Working From Home and Your Work/Life Balance: How to Make the Most of It
Working at home offers significant benefits to both the employer and the employee. From reducing office overhead to the flexibility it offers, more and more people are turning to work from home positions.
With more than 30 million Americans currently working from home, according to the Telecommuting Forecast by Forrester Research, it is becoming a more commonplace and a sought after position. The same study predicted that telecommuting employees will raise to 63 million in 2017 – a whopping 43 percent of the U.S. workforce.
It has been proven that people that work from home are actually more productive. They work longer hours and are connected day and night. While telecommuting employees such as freelancers and contractors enjoy the flexibility a work from home position offers, employers are benefiting too as their workers have a higher job satisfaction and perform better.
Developing A Work-Life Balance from Home
While there certainly are benefits to working from home (including spending more time with your family, no commute and flexible hours), it can be a challenge to develop a work-life balance that works for you. But, there are things that you can do to separate your home life from your working hours.
Here are some tips for building a balance between working at home and having a social life:
Dedicate A Room For Your Office
It can be tempting to set up your office on the couch in front of your television, but this can be detrimental to your mental wellbeing, as you’ll never turn work off completely. You constantly will associate this space as a workspace and continue to work all hours of the day.
The best advice is to set up a separate room that is your dedicated office space. This should be the only place that you work and should be set up to function as if you were working in employer’s physical office. Creating a separate office within your home will help you be able to turn work off during non-working hours.
When you are in the office you will work, and when you leave that room, you will leave work behind. This will give you the freedom to separate you home life from your work life, creating more balance in your life.
Develop A Working Schedule
Another way to create a solid work-life balance is by setting up a schedule for your working hours. Working at home makes it easy to be available at all hours of the day and night. You may be seduced into to checking emails at odd hours or finishing up a project when the mood strikes Don’t! Set boundaries with strict working hours that you are available.
By setting your working hours, you will be able to turn off thinking about work when you should be enjoying your family and friends. This will help your mental health as you won’t be connected all day and night, consumed with thinking about work and your next project.
Taking breaks throughout the day can be a beneficial way to give your mind some mental TLC. Get up and stretch every chance you get, as this will give your mind and body time to reset. Just like if you were working in a corporate environment, you need to take breaks from the work you are doing. This can be a chance to get some fresh air by going outside, or taking a walk around your neighborhood.
Stock your home with some healthy snacks that you can have throughout the day. Use this as an opportunity to get away from your desk and to refresh your mind. This will do wonders for your mental health, as your mind needs time to rest from the work you are doing. Just don’t go overboard by filling up on junk food. Refuel your body with nutritious food that is good for you and will give you energy.
Get Out Of The Office
Along with taking breaks, you will want to set time to get out of the office. Set lunch dates with friends as a way to socialize throughout the day. Working from home does limit your social interactions, which you need to seek ways to replace. Lunch or a coffee date with friends or other colleagues can give you the opportunity to talk to someone other than your computer and give you a mental break that your body deserves.
While it might be impossible to have a lunch date every day, still take advantage of getting out the office at different points throughout the day. Eat your lunch in another room or outside on a nice day. Run errands to break up your day and get you some interaction with people outside of your email. This can help strike a healthy balance between your work and your social life.
Don’t get caught in the trap of alienating yourself from the outside world by focusing on work all of the time. Be social and get active! Make plans to go out with friends when you are not working. Take time for your family and be present when you are with them.
Join a gym as a way to get more energy and take care of yourself. This is a great opportunity to meet some new friends and it will help you reduce work stress. Make a plan to go as often as you can and get your friend to meet you there to work out together.
You can become more social by getting involved with your community. Join local associations in your area. You will be able to give back to your community as well as meet new people that most likely have the same interests as you. Make a point of being social on daily basis.
Creating a life-work balance may take some time to integrate into your life, but once you do it will give you freedom to focus on your friends and family when you are with them and not on work all of the time.