The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many of us work. For some, social distancing mandates offered a chance to try something they’d considered but never actually done: work from home. Others who prefer the office setting now find themselves adjusting to work in the home office or on the couch.
But while working from home has its freedoms — more flexibility with hours, the chance to be around your family, not having to dress up — it also has its challenges. The chief among them is that it’s a trial to keep up a work-life balance when you work in a personal space. How do you keep work from blending into your personal life, and vice versa? Here are a few of our tips:
Set Up a Home Office
Your bed and your couch are places where you relax. While it might sound comfortable to work on the bed or couch, ultimately that sense of coziness could keep you from getting much work done. If you can, set up a home office with plenty of lighting to help boost your productivity. If you don’t have the space for a home office — or the budget or motivation to remodel — at least work at a desk or table.
Have a Set Schedule
This may seem a little counter to the perceived benefits of working from home. After all, shouldn’t part of the point be that you have more freedom with your time than you had before? That may be true, depending on the job, in that you can set your own hours. However, it’s still a good idea to have set hours or you may find that the work day begins to cut into your personal time. You may find yourself answering work calls at game night or checking your emails in bed, which can feel exhausting in no time.
Instead, create a set schedule, and make sure your colleagues know when you’re available to work. Before or after those hours, you aren’t on the clock and set work aside.
Don’t Start the Day With Work
It can feel draining to go to bed only to get up the next morning and immediately start working. So give yourself time for a morning routine. Make yourself coffee. Read a chapter of your favorite book or scroll through social media. Do a workout routine or take a walk. Whatever helps to center you for the day, start with that. Then when you’re ready, start the work day.
Give Yourself Breaks
In the office, you still have an hour lunch break and two other breaks throughout the day. But at home, especially on a particularly busy day, it can be easy to work through lunch…or to put lunch off until this project is finished. Don’t neglect your self-care just because you’re working from home now. Make sure you give yourself a proper lunch time in which you’re not working, and take short breaks throughout the day in order to stay energized.
Chat With Coworkers
Many of us are struggling without the regular socialization that we had before the days of social distancing. But keep in mind that this should truly be less social distancing and more physical distancing. You still have resources like Zoom and Slack that allow you to communicate with others. Take ten minute breaks every now and then where you can chat with your colleagues, whether about the work day or each other’s lives. This will give you back some of that community feeling.
Stay Off Social Media
It’s tempting, once working from home, to browse social media. It’s tempting to do that even when we work in an office, which is why so many offices block it. But try not to give into that temptation when you’re at home. Not only is social media a distracting timesuck, but it can bring you down with frightening news headlines or arguments. Instead, try to keep away from social media until you’ve closed out work for the day and have time to decompress.
Bottom Line Consulting understands the challenges of running a small business, especially in these unusual times when you find yourself running that business remotely. It could change the way you interact with your customers or the way you receive payments. But we’re here to help with bookkeeping and accounting services, as well as start-up and management consulting. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to set up an appointment.