Teleworking went on high gear in 2020 as many businesses were forced to make staff work from home due to shelter-in-place orders and travel restrictions. A year later, over half of employees want to retain the setup or at least keep the option of working remotely for 25 percent of the time.
But 40 percent of employees responding to a recent McKinsey survey said that they’re still awaiting their organization’s plans for their work setup post-pandemic. If their companies will require them to return onsite, 30 percent of respondents said they plan to change jobs.
What is the top challenge of remote workers?
Although a majority prefers remote working, the arrangement has its downsides. As many as 73 percent of Americans felt burned out working from home, according to a 2020 poll by TeamBlind.
What did they say was the main reason for the burnout? The answer of 26.7 percent of remote workers was “no separation between ‘work’ and ‘life’.” Meanwhile, almost 70 percent of such workers who answered a Robert Half survey said they worked during weekends, with nearly half working over eight hours daily.
Some tended to start early and work late amid fears that their superiors doubted their productivity. This can pressure employees to always be in the know and lead them to be overwhelmed by notifications from various communication tools.
How can remote workers regain work-life balance?
You can preserve healthy boundaries between your professional and personal life even while working at home by taking these steps:
- Have a dedicated workspace
It’s easier to shift from work to home mode when you can assign a specific room or area in your living unit to do everything that’s related to your business or job. You can also improve your focus and process information faster by tidying up your physical work area. Additionally, you can add plants or other objects that can inspire you.
Use separate computer devices for work and leisure if possible. Or don’t use your work laptop during your free time, so you won’t be tempted to view company correspondence when you’ve checked out of work.
2. Create a schedule
Free yourself from the stress caused by working during your waking hours by establishing the start and end of your workday. Include self-care rituals that can boost your energy before working and help you prepare for bedtime.
- Clarify your work hours with family members and home status with business colleagues
Inform members of your household about the hours when you can’t welcome interruptions and need total quiet. Inform your manager and co-workers about the hours you can and can’t work if you need to care for children, sick, or elderly relatives.
- Allot a window for checking and answering work messages
Instead of having to constantly check emails and social feeds from your office throughout the day, decide the hours when to view them. Or determine which of your essential channels should stay open, so you can reduce distractions.
- Practice the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is recommended for those who tend to procrastinate, multitask, and do open-ended work, such as writing, research, and studying. This process—which has apps available online—involves picking a task or set of short tasks to work on for 25 minutes. When the time is up, you rest for five minutes before working on the task again for another 25 minutes. When you’ve completed four pomodoros, take a longer break of fifteen to 30 minutes, then repeat the process.
This strategy helps develop accountability and concentration as you aim to make the most of each 25-minute work session. It can also teach you to break down a large task into more manageable steps.
Enjoy your break by taking a walk or bike ride for a breath of fresh air. You may also set a few minutes to chat about non-work stuff with colleagues and friends through your messaging tools.
3. Manage your digital tools
First, check all the apps on your mobile device, and delete those you don’t need. Then customize your notifications for the remaining apps. On your desktop PC, you can block all Chrome notifications to stop seeing pop-ups or ads. There are also app blocker tools, such as Serene, that allow you to schedule the time when the notifications can appear on your screen. Closing all unnecessary tabs is another way to strengthen focus.
4. Have after-work goals
Line up your activities after work, so you have a good reason to log off on time. They can include meal preparation, exercise, gardening or other hobbies, or meeting a friend online or face-to-face.
How can technology keep you productive?
Thanks to technology, it’s now possible to work where and how we want to. When you master your technology, you can maximize remote working in the following ways:
● Workflow automation software keeps work teams on track
Project management systems that are accessible to all team members and show individual tasks provide a sense of direction and purpose. This kind of transparency, when supported by communication channels, removes any confusion and bolsters mutual trust, so teams can meet their goals and deadlines.
● Schedule and calendar apps improve coordination and autonomy
Whether you spend most of your working hours finishing an individual task or working with clients and team members, team and personal apps are now available for various functions. This includes listing and tracking your to-dos, scheduling meetings, and sending shift change notifications.
● Wellness apps promote physical and mental health
Managers can block off times in their employees’ schedules for de-stressing. During these periods, workers can use apps for mindfulness and meditation, team chats, aerobic activities, or creative play.
Work-Life Balance Is Achievable
By setting boundaries around your physical workplaces, time, and technology use, the habits you develop will slowly create a work-life balance that will make every day more worthwhile. To sustain this balance, following work from home best practices is key. Remember to also communicate your goals and needs with others—the online tools and mobile apps you need are just within your reach.