Tips For Maintaining Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a proper work-life balance can be a struggle, and with the ability to work from home becoming more common, the lines between work and home have blurred more than ever before. Bedrooms, living rooms, and spare bedrooms have transformed into work spaces. Temporary offices have become permanent shared office spaces. Daily commuting to-and-from work that would traditionally serve as a mental transition period between work and home are gone, and with it, for some, the mental off-switch that would result from a drive home listening to the radio or favorite podcast.

Why does it matter? According to Mental Health America, an improper work-life balance can lead to increased stress levels, a decrease in productivity, or even impact your physical health, potentially weakening your immune system or exasperating symptoms of some medical conditions. While there’s no perfect answer for everyone in combatting the added stress and “always-on” mentality that often accompanies working from home, there are many small adjustments you can make that could help.

    • Alarms. Set alarms for when it’s time to log in and start work and when it’s time to call it quits for the day. Don’t be afraid to set alarms for your breaks or lunch either. Without a typical workday structure, it’s easy to lose track of time and realize you haven’t had a break or even worked a longer-than-normal day. Over time, that could take a toll.
    • Breaks. Don’t be afraid to take breaks. Take 5-10 minutes to stretch, freshen up your coffee, or get some fresh air on the back patio. If you have other family members working or attending school from home, perhaps you can coordinate breaks to happen at the same time. It’s likely that a typical day in the office would have involved some small breaks from work, whether it’s a quick chat with coworkers or a walk to the coffee shop. Maintain those short breathers!
    • Put away your work stuff! If you work from a laptop, fold it and put it away when you’re done. Work papers? Gather them and put them in a desk drawer - especially if your workspace is in your bedroom, dining room, or any other room that you share your workspace with. Not thinking about work is much more difficult if you spend evenings and mornings staring at your work things!
    • Unplug. Working from home may mean more computer time than most are used to in a typical workday. To compensate, consider reducing how much you stare at a screen outside of work, including your lunch breaks. Reading more, going on walks, or an extra round of fetch with Fido might help decompress.
    • Set expectations with those living with you. Share your schedule so that if you have an important meeting to attend or a fast-approaching deadline, those living with you will be sure to respect additional privacy during this time and not disturb you.
    • Talk to your friends, neighbors, or coworkers! For many, working from home can mean being a lot more isolated than what they’re used to. Take some time to reach out and chat with friends and coworkers. Working from home doesn’t have to mean not being social!

These are just a few things you can do to help combat stress and achieve a better work-life balance. While these may work better for some more than others, the important thing is to find what works best for you by trying to incorporate any or all of these into your daily routine while working from home.

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