For millions of employees around the world, remote work is something they’ve been used to for years. Indeed, some businesses work exclusively with remote teams. But as the sudden onslaught of COVID-19 restrictions demonstrated, the experience was far from smooth for a lot of businesses and their employees.
Working from home has many benefits, most of which will persist long after the pandemic has passed. But remote work isn’t without its challenges. As the pandemic stretches on, many employees are experiencing remote work burnout, like the mother in Parsippany, New Jersey who continues to work from home because she doesn’t have child care.
With the added flexibility of remote work comes increased pressure on companies and their employees to maintain a decent level of productivity. Morale is also under threat in cases where employees feel actively disengaged with their work.
Why is work-life balance important, especially for remote workers?
Many self-employed people will tell you that your professional and personal lives become inseparable when you work from home. If that happens, productivity and morale can take a serious hit. However, it’s just as likely to be the fault of the employer as it is the employees’, which is why you should encourage your staff to do the following:
1. Designate a suitable workspace
Only a few people can confidently work almost anywhere. For the rest of us, tuning in to work at the kitchen table or on the living room sofa is hardly conducive to productivity. And to make matters worse, simply working anywhere can also result in the feeling that you’re always at work. This will end up taking a toll on your personal life.
Remote workers should designate a suitable workspace at home. Ideally, this would be a room you can just close the door on after work is done. If that’s not possible, an isolated corner of a room where people won’t disturb you is the second-best option.
2. Create a structured work schedule
Perhaps the most common misconception about working from home is that it’s easy, simply because you can set your own schedule. However, that’s rarely the case for employees, since they still need to use time tracking software and work a set number of hours per week. But even if that isn’t the case, having no fixed timetable is also a recipe for failure.
While you may have some leeway with regards to when you actually work, it’s important you stick to a set schedule that includes ample time for personal activities and regular breaks. It is always important to know when the workday is done.
3. Stay connected with your coworkers
Once you have your schedule prepared, it’s important to communicate it with your coworkers, not only so they respect your private time, but also for scheduling important team activities. Employers should always provide the necessary tools and accounts necessary for workers to collaborate effectively no matter where they’re located.
Be sure to indicate your online and offline hours on any collaborative apps you use, such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. Also, set up personal and work-related notifications separately.
4. Don’t neglect all your old habits
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should neglect all your old habits and morning routines. It helps if you can adapt them to the new norm. For example, if you’re used to preparing for the day’s work during the morning commute, set aside some time to do that at home.
While it may be tempting to spend the day in pajamas when you’re only going to be at home, many experienced remote workers caution against this, because it makes it harder to get into “work mode.”
5. Keep distractions to a minimum
Most people find it easier to get distracted while working from home, and there’s also the constant temptation to procrastinate. If you’re living with others, it can be even harder to get things done during your working hours, even if you do have a dedicated workspace.
To minimize distractions, turn off all non-work-related notifications, and shut down any apps and windows you’re not using. If that’s not practical, consider using separate devices and/or user accounts for work and personal life. It’s also important to take regular short breaks for taking care of household chores, having a proper lunch, and setting aside some time for exercise. All these things help improve your mental and physical well-being, so you can function optimally at work and during your leisure time.
Online Computers helps businesses in Hanover, Morristown, or Madison empower their remote workforces with IT services and support they can count on. Call us today to learn more.
Ensure a productive remote workforce!
Enter your name and email address on the respective fields on the right to receive our FREE guide to ensuring your staff's productivity while working remotely.