A Remote Worker’s Guide to Balancing Home and Work

African American Woman Working From Home

The world has changed, and “normal” has left the building. That is an undisputed reality for every household, business, and employee across the landscape of humanity trying to find balance.

According to Gallup Panel data, as of mid-April the remote worker population had leveled off at 62%. 

Balancing our homes and careers pre-pandemic was already a challenge, now it is almost indescribable. Work-life balance can be a challenge for any employee, especially when you live and work in the same space. How do you allocate your time between personal and professional responsibilities? How can you focus on conference calls when you’re surrounded by dirty laundry?

Setting priorities and reducing distractions is key, whether you are new to remote working or you moved out of your cubicle years ago. These tips for staying peaceful and productive when you work from home when implemented with intentions sets the tone for successful days.

Steps to Take by Yourself:

1. Follow a schedule.

Set a start and end time for your day. Tackle your most challenging tasks during the hours when you’re at your peak. When it’s time to quit for the day, leave your job behind.

2. Design an office.

Designate a separate space for business. It could be a whole room or a corner in your dining room. Decorate your space with pictures, art, and objects that you find inspirational and uplifting.

Smiling female entrepreneur working online in her home office

3. Change clothes.

You may not want to wear a suit and tie, but changing your pajamas will help you feel more professional. Hang up your bathrobe and get dressed each morning.

4. Limit distractions.

Do you waste time watching TV or checking social media? Ban leisure activities during business hours except during break times.

5. Take breaks.

Speaking of breaks, take them. You’ll be more productive if you refresh your mind and body periodically.

6. Get organized.

Create routines and systems that encourage efficiency. Buy a cabinet for your office supplies. Use an online calendar to block out your time.

Steps to Take with Your Family, Friends, and Colleagues:

1. Talk with your boss.

It will be easier to balance your life when you and your boss agree on overall expectations. Negotiate the flexibility you need to succeed.

2. Post your hours.

Ensure your boss and coworkers know the hours that you’re available. Discuss arrangements for how to deal with emergencies that occur outside of those times.

3. Setup a virtual lunch.

Your midday meal is a daily opportunity to stay connected while you work at home. Plan a weekly virtual catch up with your office friends or other employees who work from home.

4. Remain visible.

Show up at the office (virtually) regularly for staff meetings, and other gatherings. Discover ways to participate with local professional associations.

Image of cheerful african american woman in eyeglasses using laptop

5. Pull together.

A strong support network helps you to build your confidence and accomplish more. Ask your family and friends for the emotional and practical assistance you need. Show your appreciation and pitch in when they need a hand too.

You don’t have to give up life balance when you give up your commute. Enjoy more health and happiness by drawing sensible boundaries between your personal and professional activities.

Delmar Johnson

Delmar is the Founder of HR Brain for Hire™, a boutique HR and People Relations Firm helping startup entrepreneurs transition to CEO leaders through people, processes, and systems development.

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