Working from home has been a new experience for many of us and one we have been forced to adjust to over the last 12 months. Some have enjoyed the extra time it has given them at home with their families, while others find it more productive to work in an office setting away from potential distractions at home.
Another area that some people have been struggling with when working at home is creating the right work-life balance. It can be challenging to switch off from work when you don’t have the routine of leaving work and travelling home to help you stop thinking about what you’ve done during the day and what you have to work on tomorrow.
Below are some tips to help create a better work-life balance while running a business from home.
Think about a schedule
Just as when working in an office, planning out your day can be really helpful in getting in and out of your work mindset. As mentioned, it’s easy to become distracted when working at home, particularly when you have young children. Samantha Mccarthy, cofounder and director of Joyto, explained that she sets a “schedule for work and family life, but sometimes it has to be flexible and depends on my baby’s daytime schedule. This schedule works well most of the time.” The key point here is that schedules will allow you to differentiate between work time and family time. Yes, working from home with young children will sometimes be disrupted to focus on their needs and therefore being flexible is essential, but having a defined end of work time is crucial.
Have a designated workspace
One of the significant challenges with working from home is that the boundaries between your work and your home are blurred. Setting up a designated workspace, such as a home office, can allow you to create some form of disconnection between work and home life. Having this distinction between work areas and personal space is really important and is why you should never work from your bed if possible. Some areas of your home must be kept separate from work to help you relax.
Help your family understand your work
Discussing work after you have finished for the day can be the last thing some of us want to do. But discussing your work with your family can help them understand what you’re going through or why you may be stressed. If you have young children, this is particularly important. Samantha Mccarthy also told us that when working from home, it’s vital that you “don’t vent bad emotions from work on your children, keep them separate.” Having someone you can talk to about work-related issues can help you maintain a better atmosphere at home, especially with your children.
Get out of the house when you can
Running a business from home can often result in hours behind a computer screen or on the phone. As we still find ourselves dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of activities you can do outside is somewhat limited but getting some time outside the house each day is so important for several reasons. Any business owner will tell you that running a business is stressful but spending just half an hour outside each day can help relieve stress and improve your mental and physical health. Stepping away from your desk for a walk at a set time each day can help develop good habits, which will enhance productivity, and it also gives you a chance to pause and reflect on your work or think about something else for a bit. If you chose to take a walk at the end of each workday, it can be something to look forward to and help mark your work’s end and help you switch off from and focus on leisure or family time.
Accept it’s never going to be perfect but can always be better
We are all striving for a better work-life balance, regardless of whether we are working from home or not. The important thing to remember is that while it’s never going to be perfect, and there will always be compromises you’ll have to make, your balance can always be better. If you find an area that needs to be improved, look into ways you can do that. This could be changing the way you work or moving responsibilities to other people within your business. By continually evaluating your work-life balance, you can continue to find areas where you can improve to keep making steps in the right direction.
Hopefully, the points above can help improve your work-life balance, and during this challenging period we are going through, make your work life a little easier to manage each day.