11 tips to work from home and keep your work-life balanceJanuary 6, 2021
While COVID-19 continues, it’s clear working from home is here to stay as a workforce staple in 2021 and beyond. That said, while it is for others, working from home is nothing new to me. I’ve worked from home for the last two years, so I’m familiar with the advantages and disadvantages that come along with this work environment. What I wasn’t prepared for were my two newest coworkers: My husband and one-year-old son.
Advantages to working from home
Before I share what is working for me and how I’m able to balance my job and family responsibilities, I wanted to take a second to recognize the advantages of working from home -- because most articles I read before deciding on what to write are only sharing the negative or stressing the situation:
Eliminates the commute
I live 45 minutes away from Downtown Atlanta (without traffic), by staying at home I gain at least two hours back in my day.
If you need to make lunch for the kids or put the baby to nap, you have the flexibility to do so, without having to sacrifice your paycheck. You don’t have a set 9-5 day, working remotely allows you to make up those hours later, AT YOUR HOUSE!! You don’t have to go back to an office to finish what you were doing.
No dress codes
This means you can stay comfortable! Even though I will always encourage you to get dressed for your day, working from home takes away the pressure of what to wear. Having experience from working both in-office and virtually, I recognize that when I used to work at the office, I would put more effort into my outfits and worry about what people might think, while when working from home I can use my gym clothes and alleviate the pressure and be less uptight about my appearance (even better, you can keep your video off if you don’t want to be seen that day.)
Change of scenery at-will
In most cases, the only way to get a corner office with windows is to get promoted and take on a leadership role. However, I know most of the time I like to work in my customized office, but from time to time I like to change my office setup or to work in my backyard. I also have coworkers who like to work in their balconies, kitchen and the ones who have older kids are taking this time to work in the family room while their kids are doing online schooling next to them.
Safety for everyone
You can’t put a price tag on the safety of you, your family and loved ones.
11 Ways to keep a work/life balance while working from home
I’m grateful to work for a company that believes in working from home with infrastructure available for me to do my job effectively. But whether you are working from home due to COVID-19 or because you were offered a virtual opportunity like mine, the following tips should help you keep the balance between family and work. Please, take under consideration some of these tips may work for you and some not. Keep in mind working from home with family around is a different dynamic and sometimes you may need to improvise.
1: Create a workspace
You need to find a comfortable area that encourages you to be productive. Try to avoid facing distractions, like the fridge, the soft comfortable couch or the laundry room.
2: Talk to your family
Have a conversation with your partner, parents, roommates or your kids to explain what you are doing and why it is important for them to respect your space whenever you are using your computer (this is especially when you are on the phone). In my case, my toddler is unable to comprehend the situation, so I rely on my husband and mom to help me, which leads me to my next point.
3: It’s okay to ask for help
If you have one person in your family available to help you, take it! We all wish we could do everything ourselves, but sometimes things are easier when you have someone you can rely on.
4: Get dressed!
You can stay comfortable but getting dressed will help you start your day. It takes your mindset off just being at home and pushes you to turn on that computer.
5: Create a schedule, block your time and plan
My husband is aware of every team meeting and client meeting in my calendar. Now that he’s also required to work from home, he makes sure to plan his conferences and team meetings around mine if possible.
6: Create a balance
This comes along with creating a schedule and talking to your family. If you have kids or if you live in a small place, creating a balance means juggling between your time and your partner/roommate’s time. Help each other.
7: For parents -- stock up on supplies for activities
Since our son is a toddler, we’ve armed ourselves with toxic-free markers, paint, paper and other supplies so we are ready with activities to help limit screen time and maintain his regular day-to-day routine, as if he was still going to daycare.
8: Take breaks
Take time to make yourself your coffee or tea and walk around for five minutes. Remind yourself to stand up; this keeps your circulation flowing. Mental breaks are very important especially now, and take those breaks seriously.
9: Meal/snack prep
Yes, just like if you were still going to the office. This will keep you away from the pantry and it will save you time during lunch, especially if you have kids.
10: Communicate with your team
When people start working from home what they usually miss the most is social interaction. If you have a good communication platform, my advice is: use it! At my company we host virtual baby showers, happy hours, virtual yoga and, of course, our regular catch-up meetings. Make sure you check in with your co-workers. They probably miss the connection as much as you do!
11: Turn it off after the day is over
This is the biggest temptation when you are committed to your job but set yourself a time to turn everything off and decompress.
Working from home shouldn’t be something negative; it’s an opportunity to keep producing without the cubicle.
Gaby Lanaro is a talent acquisition specialist with a millennial mentality.