Finding a Work Life Balance
When You Work from Home
by Joanne Troppello
“Being a self-employed means you work 12 hours a day for yourself so you don't have to work 8 hours a day for someone else.” ― Oliver Markus Malloy
Being social is good for your emotional and physical health. Now this “social” behavior is interacting with others face-to-face—not spending time on social media.
However, with the coronavirus pandemic last year and continuing into 2021, many companies have deployed their employees to work from home.
A Gallop poll showed that the weekends are the happiest times for most people. That makes sense to me. Most times, the weekends mean no work.
That same poll found that people who spent a quarter of their daily hours with friends and family were 12x as likely to experience happiness instead of anxiety or stress. Sounds simple to me. Spend less time working and more time with family and friends. However, less time at work won’t pay the bills.
Tips on Finding a Work Life Balance
If you work from home and set your own hours like I do, it’s easier to find a work life balance. However, if you don’t work at home—and have now been deployed by your company to work from home—it can be more difficult to find that precious work life balance.
You may want to think about adding some of the following tips into your daily routine.
1. Assess Your Priorities
We all have so many tasks to complete each day. Work, family, and other responsibilities. If you want to find a work life balance, you may need to change your priorities.
If you write to-do lists like me, consider the following categories to add your tasks to. If you don’t write such lists, maybe you might want to start.
Urgent Need – These tasks must get done ASAP
Important – Tasks on this list are important but not crucial
Necessary – You need to get these tasks done, but not right away
Not Urgent – These are tasks you want to get done when you have the time
Putting your daily tasks down on paper can help you to see what your priorities are and what things you’re trying to get done each day that could be put off until tomorrow.
2. Understand Yourself Better
Some people are morning people like my husband. I’m a night owl and work better in the afternoons and evenings. I need more time to get started each day. Finding that work life balance begins with knowing yourself well and identifying which part of the day you operate in at full capacity.
Now, your boss might not care whether you’re a morning person or evening person and you’ll need to abide by office hours even when working at home—but, it’s good for you to know. This way, you can modify certain behaviors to help yourself work better throughout the day.
If you’re not a morning person, maybe you need to drink caffeine and start your day with exercise. I start my day with Bible reading time, then exercise, and then breakfast. I get headaches from caffeine, so I can’t use that to give me energy like many people can.
Morning people sometimes start to lag later in the day. Eat healthy snacks like trail mix, apple and peanut butter, popcorn, or veggies and hummus. These snacks can give you an energy boost and help you concentrate better until work is over for the day.
3. Self-Care is Important
Take time for yourself each day. This may be difficult, especially if you are a busy parent. However, it’s extremely important. Do something you love. Find a hobby or start doing yoga and pilates.
If you don’t take the time to care for yourself, you will not be useful to those in your life that you need to care for. It’s okay to have that me time. When you get recharged, you’ll be able to help your family and friends and not get burned out.
4. Maintain Set Work Hours
If possible, it’s important to maintain the same work hours each week to improve work life balance. Of course, that’s not always possible. Some companies have extended hours depending on the workload.
When working at home, set up an office area where you can get up and leave when the workday is done. Even if you don’t have a specific room designated as an office, section off an area of a room and use that as office space. Don’t work at your kitchen or dining room table unless you will be able to pack up your work items (like laptop, notebooks, tablet, documents, files etc.) at the end of the workday. Put everything away in a plastic bin or cabinet, so that your table is available for use when it’s time to eat dinner as a family.
5. Manage Finances Properly
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the top stressors in the lives of Americans are personal finances and the current economic climate. CBS News reported that 6 million Americans have currently filed for unemployment benefits.
Maybe you or someone in your household was laid off or lost hours. You may be working from home while your spouse or partner is now unemployed. Financial stresses are likely at an all-time high right now for your family.
Reviewing your family or personal budget and how well or not well you’re doing financially can help you find a better work life balance.
Ascertain ways that you can cut your expenses, if possible. We cut some expenses by cutting the cord and cancelled our cable and are using a streaming service.
6. Communicate Openly with Your Manager
Depending on your workplace culture and environment, you may be able to discuss with your manager how they can help cultivate an enhanced work life balance for their employees.
The following companies have an excellent work life balance:
You may want to discuss how you can improve your work area by getting an ergonomic chair and sit-stand station for when the office opens again. If you’ll be deployed at home for full-time work in the future, you may be able to request these ergonomic options as well. Many companies have realized that helping their employees maintain a better work life balance can result in happier employees—who are more productive.
7. Work at a Job You Love
This may not be possible for everyone. However, if you can find a job that you love to do, you’ve found something wonderful—that can positively affect your work life balance.
Family is Most Important
Remember that your family (or those who are in your close circle of friends) are more important than work. Yes, you need to work to make money to pay the bills, eat, and pay rent or a mortgage. However, truly finding a work life balance means that you have found a way to effectively handle your work while taking care of those in your family—without stressing yourself out.
Do you feel that you have a work life balance? If you are retired, do you feel that your life is balanced?
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel.
Connect with Joanne on Twitter. You can find Joanne on these social media channels—Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Spreely, and Clouthub—with the same username, @JoanneTroppello—and @joannetroppello.mseedsentinel on Instagram. Visit the Mustard Seed Sentinel YouTube Channel. Check out MSS Live Well Corner.