your boss right away.
This is why sticking to your work schedule (even if you can work flexible hours) is important, no matter if you're working from home or from the office. Your schedule will not only keep you from burning out, it will also help you manage the expectations of your co-workers and supervisors.
Take Breaks and Don’t Forget to Eat
Maybe you just want to finish this one task, handle this one crisis, get this one meeting over with — and in between it all, you simply forget to eat until your growling stomach reminds you.
Without the structure of a typical office work day, it can be so easy to get wrapped up in your work. But skipping meals is not a healthy side-effect of the daily hustle. In fact, not eating enough during the day can lead to mood swings as well as lower productivity and concentration.
Maybe you think this doesn’t apply to you because you eat lunch at your desk or have some snacks throughout the day. But stepping away from your computer is essential when it comes to reducing stress. Try to plan small breaks into your schedule and, if possible, go outside every now and then to catch some fresh air.
Move Your Body
If you’re sitting at a desk for hours every day, chances are you can feel it in your back by now. An adjustable desk that allows you to work while standing can already do wonders. Still, you shouldn’t skip regular workouts.
Whether it’s a morning run, a yoga session during lunch, or even just a nice walk around your neighborhood, moving your body will leave you refreshed and energized. Plus, spending at least two hours a week in nature will do wonders for your mental health.
Stay in Touch with Your Co-Workers
Much of our everyday socializing happens at the office. Often it’s over a cup of coffee in the break room, during lunch breaks, or maybe occasional after-work drinks. As the working landscape has changed in recent years, this casual socializing has become much more difficult. Your working hours may not be the same as your colleagues’ — and meeting online just isn’t the same.
Especially if you live alone, you might feel a little lonelier than you used to. Now more than ever, it’s important to stay in touch with your co-workers, and not just in a professional setting. Put in some extra effort to make those lunch dates and after-work drinks happen. You can even discuss which days you want to meet to work at the office. With a little planning, you can fight that remote-work isolation!
Take Time Off & Cultivate Your Hobbies
Even if you’re a workaholic or have turned your passion into a career, taking some time off is important. Sometimes, you just end up in a slump and focus more on work than yourself. Maybe you used to exercise regularly, go rock-climbing, or met your friends for picnics at the park, but now you work through your lunch break … and watch your unused vacation days pile up.
Losing touch with your friends and the hobbies that allow you to unwind and take a break from the person you are at work can make you feel isolated and even cause depression. Even though you might find those long stretches of focused work productive and want to kick your career up a notch, don’t hesitate to take some time off. After all, what use is working when you can’t enjoy yourself as well?