4 Ways to Maintain a Remote Work-Life Balance

By Marina Krivonossova on February 17, 2021

66% of Americans admitted to struggling with maintaining a work-life balance before the pandemic. After COVID-19 resulted in an extreme shift to remote work, this number has likely only gone up. While this is certainly concerning, we can’t pretend it comes as a shock. Balancing work and life is hard enough, so when the two happen exclusively in the same place, every day, every week, every month… It’s to be expected that maintaining a proper work-life balance becomes increasingly difficult. But just as it gets more difficult, it gets more important. Even though you care about your job, it’s important to continue to prioritize your physical and mental health every day. That’s why I’m here today to introduce you to my piece on four ways to maintain a remote work-life balance.

(Image via pexels.com)

1. Designate certain hours of the day for work. Just because you work from home, it doesn’t mean you should spend every moment at home working. If you work a standard 8-hour workday, designate in your schedule the 8 hours of the day you’ll be working. Don’t let yourself go over that time, just because you think you can finish one more thing, or because you think you’re expected to do so. If you work on a project basis, figure out how many hours a day you want to work and input those into your schedule. Work those hours only and adjust these hours accordingly as you go, but only do so within reason. Don’t take on more work because you feel like you have time, because you feel like you’re going to be sitting around anyways, etc. Work what you agreed to work in your contract — not more, not less.

2. Create a work station somewhere in your house and work exclusively from there. When you’re working from home, you can be tempted to start the workday in bed on your laptop, take a meeting on the balcony, respond to emails from your phone while relaxing on the couch, etc. But don’t give in to that temptation! Set up a work station for yourself, whether it be an entire office or a space at the kitchen table. Spend your time working exclusively from there. That will help prevent making your entire house feel like your work office. By creating a work station somewhere in your house and working exclusively from there, you allow yourself to maintain a physical work-life divide within your living space.

(Image via pexels.com)

3. Take time to give yourself a proper breakfast and lunch (and dinner, if applicable) break during the workday. Even though you’re working from the convenience of your home, it doesn’t mean you should be rushing to eat your meals during work hours and at your work station. When it comes to any meals you’re eating during the workday, make sure you give yourself a proper break from work to eat in peace. Text your friends, watch some YouTube, read the news, or do anything else that lets you relax while you eat. Work will be there when you come back from eating, I promise. Give yourself breaks and make sure to keep mealtime separate from work time.

4. Commit to walking for at least half an hour every day. You might be thinking that you’re too exhausted to leave the house at any point of the workday. You might be thinking that you’ve found the perfect workout routine that you can do from the comfort of your own home. But I can’t emphasize this strongly enough: commit to walking at least half an hour every day. Getting out, moving your legs, breathing fresh air, and taking in the outdoor environment is not something that can be replaced by home workouts, and it’s not something that you can afford to skip out on just because you feel too exhausted to leave the house. You don’t have to go on a three-hour walk every day, but make sure you’re at least leaving your house for thirty minutes to stretch your legs and relax outdoors. I used to create excuses for myself all the time, making up reasons that I can’t do my daily walk (the weather is horrible, I have so much work to do, I’m incredibly stressed, I did my half-hour of yoga, etc.) When I finally quit making excuses and spent my time going out of the house and walking instead, I noticed major improvements to my health, mental well-being, and productivity.

And remember: it’s okay to not feel okay while you’re stuck working from home. Even though some people really enjoy the remote work experience, it’s certainly not for everyone. So, don’t deny yourself the feelings you experience. They’re absolutely real, valid, and they’re just there to remind you that you’re human. That being said, you should keep in mind these four ways to maintain a remote work-life balance to minimize the lack of control you feel over your remote work experience.

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