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Health and Fitness News

Hanging in the Balance

Working from home presents new challenges to balancing family life.

The arrival of the pandemic brought many changes to everyday life. Masks, social distancing, and quarantine. And for many people, one of the biggest changes was working from home. With the lockdown and fears of the virus, employers scrambled to develop new systems to keep their businesses afloat. Computers and the internet made it possible to keep businesses running without a brick-and-mortar office.

Those who became remote workers quickly recognized the perks of working from home. There’s no more rushing to get out the door in the morning. No more buying expensive work clothes for big meetings. No more long commutes. However, it’s not all peaches and cream. Remote workers are also finding their new situation comes with a new challenge: balancing work and personal life when they take place in the same space.

If you’re one of the millions now working from home, here are a few tips to help with this delicate balancing act.

Stick to a Schedule

Unless you’re required to clock in and out at specific times, it can be hard to gauge how much is the right amount of time you should work. You have a personal life, but you also have professional and financial goals as well. Allow yourself some flexibility, but have set work hours to avoid overworking or slacking off. Create a schedule that works for you. If you’re the most productive in the morning, make your work hours go from 6 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. with a few breaks added in. When 3 p.m. rolls around, turn off the computer. You may be tempted to finish a project, but you’ve already put in a full day’s work. It can wait.

Working from home may increase your flexibility. Keeping a set schedule will help your team know when you can be reached. It will also let you know when you’re free for personal activities. Once you’ve nailed down your working hours, communicate them with your team.

Have a Dedicated Office Space

A couple years ago, you were distracted by co-workers and office meetings. Those days were easy. Now you’re faced with a sink of dirty dishes, a room of crying kids, and the television blaring in the next room.

Setting the computer up in the living room or kitchen may be necessary, but it definitely isn’t ideal. You need to be productive. To do that, you’ve got to avoid the distractions of home life. So create a separate office space in your home. Don’t just set up in the closet. Choose a space you can work in. Then organize so it feels like an office, an area that is an inviting space where you can get things done.

Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. - Dolly Parton

Set Family Ground Rules

When one family member works from home, the entire family needs to follow a few simple rules. It should be clear to both adults and kids what the boundaries are.

Example: When you’re on the phone, in an online meeting, or the door is closed, you’re not to be disturbed. Those in another room should respect this and stay quiet. Also, other family members should respect your work hours. You may be in the basement, but you’re at work. Most likely, you don’t have time to pick up the kids from school or mow the lawn.

Work + Family + You

When you work from home, it may seem like all you do is work and spend time with family. While these are good priorities, creating a healthy balance requires you to take care of yourself. Set aside time to focus on your interests, hobbies, and social life. Meet a friend for lunch, take a break and run to the gym, or go fishing on the weekend.