Tips For Managing Work/Life Balance When Working From Home
As important as remote work has become during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not easy for everyone to manage, both on their own, and on a staff-wide basis.
According to a recent study, newly remote workers across the country are encountering a series of challenges in their daily work life:
- 19% experience loneliness
- 17% have difficulty communicating and collaborating
- 8% have trouble staying motivated
Have you and your staff adapted to remote work?
It’s understandable if not. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone.
This new era of remote working has led to the types of issues that managers would have addressed directly in the workplace. It’s not so easy now that you’re cut off from your team members.
And furthermore, it’s not a given that everyone will be returning to the office when it’s safe to do so…
What Are Other CEOs Planning For The Post-COVID-19 Workplace?
A recent PwC survey offers valuable insight into how business leaders and their teams are looking at a possible return to the office. It’s nearly a unanimous opinion across the country that remote work has been beneficial, with 83% of respondents considering it a success.
However, that doesn’t mean that everyone is going to keep working at home permanently. 95% of business owners agree that employees need to be in the office for some portion of their time on the job, with most (29%) believing at least 3 days in the office will be necessary. Regardless, employers expect in-person work to begin sooner than employees (75% vs. 61%).
The benefits of remote work can’t be overlooked. A little more than half of the employers surveyed agree that their teams have become more productive while working from home. That said, they also recognize that less experienced employees will benefit from having more time in the office, with direct access to important resources.
The bottom line is that while full-time remote work will not become the standard after the pandemic, it will still play a role in the business world. CEOs and other business leaders are investing more and more heavily in the tools required for long-term hybrid workspaces.
Tips For Attaining A Better Work/Life Balance From Home
- Make Sure You’re Working In The Right Space. Make sure that wherever you’re going to work is comfortable, distraction-free, and as in-line with your normal workplace as possible. You may need to invest in an office chair, or even, depending on your work, a second monitor.
- Make Sure You Can See Your Coworkers. In the office, everyone would see each other just by being there. In a remote setting, email and phone calls don’t provide the same level of connection. Make sure to hold video meetings with your coworkers, clients, and other contacts when possible.
- Promote Balance In Your Workday. Make sure that you are striking the right balance at home. Just as you shouldn’t be slacking off because you’re not being supervised, you also shouldn’t overwork yourself. Make sure you are taking breaks to decompress, stretch, stay hydrated, and relax.
- Make Sure You Know The Plan. Communication protocols are especially important right now. Without being told to do so, some staff members will update their supervisor multiple times a day. Others will follow a “no news is good news” mindset. Make sure you know how your boss expects communication to take place every day.
- Make Sure To Collaborate. Working in groups on projects won’t just promote a productive workplace — it will make your workplace a healthier one too. As mentioned before, you will benefit from any opportunities they have to connect with one another.
- Make Sure To Socialize. Switching from a full office to their quiet house can be difficult — don’t forget to schedule time for business and casual communication. You should still communicate on a regular basis with your team members.
Now that we have personal tips covered, let’s provide some key insight for managers and team leaders…
Tips For Managing A Hybrid Workspace
- Recognize The Value In Different Work Environments. Some staff members will be better suited to one style of work than the other. In some cases, either due to distance, home life circumstances, or other personal reasons, some employees may need to continue working from home. Make sure to focus on what your team members can contribute, regardless of where they do the work. It can be easy for in-office workers to resent remote workers, thinking they have it easier. The fact is that both settings come with challenges — in-office workers have to commute each day, but remote workers miss out on the social side of their job. Encourage your team to recognize and understand these differences.
- Meet On “Common Ground”. If a given team has both in-office and remote workers, those working in the office can’t meet on their own — even though it’s just a matter of walking to the other’s desk, it excludes the remote team members. Make sure that your employees understand that all meetings should be virtual by default, so that remote workers can contribute to the discussion.
- Adapt Your Communication Practices. If you’re going to manage a hybrid work environment, you need to understand that remote workers, based on their timezone, schedule, and workflow, will not be as immediately available as those in the office. This means you can’t make last-minute snap decisions. Understand that getting input from all team members will take more time, but if you’re planning ahead and anticipating correctly, this shouldn’t be an issue.
- Give Them The Right Tools. Removing barriers between your in-office staff and your remote workers means equipping them with the tools to do so — and making sure they’re all using them. Those working in the office may be able to get by just talking to each other, but that will exclude remote workers from important conversations to which they can contribute. Make sure your staff has access to and is using the right team-based virtual platforms, where they can have group discussions, collaborate on shared files, and meet as needed.
No matter how you plan to bring your staff back to the office, and to what degree, you need to have a strategy in place for how you’re going to do so. Make sure to put together a plan now, so you’re ready to move when the opportunity presents itself.