How to Achieve Work Life Balance Without a Home Office
Remote working has become the ‘new normal’ for many people. The pandemic has forced many employers to change how their business operates and employees have had to adapt accordingly. However, with many people being told to work from home with little notice it has been challenging.
Whilst some employees managed to seamlessly adjust to working from home many have struggled. Having a home office, or a spare bedroom, has been a blessing for those fortunate enough to have extra space. In contrast, employees living in smaller homes have resorted to working on dining tables, breakfast bars, and random nooks in their properties.
If you’re one of the many who haven’t got a dedicated workspace in your home and haven’t been able to return to the office, this article is for you. Below we discuss how you can continue to work from home and maintain efficiency and personal productivity despite limitations.
1. Put family rules in place
If you live alone you may only need to worry about noisy neighbours – a set of quality headphones will help in this scenario. Those who have families or live with friends can struggle to focus without a home office. Whilst it is difficult to put structure in place as your household need to live their lives too express to them your need for a distraction-free work environment. If your dining room is rarely used, perhaps this could be a safe space for you to work? Perhaps say that the bedroom is out of bounds during your working hours? Make it known that you need quiet so that you can work effectively.
2. Limit distractions
Similarly, exercising the same rules over your own focus is important too. Flexibility is a luxury when working from home. But it is all to easy to become distracted by your smartphone, the laundry that needs doing, or the list of errands that require completing. Try to remind yourself that you are on your company’s time and that work should be your sole focus. Granted, you can always tweak your workday to suit your requirements and a conversation with your employer will iron out any issues you have. Businesses understand how taxing working from home can be, chances are, your boss feels exactly the same and will empathise with you and provide a solution.
3. Don’t answer emails in bed
We are all guilty of this on cold and dreary mornings when our motivation is low. Whilst WFH has been a common abbreviation of ‘work from home’, WFB has been coined to target all those remote workers hunkering down in their beds.
Many people are guilty of working in bed. However, it has some serious downsides:
- Your productivity can decline
- You could fall asleep
- You might cause back issues
- Your morale and energy can crash
Working from your bed might seem like a luxury but it’s bad for your body and mind. It’s difficult when you don’t have a dedicated working space – there’s no place to ‘commute’ to. Even if you work from your bedroom always do your best to get up, enjoy a healthy breakfast, and sit down at a desk to begin your day.
4. Separate work from life
One of the hardest things to do is put a boundary between work and life without a home office. There is no door to close at the end of a working day. Many people struggle not to check emails in the evening, or quickly finish a piece of work. There’s even some amongst us who hop onto their laptops at weekends!
Doing this can result in burnout and you can quickly start to resent your job. Your bosses won’t give you a pat on the back for working out of hours so why put yourself through it? If you don’t have a dedicated office space, make sure you stick to your normal working hours. At the end of the day turn your work devices off and, if possible, store them away safely. Make your work gear inaccessible so that you have a clear boundary in place to differentiate work and personal time.
5. Ask for support
Change can be hard and even the best laid plans to make a dedicated workspace and look after yourself are not enough. Having anxiety or feeling nervous about remote working without an office or even a desk can really bring your mood down. Touch base with colleagues you trust and express to them that home based work is extremely stressful for you. Chances are some of them will feel the same and they may be able to share tips and tricks to make the process easier. You can also open with your household. After all, they will want the happiest and healthiest you present. Conversations may lead to changes in your day, such as your family dedicating the lounge to you and building a desk to enable you to work effectively. Many employers are also opening their offices to staff that cannot work well at home, with all the correct coronavirus measures in place.
Achieving a work life balance, particularly if remote working is not something you’ve experienced before, can feel like a minefield of challenges. Not having a dedicated home office does not mean you are at a disadvantage as there are different ways to ensure your achieve work life balance.