At first blush, being able to work from home sounded kind of amazing, right?
No more rush-hour commutes. You can work in your home office, or on your coffee table, from your couch, on the deck – anywhere you have a wifi connection.
Your favorite snacks, coffee or other drinks are as close as your kitchen, and you picture yourself multitasking with ease, switching between home chores and work projects.
But the reality is a little messier for most of us. Work-life integration can be pretty blurry. And the longer you do it, especially if you have children or other adults at home, the more difficult it becomes. Trying to maintain the boundaries between your personal life and work can eventually cause burnout.
But there are ways to set limits so you can make workplace wellness a priority whether you are working from home or the office. Here are some simple tips to help you keep control of your own work-life integration.
Focus on the most important work
Working from home allows you to streamline your work day by omitting unimportant busy work. And though you likely miss seeing your coworkers for those quick chats by the coffee pot, they did take up part of your work day that you now have back.
Start by planning for 3 to 4 hours of uninterrupted, productive work during which you can devote your energy to top-priority issues. By ranking this work and diving in, you’ll finish your most important tasks first.
Not only will this bring a personal sense of accomplishment, it will show your managers you are able to get your work done successfully while working remotely.
Stick to a schedule
Creating a daily schedule might seem like the opposite of the relaxed-atmosphere perk you thought you’d get from working at home, but it’s actually a crucial step toward avoiding burnout.
If you don’t stick to a schedule, you risk letting your work day seep into your personal life. A schedule acts as a barrier to keep the two separate.
Start by creating a routine:
- A daily start time
- Specific work hours
- Time away for lunch and errands
- A daily end time
Don’t be tempted to leave work unfinished, thinking you’ll sit back down after dinner. This will make you feel like you’re working all day and could lead to burnout. It’s important to learn how to disconnect from your job once the work hours are over.
Have a transitional routine to signify to yourself that you are changing from work to downtime. This could include turning off your computer, cleaning up your workspace or changing your clothes.
Stay connected with your coworkers
Working remotely will show you pretty quickly how much you miss some of your office coworkers. Find ways to connect with them whenever possible. This can help you feel less lonely and maintain those personal relationships that can be so important to your career.
Don’t be afraid to talk to them about topics outside of work. Schedule a video chat during lunch to share stories about how everyone is dealing with a remote work schedule. Or there’s always the virtual happy hour, just make sure it focuses on fun and not work, otherwise it becomes just one more work meeting.
Take frequent breaks
This might take a little getting used to, but make sure to take short breaks in the morning and afternoon – in addition to lunchtime – when you are working remotely. You might be tempted to work through your breaks, but don’t. It’s important to take these mental escapes.
You can toss in a load of laundry, go for a quick walk, sit outside and catch up with your friends and family on the phone or a video call, or recreate your trip to the vending machine by heading to your kitchen for a quick bite.
Fresh fruit or nutrient-dense snacks like XS™ Energy Bars or Nutrilite™ Wellness Bars can give you the boost you need to get back to the grind. Build these breaks into your routine, but make sure you don’t get distracted and forget to get back to work.
Adjust your expectations
You might be used to pulling regular 8-hour days in the office and are surprised to find you are finishing your work a lot faster when you are working remotely.
Like we said, you may miss your chance chats with your coworkers, but they also ate into your work day. And people might be less likely to call all those meetings when everyone is working from home than when you’re all in one place.
Adjust your expectations and embrace the extra “me time” you’re gaining each day.
Recognize the signs of burnout
Working from home is a big change and some people handle it better than others. Keep an eye out for any of these warning signs that prolonged stress, isolation and being overworked are leading to burnout:
- Negative attitude toward your work and career
- Loss of motivation
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
The work-life balance of working from home can have a steep learning curve. With the help of a daily schedule and a firm barrier between your work and personal life, you can master it and avoid burnout.
Find what works for you and build your routine. To see more healthy living tips, check out other blogs at Amway Connections. And to learn more about products from XS or Nutrilite that might help you, visit amway.com or amway.ca.