8 tips to maintain a work-life balance during remote work

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8 tips to maintain a work-life balance during remote work

In recent months, many people have found out that remote work requires self-discipline to balance private and professional life. How to do it?

In recent months, many of us have had to adapt to the new situation and mandatory remote working style. Until now, this model of cooperation has been synonymous with freedom, travel, and the ability to perform professional responsibilities from any place on earth. 

Today we know that remote work is a serious challenge, requiring a lot of self-discipline to balance private and professional life. But how to achieve this balance? In this blog post, you will find 8 valuable tips to maintain work-life balance even if you work from home!

1. Set your working hours

Even if your employer gives you a lot of flexibility and allows you to work any time you choose, set yourself regular working hours, which you will stick to. Don't put tasks off until the last minute and try to start work at the same time as if you were coming to the office. Avoid working at night, as it will have the opposite effect to the expected. Moreover, the research conducted by scientists from the University of Swansea and other well-known European universities shows that working at night over-early ages the brain.

2. Prepare your workplace

Apart from separating time between work and free time, it is also worth partitioning the space in which you perform particular activities. Try not to work from a bed or sofa, because these places are mainly associated with relaxation, so you may lose motivation. Find your place to work (ideally, one that your family will not come into too often) and spend the scheduled time there. It's not a big change, but it will make you more efficient and less exposed to distractions.

Tip: Did you know that office workers spend an average of 50 minutes a day searching for important documents or other necessary items (link)? To avoid a similar situation when working from home, try to keep all the things you need in one easily accessible place, preferably near the desk you work at. It allows you to save up to four hours a week!

3. Don't work overtime

When you work from the office and don't have time to complete an assignment, after 8 hours in the workplace, you pack up and go home.  While working remotely, you sometimes feel that if you don't do something, your supervisors may think that you haven't been working that day properly. As a result, you lose track of time and work much longer than you should. Moreover, sometimes you even decide to do your job on weekends.

Have you ever wondered how much time during the whole life an average person spends at work? The latest data show that it is about 90,000 hours! What's more, as many as 60% declare that they check their business mailboxes even during the Christmas holidays. Doing unnecessary overtime and lacking a clear separation between time to work and family life is not good for you and your family members. 

4. Explain to your family and friends that remote work is also work

Remote work, especially if you have small children at home, can be a real challenge. Therefore, it is crucial to make your children aware that you are busy at specific times and can't spend time together for games or other activities. If the rest of the household doesn’t know the remote working model, you also have to explain to them that when you work from home, you shouldn't do laundry, cook, go shopping, and do any other things which are not related with your job. 

From the very beginning, try to set clear boundaries between your free and work time and stick to it consistently. Otherwise, you may lose much more time than you think! Scientists from the University of California have conducted an interesting study, which shows that after every unscheduled break, we need as much as 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back into the previously started task. As you can see, any unconsidered interruptions have a significant impact on your work efficiency.

5. Don't forget to take breaks

Just like when working in the office, you have the full right to take breaks, for example, for lunch or coffee. Don't be afraid that one of your co-workers will send you a message that you won't reply to immediately. Short breaks (of course not too frequent) are something that you can use without feeling guilty.

According to Tork research, almost 90% of employees say that taking a lunch break helps them restart and recharge allowing them to get back to work. Even a short rest can have a positive effect on our productivity and willingness to do our job.

6. Avoid distractions

Did you know that an average employee is interrupted 56 times a day? And if we work from home, that number can be even higher. These may be too loud housemates or neighbours, but also our inner temptation to take a short break to watch a TV show and scroll through social media or websites with memes. 

If, despite the long time spent in front of your computer, you feel you're not spending it fully effective, it's worth using a tool to monitor your online activity. One of them is ClockTrace – WEBSENSA's free application based on artificial intelligence, which tracks your activity in the documents, programs, and websites you visit. Then, it groups them into separate projects and tasks. It automatically generates a schedule that provides you with all the important information about how much time you spend on each task. These data helps you manage your time better and realise what you can improve to make your work more effective.

7. Find time for your family, friends, and hobbies

As they say, "all work and no play make Jack a dull boy." Primarily if you work remotely, it is important not just to stay at home but also to go out with friends from time to time or find a hobby. This way, you will charge your batteries and gain positive energy, which will make you work more efficiently.

8. Use tools that make remote working easier

Remote work is becoming more and more popular, so there are many tools on the market dedicated to people who have chosen this model of cooperation. Among the available solutions, you will find applications for effective time management (such as the ClockTrace mentioned above), videoconferencing, team communication, and even for a virtual coffee meeting with people who also work away from the office.

And how do YOU maintain a work-life balance while working from home? If you have any proven tips that are not on our list, please let us know in the comments on Facebook or Linkedin!

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