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Are you working from home or living at work? As more and more employers continue to implement fully remote working or hybrid working policies, it poses the question, are employees reaping the benefits of home working, or in fact, hindered by this ‘employee perk’?
In theory, working from home sounds great, getting those odd jobs done at home around work and having more free time to spend with family without the chore of the daily commute. However, evidence suggests that we are working more at home than when we were in the office! A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research analysed over 3 million across 21,000 companies and found that meetings went up by almost 13%, and our average workday increased by 49 minutes. For a full-time remote worker, that is an additional 4 hours per week spent at work.
There are blurred lines between work and home life, and it is often hard to tell when work ends and life begins. Here are some simple techniques you can implement to strike a good balance and promote a healthy work-life balance.
Communicate your working hours
Create an expectation with your co-workers around your availability. To do this, you could send a communication out to your colleagues whilst asking them about their working hours. You could also make your calendar visible and include your active working hours.
But remember to stick to it yourself - avoid sending or replying to non-urgent emails outside of your working hours as these can almost always wait. Plus, make sure you turn off notifications on work devices in the evening.
Track your time
Over a week or two, make a note of how you’re spending your time at work and outside of work. Knowing the shape of your current work-life balance is the first step towards adjusting it. It may also highlight areas where you could be more efficient to avoid work outside of working hours.
Set aside part of your day for meetings
Having sporadic meetings can interrupt your flow of work which can lead to inefficiency. If you work in a role that requires meetings, set aside one part of your day for them, i.e. morning or afternoon, or on certain days such as Mondays or Fridays.
But firstly, make sure you’re not having meetings for meetings sake. Whilst they are often necessary and of value, there's evidence that suggests meetings via Zoom or other conferencing platforms are more draining than face-to-face meetings. In the absence of many non-verbal cues, online meetups require more emotional effort to appear engaged. Our advice is to reduce the length and frequency of meetings where possible.
Separate your physical working space
Section of an area of your home as a dedicated office space. Ideally, not in your bedroom or main living space. If you're unable to have a dedicated desk for home working and perhaps work from your dining room table, make sure you tidy away your laptop, stationary and work phone when your working day ends.
If you are struggling to separate your work and living space, there is a rise in co-living spaces to rent or work from, which may be worth trialling.
Use a separate work phone or laptop
Hopefully, you will have access to a work laptop or phone. Otherwise, you should set up separate logins for work and personal use. This will prevent notifications and calendar reminders from interrupting you during your own time. Plus, it will reduce distractions and encourage focus while at work.
Another rule of thumb is to avoid giving out personal email addresses and phone numbers to anybody that wouldn’t have an issue that would be classed as an emergency.
Putting physical distance between where you live and where you work is a smart way to achieve a healthier work-life balance. By freeing yourself of work distractions and enjoying your free time, you can switch off on time and watch your evening Netflix without being interrupted and feeling guilty. Not only will a healthy work-life balance benefit you, but it will also benefit those around you and increase your productivity while you are at work.
Perhaps your working situation no longer suits your lifestyle? At Search Consultancy, we recruit across 20 sectors and have a range of roles available with a variety of workplace arrangements.
Speak to one of our consultants today to discuss your requirements.