Though many employees struggle with achieving and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, this is particularly true of those who work from home, whether for an employer or as freelancers or entrepreneurs.
Despite the fact that cellphones can blur them, most individuals who work from an office have fairly clear boundaries drawn between work and home. Even if they cross these boundaries at times, there’s still a huge difference in mindset when you commute from an office to a home. When your home is your office, this boundary is harder to define.
Setting up an office area and keeping it separate from your personal life is a tangible thing you can do to help your mind draw this boundary. Make sure you have everything you need for business close at hand, and keep it in an area of the house where you won’t constantly spend leisure time. This way, when you enter the office your mind will be geared up to start work, and when you leave it, your mind will settle down again.
Maintain a professional image, even though that is touted as an advantage of working from home. Not doing so can make you seem unprofessional, unreliable, and amateur at best. Establishing regular working hours will not only help you establish a clear time to work, but will also keep you from working too much. After all, after hours (though occasional overtime may be necessary) you are no longer at work and can relax.
Many who work at home also have problems working enough because their friends and family interrupt their work constantly. Establishing regular working hours will help you keep them at bay if you tell them firmly and as often as necessary that you’re working. After work hours, keep your social life active and call them back, but don’t answer the phone or door while working.
Professional clothing is another way to establish a separation between work and your personal life. Don’t work in pyjamas, ratty old clothes, or underwear! Your quality of work will likely be affected by how you feel, and the clothing you choose to wear directly affects this. You don’t have to wear a suit or dress if you don’t want to, but at least wear something business casual when you’re at work.
Another way to maintain the work-life balance is to take time for yourself regularly. Many freelancers or entrepreneurs, particularly those starting out, find themselves swamped with overtime and tasks to get their business launched and end up working far too much, not taking enough time for themselves, then crashing health- or emotion-wise.
To avoid this, make sure you have some time regularly scheduled. If you’re truly pressed for time, just an hour each week taking a relaxing bath or walk around the neighbourhood can make a huge difference in your mental health. Getting out of the house often will help you keep the balance from swaying too far towards working, too. You need to refresh yourself sometimes and stay in contact with other human beings.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be a particular challenge for those who work from home, but with appropriate effort put into it, your quality of life will be dramatically improved.