While no one could have foreseen the events that have led us all to be working from home these last few months, working remotely isn’t a new trend.
Before COVID-19, around 15% of Americans were already working from home. Recent studies reveal 88% of the organizations, worldwide, made it mandatory or encouraged their employees to work from home after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.
These are big changes, and they’ve been affecting us in big ways. According to results from our recent nationwide survey, 61% of Americans are sleeping worse after shifting to work from home.
These changes have resulted in many people struggling to find the right balance between creating a home environment that is both comfortable and supportive.
Here are 6 top tips for creating a work-life balance that’s going to leave you feeling productive while still keeping your well-being intact.
One of the most challenging aspects of working remotely is having a sense of control over your personal schedule. You might be asked a work request late into the evening, and be tempted to check your email and get things done at that very moment - in fact, results from the Puffy Sleep Survey 2020 revealed adults are getting almost one hour less sleep on average post-pandemic.
An easy way to ensure you’re achieving a healthy work-life balance is by setting yourself a schedule you stick to when it comes to checking emails, and attending to work-related matters.
Make sure you have a solid clock-in and clock-out time so that you’re able to separate your work and your personal life easily. This will make sure you’re not overworking yourself, and allow you to have a proper chunk of your day devoted to rest and recovery.
When you set up boundaries, it creates a dedicated space for productivity and focus, minimizes distraction, and helps protect the rest of the home from becoming a work environment. Figuring out how to set boundaries at home can make a huge difference when you’re trying to improve your focus and productivity.
If you’re quarantining with your family, chances are you already know how difficult working remotely can be. Intrusions from the kids close to lunch, interruptions from a partner’s work calls, and personal chores might pull you in different directions as you try to focus on your own tasks.
Make sure you’re setting firm boundaries to prevent yourself from getting sucked into other matters that don’t really need your urgent attention.
68% of our sleep survey respondents working from a home office cite higher productivity levels compared to working at the office, whereas those working from the bedroom suggest they feel more stressed.
Setting boundaries at home starts with separating a workspace for yourself that you’re going to spend most of your time in. When you’re working remotely, trying to section off space in your home for this purpose is important.
Once you’ve created some ground rules and boundaries for your family, making sure you’re setting your workspace up for success is integral to being productive. Your brain thrives on patterns, and being able to recognize a space that is devoted to working helps to increase focus and discipline when working remotely.
This is also why it’s important to invest in the best mattress for your comfort, so your brain knows that once you’re all tucked in, it’s time to recover from the day’s activity.
A few tools you might want to invest in that can help when it comes to customizing your makeshift office include a standing desk, noise-canceling headphones for if you share your space, designated task lighting, a paper tray for loose files and documents you might need, and chargers that are within hand’s reach.
While you might think one of the best parts about working from home is being able to answer business calls in your pajamas, the truth is flexible timings and no time wasted on a commute are the real perks.
"Getting dressed helps you feel more productive because it signals to you that you’re in work mode," says Jude Stevens, a professional stylist.
While you don’t have to go all out with formal clothing or uncomfortable workwear, changing into something a little more presentable before getting started will help you allow you to feel more primed and prepped for the day when working remotely.
It's imperative to take breaks throughout the day to minimize the chance of burnout. With so many new companies making the change to remote working for the first time, it’s natural that it will take longer for some to transition.
The Puffy Sleep Survey reveals millennials are actually the most stressed out while working from home, with 62% reporting heightened stress, due to a wide variety of factors, including a lack of socializing. Keep in mind that it’s natural to feel overwhelmed from time to time, and planning in some breaks to recharge can actually help your productivity.
Taking a midday coffee nap can be a great way to recharge and give yourself a little boost before you get ready for some more productivity while working remotely.
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Blue light is one of the biggest disruptors of sleep, and the notifications on your phone are a constant distraction from trying to focus on getting a good night’s rest. According to one report by Harvard Health, being exposed to blue light can shift your circadian rhythm twice as much as others, meaning you’re going to be tossing and turning a lot longer before getting any sleep.
If you live in a smaller or shared space, and you don’t really have the option to work outside of your bedroom, you can still ensure you’re tucking your devices away and staying away a couple of hours before bedtime.
Working remotely in the time of a global pandemic is never going to feel normal, but you can do the best you can to stay comfortable and prioritize your well-being during this time. Make sure to keep practicing healthy sleep hygiene habits and investing in your comfort, and you’re going to end up a lot more in tune with your body and the ways in which you can optimize your personal productivity.
How have you been handling work-life balance when working remotely? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.