Creating Remote Work-Life Balance Amid COVID-19

Time to read: 6 minutes

Summary of Creating Remote Work-Life Balance During COVID-19:

  • Working from home is one, solid way to achieve work-life balance, but with that comes the trouble of deciphering when work ends and home begins.
  • Tips for creating harmony with strictly enforced remote work and COVID-19 quarantine situations are explored as we focus on what we can control.
  • Dedicated workspaces, rituals, time blocking, and more to ensure a healthy remote work-life balance.

Are you working remotely for the first time? Is this just another day at the “office” for you? Despite your situation, the world feels a little upside down right now, to say the least. Most of the workforce has been pushed into a remote work situation in the wake of COVID-19, with many workers navigating working from home for the first time.

Remote work has been touted as a surefire way to achieving work-life balance. However, it can get a little hairy as to when work ends, and home begins (or when work begins and home ends). This new norm need not be met with blurred lines. In your social distancing, we have tips for now and beyond the quarantine on how to create a healthy distance between home life and work life while hunkering down full-time.

Tips for Remote Work-Life Balance

Create Space

Pick a spot in your home and set up a dedicated space where you can “go” to work. The workspace is the foundation of a harmonious remote work-life balance. By doing this, you are training your body and your brain to respond to this spot. When you are in that spot, you are “at” work, therefore, when you walk away from that space, you are home. This is crucial to remote work productivity when the coffeehouse or co-working space is not an option, especially as quarantine situations become stricter. With all that said, the same goes for your bed. Working from bed is a no-no. We’ll leave it at that.

Recap: work where you work, live where you live, and sleep where you sleep. Cool?

In creating your workspace, think about your workstation in the office – bring in what you like, eliminate what you dislike, and add that extra touch of home. A change in workspace has been known to enhance creativity, be it a change of scenery or adding an element to your workspace. Color is a big driver of this theory:

  • Blue: openness and out of the box thinking.
  • Yellow: energy flow.
  • Orange: concentration.
  • Red: attention to detail.
  • Greens: mind, body, spirit refresher.
  • Purple: fresh perspectives.

No need to paint the walls. Simply think about the elements and colors you bring into your space.

Establish a Start and Finish Ritual

When in office, think about how you kick off your day, and then think about how you close out your day. Are you shutting down and packing up your computer? What is your mindset like during your commute in and out of the office? This act is another signal for your brain and your body that work is over. Remote workers miss out on that mental shift at the end of the day missing and important element to a strong remote work-life balance – unless they establish starting and finishing rituals.

Establishing a start and finish ritual is not to be confused with creating a dedicated space. This tip stems from resisting the urge to continuously hop on and off the computer throughout the day into the evening. Understandably, some days are more demanding than others, but enlist this tip to avoid burnout and monotony.

What this might look like:

  • Shutting down your computer.
  • Unplugging your screen.
  • Cleaning up your desk.
  • Turning off the desk light.
  • Planning for tomorrow – cue the next tip…

Time Block, Set Boundaries

Meetings are on the calendar, but how do you set expectations with yourself and your colleagues around the rest of your to-do’s? Time blocking creates structure and protects your time in what can feel like a relaxed situation. Furthermore, it deters you from spreading an eight-hour workday across 10-12 hours (we’re establishing start and finish rituals, remember?). If the thought of time blocking your whole entire day feels or looks overwhelming, start by blocking out FOCUS blocks. These are reserved for intensive projects or tasks.

Move

The work wellness tip of the century: move. Get up and move. Remote work offers a little more flexibility to step away to fit in a walk, a quick yoga sequence, or even jumping jacks without the crazy eyes from your co-workers. Many misconstrue working out for long sessions as the gym. A 15-minute workout on YouTube will certainly suffice. A mini-workout mid-day does wonders for creativity and the immune system – and if you opt for 15-minutes, you still have time to freshen up and return to your dedicated workspace rejuvenated!

Pro tip: Time block movement into your schedule and hold yourself accountable.

Make Meals

Be aware of your food choices and snacking frequency throughout the day. Rather than grabbing for a granola bar or any other unhealthy snack, use this as a 15-minute or 20-minute break, or post home workout cool down. Take a lunch break to give your brain a rest from the grind and make yourself a healthy meal. Opt for colorful vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains to ingest nutrients and stay satiated. If you are one to meal prep, there are no rules against meal prepping for remote work. Hearty meals and healthy snacks curb unnecessary hunger, ultimately helping with portion control which helps in making more mindful food choices. Lastly, stay hydrated.

Food for thought: Get creative with preparing meals and snacks during the workday. Are you making ants on a log for the kids? Make a couple for yourself. Don’t have kids? Still make yourself ants on a log.

Check-In with Colleagues

Simple, yet effective. It is amazing what a quick chit-chat will do for the mind when working remotely. Be flexible and still have “water-cooler” moments. Check-in on one and another. We are human, we do not thrive on seclusion. When hosting virtual meetings, seriously consider using the webcam feature for more face-to-face interaction. Top virtual and video conferencing software:

  • GoTo Meeting.
  • Zoom.
  • Skype.
  • Microsoft Teams.

Navigating COVID-19 with Profiles

Profiles is carefully monitoring developments surrounding COVID-19. Keep checking back at our Coronavirus Updates as we continue to provide content addressing hiring, job searches, working remotely, and other appropriate topics during this uncertain time.

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