Is your biggest challenge with working from home that you are working too much?
There is a lot of discussion about how much people are enjoying working from home and how this could become the new norm for many businesses. As always with a change and transition we need to adapt to new challenges, such as our personal and work life being under the same roof.
Now more than ever, the concept of ‘work-life balance’ is blurry…
In the past most managers wouldn’t approve of a working from home situation in the fear employees will slack off without the office environment and in person oversight. But, in fact, we are seeing the opposite; remote workers are working more hours than ever and finding it hard to unplug.
I personally transitioned to full time working from home when I leapt into the entrepreneurial world around 3 years ago. I must admit I was so excited about the freedom, the opportunities and being able to schedule my day as I see fit. But as some of you are experiencing first hand, it has it’s challenges… and in hindsight, the first 6 – 12 months was just a learning experience for me…
Here are some tips to help you find your balance while our work and life is under the same roof:
1) What does your ideal work-life balance look like…
Monday late start, Friday half day? Understanding what you want and why you want to create more space for you to do the things you love and how it would benefit your health.
2) You do get to structure your own day, but not just work priorities…
Working from home means we don’t have people and routines around us to give structure to our day, cues to leaving the office at 5pm with everyone else or taking a lunch break. You will now need to think about scheduling when work finishes, when you clock off and disconnect, the hours to exercise, the hours you are going to be social or the hours for family time and the list goes on. In order to get the balance you need to make sure you are getting a little bit of everything into your week when and where you can.
3) Work smart…
However you find best to plan out your work day, do it – this time really ask yourself, “Is this necessary and/or is there a better way to do this?” As Tim Ferris says, ‘Focus on being productive instead of busy.’
4) Ask for help and delegate
You cannot do it all, no matter how much you want to. If you have a team, it is time to ask for help and delegate so that you can be supported and get through this period together. Or if you are a 1-person team, time to outsource, hire a freelancer, ask friends or family to help (or lower your expectation) – look at all the possibilities.
5) Work hard, play hard!
Weekends are a great chance for you to reset and create space between you and your work and reconnect personally with people and/or the environment around you. You will see when you create space from anything in life (work is the same) you give yourself a chance to miss work and see the thought of plans on the weekend will help keep you motivated too.
*You know that feeling when you go away for a weekend or on a holiday, you can get a mini dose of this every week!*
Have someone in your team or personal support system (even better if you live with them) help you be accountable for your work-life balance and structure. If you have said you want to be finished working by 6pm, tell them! If you want to make sure you eat lunch and take a break each day, tell them!
Now you are ready to take step 7
7) Making it official
For those who work for someone else it is important to share how you would like to structure your week with your employer. Implement boundaries and explain why it is important to you and what it will help you achieve. Be specific with your request, ‘I will not be contactable from 6pm every evening and on weekends’ – make it clear and discuss how they can help. And if you are your own boss, be the boss you have always dreamed of and cut yourself some slack 😉
You do not know until you ask or give yourself a trial period – life is about learning what we need and want and adjust along the way. Work is a large part of our life so make sure it works for you.