Ah, the life of a remote employee. No commute, no suits and no distracting coworkers. But working from home does bring its own set of hurdles. Keep reading these work-life balance tips to prevent problems that will keep you from being productive no matter where you work.
1. Location, location, location
For most people, identifying a dedicated office space is key. Caveat: Some people can be productive anywhere, on the couch, in front of the TV or at the kitchen table. If this is you, congrats. You can skip this one.
Having a work-only space will help you create boundaries and focus when it’s time to get down to business. It’s also important organizationally — you don’t want to have to scour your whole house for meeting notes or business receipts.
When it comes to outfitting your office space, whether it’s a nook in your living area or a whole room, think about what will work best for you. Do you ache after sitting all day? Get a stand-up desk. Do you dread walking into a stark white room? Paint the walls a rich, inviting color. Put art you love to look at on the walls, and add a few plants to liven things up. Light a candle and play your favorite album if that helps you get in the zone. (A no-coworkers perk.) Read more about creating your perfect workspace.
2. Dress for success
Working in your pajamas is cozy, but it may not help you be your most productive self. You don’t need to go all out, but a little time grooming will help you feel ready to take on the day. Brush your hair (and your teeth!) and put on real clothes. Skip the suit and go for something comfortable — that is a work-from-home plus, after all — but not so relaxed you couldn’t leave the house.
3. Get out
If you tend to feel cooped up working in the house all day, scout out your local coffee shops. Look for a spot quiet enough to think with reliable internet, accessible outlets and comfortable seating. Find one that checks all the boxes and consider working there a day or two a week. And be kind! Don’t loiter all day on one cup of coffee. Buy something every couple hours, leave the baristas a tip and avoid loud phone calls.
Does your city have a coworking space? Find out why how that will help you work smarter.
4. Establish hours
If your hours are flexible, it can be tough to nail down a routine. Without a set time to start and end your workday, it’s easy to work too little or too much. Both will bring unnecessary stress to your day. One of the more important work-life balance tip is to set yourself up for success with a schedule. You don’t need to plan down to the minute, but create a general timeline for how you want to structure your day. This will require some up-front willpower until you settle into a routine.
5. Give yourself a break
Your schedule should also include some break time. Think about it this way: If you worked out of an office, you’d get up to talk to your coworkers, move around for meetings, take a lunch break and get coffee in the breakroom. At home, you don’t have many of those (sometimes welcome) distractions. To ensure you aren’t glued to your seat all day, schedule in times to get out for a bit.
Take care of an errand or appointment, or head out for a walk around the block to give your brain a break. Leave your desk to eat lunch and spend some time away from your screen. Even a few minutes of reading will give your brain a break. Check out these books for small business owners.