Finding a Work Life Balance When Working from Home
Tips on finding balance when working from home during quarantine life
by Joanne Troppello
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 and having had to deal with stay-at-home mandates from 40 states issuing stay at home orders more people are working from home now.
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. When dealing with isolation from extended family and friends due to the COVID-19 crisis, it can be difficult to find a work life balance as you work from home.
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. Consider implementing some of the following tips into your lifestyle and daily routine.
1. Change 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.
High Priority – 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. Know Yourself Well
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.
For example, if you’re not a morning person, maybe you need to drink caffeine and start your day with exercise. I start my day with morning meditation 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. Take Time for Yourself
Make sure you take time each day for yourself. This may be difficult, especially if you are a busy parent and with having your family all together at the same time all the time during quarantine. However, it’s extremely important. Do something you love. Find a hobby or start doing yoga and pilates.
Popsugar Fitness magazine reported that companies like Peloton were offering free access to their exercise app for 90 days during the coronavirus crisis. Daily Burn is offering a 30 day free trial and ClassPass is allowing access to over 2,000 free exercise videos without a subscription.
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 during the COVID-19 crisis, set up an office area at home where you can get up and leave when the workday is done.
5. Effectively Manage Finances
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.
Identify ways to trim your expenses so you can be less stressed. We cut some expenses by cutting the cord and cancelled our cable. We got an antenna to get local channels and only pay $20 a month plus tax for Philo to stream 50+ cable channels with an unlimited DVR for one month.
Indeed.com posts daily updates for online jobs you can apply for to try to make more money to increase your monthly revenue. They also released COVID-19 Resources on how to find a job in this current climate, tips on enhancing your resume, writing cover letters, interview tips, and career development advice.
6. Talk to Your Manager
When the coronavirus pandemic ends, we will likely see changes in our world. People may not shake hands or give hugs for greetings anymore. Companies may consider deploying more employees to work from home full-time or at least several days each week.
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.
Stay calm and don’t panic
The best thing you can do right now for you and your family is to remain calm and don’t panic. None of us know for sure how long we will be dealing with the coronavirus and uncertainty in work situations where you have been deployed to work at home. However, you can improve your work life balance by researching the facts, listening to the CDC coronavirus guidelines, and enhancing your life while staying safe.
Previously published on Medium.
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel.