In the past few weeks the majority of businesses have shifted to employees working from home to curb infection during the coronavirus pandemic, and schools have closed as well. Whether you’re new to the WFH game or a seasoned pro, balancing your work and home life is exceptionally harder when they’re intertwined as a remote worker. To add on to the stress, it’s even more challenging getting the proper workflow with kids and partners at home as well.
Even if you’re used to a home office, doing it with family home and bustling creates an entirely different environment. It makes it that much more difficult to actually keep your ‘work life’ and ‘home life’ from completely overlapping.
The Importance of Separation
Too much work and you’ll get burned out, too much distraction and you’ll fall behind on tasks, both causing anxiety that can leak into your home life. Productivity and control are big factors in our happiness, especially when it comes to how we work.
What’s most important is that you find the right balance for you and stick to it! For some people, taking an extra 30 minute ‘lunch break’ to play with your kids can boost your mood and make your afternoon more productive. For others, they may be more likely to stretch that 30 minutes to an hour, or two hours, and then end up scrambling to finish tasks later, making them more stressed out. Knowing your limits is vital, and knowing your work style is going to be imperative to keeping boundaries.
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
The better you get at prioritizing your tasks, the better you’ll get at planning your day and knowing when to take breaks.
Working from home with kids, partners, and even pets, may have you thinking it’s easiest to deal with family items as they come up during the work day. It’s impossible to predict, and doing this will likely lead to much more distraction and random ‘to-dos’ throughout your day that will ultimately drag out your work day even longer. Don’t underestimate the difference of working from a quiet home office versus working from a full house right now.
As you continue to get used to WFH, take the time to get to know the average time per day you need to allot to the family needs. For some who are primary caretakers with kids home, your work day will look a lot different than someone who has a spouse or family member able to take care of children during work hours. Be honest and up front with your bosses and coworkers about what you need, it will help reduce anxiety if you do have to leave for a bit during the day, and it helps manage everyone’s expectations properly.
Stick to Your Schedule
Remember when we gave our top WFH tips? There’s a reason we emphasized keeping a schedule and a task list. It’s easy to get caught up in a productive swing and accidentally overwork yourself when you aren’t worried about missing that sweet-spot for traffic on the commute home. It’s also easy to fall behind on work when taking frequent breaks or letting the pets roam in the office where you definitely aren’t distracted by them at all.
It’s also good to keep a schedule so you get to know how much time certain tasks are taking, or how long you’ve been working without a break. Without coworkers or external reminders to take a lunch or grab a coffee, some people forget to take a much needed pause to refresh and give their brain a break.
Your Happiness Is Important
Mental health is hard to manage in the midst of a pandemic, and your happiness and productivity are all tied into it. Be honest with yourself and your work when you need a break to refresh, it’s better to take time now to get needed rest and come back more productive tomorrow, than to keep wearing yourself out day after day.
Check in with your family and friends, and mix up your daily tasks when needed. Make some of those essential errand runs during lunchtime, or do some non time-sensitive tasks in the evening if you need an afternoon off.
The changes of working remotely and having family there with it isn’t an easy one to navigate, but if you can set a good schedule and keep your focus on your happiness you’ll be able to find a balance.