Six Top Tips On How to Manage Work-Life Balance as a Remote Worker
Remote work among today’s professionals is on the rise. A recent ONS Labour Force Survey indicates that 1.54 million people in the UK now work from home, an increase of nearly 700,000 in a span of a decade. This arrangement provides more flexibility and freedom that being tied to an office simply doesn't. But it also means that there are no walls to separate work from home life — something that many people struggle with in modern professional settings.
Allocating time for work and for personal activities is certainly a challenge. But with discipline and a strong work ethic, it is not impossible. Read on for a few tips on how, as a remote worker, you can also achieve a work-life balance.
Designate a workspace at home
Even though you have the luxury of working at home, it’s still ideal to set up a formal workspace. It might be tempting to work in bed, but The HR Digest's report on the matter warns that doing so only hampers productivity. It tricks your brain into entering 'relax mode' when you should be switching to 'work mode'. It also messes with your internal body clock and can lead to sleep deprivation that can impact your productivity even more. Ideally, you must have a work desk where all your work-related materials, such as your laptop, are located.
Monitor your schedule
There are plenty of apps and programs that can help you keep track of what you actually do with your time. Hubstaff is an example of a time-tracking software that companies use to monitor their employees' work activities during work hours. Timely is a similar app that also features a calendar to help you keep track of your work tasks. It might also help to note down your specific 'time sucks,' or activities that are essentially a waste of your time, such as mindlessly browsing your social media feed. Awareness is the first step to adjusting your habits, especially ones that are impeding your productivity.
Take regular breaks
When creating a schedule, don’t forget to factor in regular breaks. Verizon Connect's guide to working smart states that the brain can concentrate without losing focus for up to 90 minutes, and it needs short intermittent rests to reboot. It's best if you can pencil these breaks in with your schedule so that you can stay more disciplined even without a supervisor.
Keep office hours according to your chronotype
The office hours you keep will ultimately depend on your chronotype. This is your internal circadian rhythm that doesn't only dictate when you sleep or wake up, but largely determines your cycle of productivity, too. The University of Birmingham's Dr. Elise Facer-Childs explains that people who have different internal schedules than normal struggle to do well when their work schedules do not match their body's rhythm. For example, morning larks function best before everyone wakes up, while night owls are better suited to working late at night. Determine what chronotype you are and adjust your 'office hours' accordingly to gain the best results.
Join networking groups or co-working spaces
Paul Kelly of Your Business Community previously shed light on the loneliness experienced by solo business owners. The same can be said for remote workers, so it's very important to find spaces where you can meet and socialise with other professionals. Co-working spaces, for instance, offer opportunities for networking and also set home-work boundaries. You can also try looking for online communities of remote workers, as they often share tips and stories on how to maintain a work-life balance.
Protect your personal time
Make sure that you actually allocate time to spend on non-work activities, like going to the gym, cooking, and meeting up with your family and friends. Set a hard limit for what time is the latest you will continue to work, or how many hours you're willing to accomplish your daily tasks. With discipline, finding personal time is actually more manageable with the more flexible hours that come with remote work.
Many thanks to Adrianna Kenyon for being this month's guest blogger and writing this informative piece. If you would like to contribute a blog please give us a shout. For more information on our remote working solutions for business please contact us.