If you’ve ever tried working from home while running the house, looking after the children, or feeding pets, you probably wanted to have multiple arms like an octopus.
Part of the answer lies in good organization and learning how to prioritize tasks. But even more importantly, or at least as important, is internal communication at work.
Sharing is caring so stick with us because we’ll share some tips on how to balance work and family life when you work from home. We’ll also show you some of the best internal communication examples to increase productivity and decrease the lack of motivation and morale.
How to Define Work-Life Balance When You Work From Home?
Defining ( and achieving) work-life balance seems to be much more challenging when working remotely. In general, we could define it as the ability to balance work so it doesn’t overtake your life. Moreover, it is also the ability to find ways to create a healthy balance between life and work.
The same definition applies if you work remotely, but the extra challenge in achieving work-life balance is that you have much more on your plate while you are working: chores, children, pets, etc. You might feel like a scale is tipping and not balanced. And you might feel like you’re on the verge of burn-out, with low energy and productivity.
This is how you end up in a vicious circle: the more you try to achieve something, the more you fail. You are aggravated and discontent but don’t know how to get out and change the situation to your advantage. You do know that you need to think less about work, to somehow separate your working space from the living one, you just don’t know how and where to start.
So, without further ado, we present 7 organisational tricks to help you draw the line between your work and life.
Stick to The Schedule
One of the first things that you need to do is to create a schedule of your daily tasks. And not only create but stick to it. You can’t expect to keep the same routine you had prior to working remotely. It just won’t fly. Having to attend to so many things ( quite often almost simultaneously) requires a new schedule in your routine.
How to create that new schedule? Start small and prioritize tasks and responsibilities. And we don’t mean just work-related tasks, but also family ones. Just as you have meetings at work, now it’s high time to have family meetings, too. For example, you can have family meetings on Sundays and go through the tasks for the next week.
Some people find it useful to make charts where each family member can see what their task is. Making sure that everybody sticks to their schedule is probably the biggest challenge, but over time, you and your family will get a hang of it. Do you know why? Because you’ll see that it actually gives you more quality time together.
Create Your Own Routine
One of the most common mistakes that people do is to immediately fetch their phones when they wake up. You might not fetch it for work, but you’ll see new emails, tasks popping up, etc.
You need to start your day with things that gradually take you to a busy day.
These activities differ from person to person, but let’s just suggest a few:
- Start your day with a nice cup of coffee, fresh, juice, or tea. Let your mind and body slowly wake up.
- Take a shower while listening to some nice music. Get the energy flowing.
- Go out for a short walk and just let your mind be.
- If you prefer to start your day in a slightly more active way, try some 15 -minute exercises.
In a nutshell, don’t immediately attend to emails and work. It can wait that extra half an hour. If applicable in your case, you can even have two phones, one for work and one for personal use. If you have two, then don’t ‘touch’ the work phone till you start working.
Separate Your “Office” Space and Living One
To stay more organized and focused, you should have your own office space. The home office space comes in many shapes and forms depending on your house/flat size.
It goes without saying that it would be optimal if you had a separate room that you could use as an office space. Make sure not to visit this room during the weekend. This will help a lot in making a mental distinction between workdays and weekends.
However, even if you don’t have a separate room, don’t use that as an excuse not to create a workspace. It could literally be one table where you’d put your laptop. If possible, you can have a foldable one that you can tuck away once the work is done.
Creating your own workspace will also help set the boundaries that your family members will learn not to cross. This of course takes some time, but with enough patience and sticking to the schedule you made earlier, it will be possible.
One last tip when we talk about creating a workspace: make sure to use ergonomic desks and chairs especially if you need to sit for many hours.
We’re slowly moving towards the work realm. It means it’s high time to see in which ways communication with your in-house team helps you be more productive and effective without compromising your family time. Enter internal communication.
Benefit From Internal Communication
Open and clear communication is one of the most important aspects of any business. The moment communication becomes poor, the whole team suffers and the organization suffers in return. Having good-quality communication is even a bigger must if teams work remotely. There must be no impediments to communication.
Luckily, in this digital world of ours, there are quite a few internal communication examples that you can apply to boost productivity and efficiency:
- Use communication and collaboration tools like Slack, Airtable, etc. This will help you feel more connected to the team. What’s more, since the conversation is happening in real-time, you can immediately tackle any problem that pops up.
- Take part in any off-work activities your organization hosts: virtual team buildings, game nights, trivia, quizzes, celebrating milestones, and special events. You should also have fun at your work and connect with your colleagues more informally. These events will make the whole team more relaxed, which will also make communication more open.
- Check your organization’s internal channel regularly: this will keep you up-to-date with all the latest news within the company, you will be able to easily see all the relevant documents and sheets, ask questions and get answers almost immediately. It is a great time saver.
No matter the type of internal communication, if done properly, the benefit is the same. Being able to freely talk about occurring problems and obstacles, and feel heard and appreciated are the main factors that contribute to a more stress-free work environment. Furthermore, feeling less stressed and tense will positively affect your productivity and morale.
Make Regular Breaks
When you work in an office, regular breaks, like coffee or lunch breaks are implied. However, when you work remotely, a (lunch) break is quite often skipped. You just get drawn to work, you postpone your break and somehow at the end of the day, the break doesn’t happen.
A lunch break is like a subtle line that divides your daily work into smaller portions. It represents a welcome break ( no pun intended) from work. It gives you time to restore your energy, take your mind off of work, and destress. Getting back to making a schedule, you can set a lunch break at a specific time. This way you will program yourself not to miss it.
But we aren’t only talking about lunch breaks. Any kind of break is a must. Optimally, you should get a 15-minute break every 1.15-1.5 hours. It is worth mentioning that you shouldn’t underestimate even shorter breaks. They help you reset, improve your focus and concentration and reduce stress in case you feel stuck.
Treat Yourself Kindly
One would expect that if somebody works from home, they would have more time for themselves. Sadly, it isn’t true. Most people who work remotely tend to neglect themselves. This is where a set routine jumps in. When you make your weekly schedule, make sure to include some “you” time.
Time for yourself that you’ll spend doing healthy and/or creative things, a time when you will meet friends, exercise, go to the spa, and do some family activities. “You” time doesn’t mean you have to spend it alone. It just means that you should do things that help you restore your balance and wind down. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s quality time.
And don’t be too harsh on yourself if you are struggling with all the tasks. You are human, after all. The weight of perfectionism is just that, the weight. It adds stress and strain to your body and overall well-being. Too much multitasking and stressing out deprive you of spending more time with your family and the people you love.
Prioritize Work-Life Balance
Balancing your work and life isn’t an easy task. It takes a lot of trial and error. Why? Well, it isn’t something that is set in stone. It is a process that needs to be adapted because it changes every once in a while.
Working remotely can definitely give you more time and freedom, but to do so you need to set the schedule, stick to it, prioritize tasks and make sure to take care of yourself. Your input of energy and time, shouldn’t come at a cost to your health and well-being.
Find what works best for you and keep your life and work in balance.