Remote working is becoming more popular in the UK, with 50% of the UK’s workforce expected to work remotely at least one day per week. This is great news for companies that are looking to cut costs and secure better talent.
However, remote working can leave some people feeling lonely and isolated if they don’t have the right measures in place. The blurred lines between home and work can also make it more difficult for remote workers to switch off at the end of the day.
The importance of a work-life balance
If too much of your time is spent working, you may be more prone to suffering from burn out. Downtime is essential to ensure your mind and body are given time to recoup and rest.
Working too much can also harm the quality of work that you are producing – focussed work usually only happens in short bursts, so if you’re burning the midnight oil, you’re likely making more mistakes than you realise.
Overworking can also contribute to stress-related illnesses, unhealthy eating habits, and impact your social and family time.
Creating a healthy work-life balance, whether you work in the office or at home, is vital for productivity, wellbeing, and engagement. Here are a few tips on how to create a healthy work-life balance as a remote worker:
5 ways to improve
If you feel that you’ve fallen into the trap of an unhealthy work-life balance, it isn’t too late to do something about it. Although it can be difficult to start a new working pattern or break old habits, it’s entirely possible if you are committed to a healthy and more productive way of working.
1. Change your mobile habits
Are you constantly checking your work emails or logging into your company intranet whilst spending time with friends and family? It’s time to stop!
Not only can it appear rude to those that you are spending time with, but it also means that you’re not spending quality time with the people you love. If you have your work emails logged in on your smartphone, consider logging out to avoid notifications when you are spending time out of work. Also, try to resist using your mobile phone for any work-related activities unless you are sat at your desk or are in “work mode”. Many smartphones now allow you to put downtime limits on your apps – consider doing this if you find it challenging and need an intervention.
2. Stop being a people pleaser
When you are working from home it can be difficult to say no to the prospect of extra work, especially if you’re a freelancer. However, sometimes you just have to say no and not try and please everyone that asks you to put in extra hours. Your work-life balance is important and you are entitled to a break just like everybody else.
3. Don’t let your sleep suffer
Sleep is an important part of maintaining a healthy body and lifestyle. Often, it can be tempting to miss out on an hour or two of sleep to get some extra work hours in. Although you may have to do this from time to time, try not to make it a regular thing. Working more and sleeping less is a recipe for disaster and you are likely to burn out very quickly.
4. Don’t jump when asked
Just because you’ve received an email from a client or your boss who wants something done right now, doesn’t mean you have to. Replying to emails too quickly gives the impression that you are always available, which can lead to unrealistic expectations. Instead, set up an automatic reply that informs anyone that emails that you’ll get back to them within 24 to 48 hours, which will take a lot of pressure off.
5. Nothing is perfect
When you work remotely, it is easy to be caught up on achieving perfection. You can spend hours working on something and decide it’s not good enough and continue to edit it or start over. However, it’s important to realise that nothing is ever perfect and although you shouldn’t necessarily avoid striving to produce good quality work, you shouldn’t obsess until it negatively affects your health.