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How to Maintain a Work-Life Balance While Working at Home

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Work from home looks set to stay in our lives for the future and while there are a considerable amount of benefits including not having a commute and spending less money. It can also lead to our home and work lives blending, so how do we avoid this?

Don’t just roll out of bed

One of the most significant ways our lives with work have begun to blur is by setting your alarm 5 minutes before you start and rolling from your bed to your desk. Although it allows you more sleep, it does not allow you to wake up properly and feel ready for the day. A great idea to stop ourselves from doing this is to give yourself a fake ‘commute’. This could be waking up and going on a 15–20 minutes walk before the day begins. This would make you feel more refreshed and create a vital distinction in your mind between getting out of bed and starting to work. 

Get dressed

Most of us will say we are guilty of not getting appropriately dressed for a day working from home, but this firstly does not get us in the right mindset to work but again blurs the lines between work and home. To get dressed for a work from home day does, of course, not mean getting suit and tie on; however, getting into regular comfy clothes is an effortless yet effective way of separating your lives. 

Spend time chatting with your colleagues

When in our offices, we spend a significant proportion of the day chatting to our colleagues, finding out about what is going on in their lives and sharing stories. Work from home has stopped this as if we are talking to our work friends; it is often just about work. However, we need to make sure we do not lose these relationships and sometimes, having a 10-minute natter with one of your colleagues can make all the difference to your mental health and happiness for that day.

At my agency, on a Wednesday, we do a virtual ‘coffee morning’; this is where no one is allowed to talk about work, but we all chat about whatever we like, whether that is the latest release on Netflix or our plans for the weekend. It has been a significant success and has allowed us time to get to know our colleagues and time away from work. 

Get out of your house during your lunch break

Often we can find with work from home that we do not leave the house for the entirety of the day. This is not healthy for our mind or our body. Lunch is an excellent chance for us to switch off and do something not work-related. I often use this time to do my food shop as not only does this get me out of the house, but it also distracts my mind from work as I have to focus on doing the shop. Another suggestion for a lunch break could be going to the gym or seeing close-by friends for a cup of tea. 

Set yourself precise working hours 

Life is more flexible than ever, but this could mean our life blends together. This is not great for us mentally as it does not give us proper hours where we can switch off our brains and fully relax. I found myself doing this at the beginning of the pandemic as it would allow my work to go into the evening or schedule tasks for later in the day. Now I aim to finish at 5 and will not allow myself to work any later than 6. This has made it a lot easier to separate my working hours from my relaxing hours, and I have found it much easier to switch off in the evening. 

Ask for help 

During the pandemic, a lot of us suffered in silence, whether that was due to loneliness or other mental health issues, as it was a tough time for all. The pandemic ending does not necessarily mean those issues have disappeared. Companies, because of this, have become a lot better at dealing with these issues and providing support where needed, so most important to anything is to let managers know if you ever feel like you are struggling.

Abby Parkinson is a media relations consultant for Definition Agency, which comprises W&PRedhouse, and TopLine Film.

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