How to achieve work/life balance when working from home

How to achieve work/life balance when working from home

Many of us have worked from home occasionally over the years.  But few were prepared for the abrupt transition from in-office work to remote work when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.  Yet here we are, thrust into the challenging situation of balancing our work and home life. 

It’s normal for newly remote workers to find it difficult to stay focused and productive.  Those who live alone face the additional challenge of feeling extremely isolated.  On the flip side, people with families are are finding they have very little to no quiet time as they share limited space with spouses and home-schooled children.

When team members can’t perform at full capacity, tasks take longer to complete and projects get delayed. If a colleague works at odd hours to accommodate a busy household, their colleagues may not get the information they need to perform their job in a timely manner. All of this can negatively affect a teams’ productivity.

Over the past 20 months, TCS has spoken to many of our customers about the challenges they’re facing.  We’ve been able to put our technology to good use and got many of our customers set up to work and collaborate virtually, ensuring they remain connected and productive.  We have also listened to other ways people are struggling that are not related to technology, and have decided to gather our best advice to help you get on your way to a less stressful and more productive remote-work life!

Video Conference Whenever Possible

Video conferencing is one of the most effective ways to maintain a face-to-face connection with your colleagues and thus not feel as isolated.  In addition, video participants learn 200% more than audio-only calls and absorb up to 40% more.

Schedule Working Meetings 

Gather colleagues in a virtual meeting to collaborate on projects in real time.  With the ability to share documents on-screen, team members can provide instant feedback, brainstorm solutions to problems and apply their collective knowledge to fill in gaps.

Schedule virtual connections.

If you plan for the times you’re most susceptible to loneliness, you’ll find it easier to avoid its trap. For example, if you’re loneliest in the evening, be sure to schedule a call with a friend or family member.

create a schedule

One of the few perks of virtual school is that you don’t have to follow the traditional school day precisely.  If you need quiet time in the morning for calls, schedule some free time for your children so you can be productive.  Alternatively, you may be able to adjust your working hours, logging some early morning or evening time that’s quiet, productive and just for you. Once you have a  schedule in place, try to stick to it so everyone in your household knows the expectations.

Use call recordings and mobile.

If you need flex hours to tend to your kids, a unified communications solution allows you to record calls. That way, if you need to step out of a meeting to help with schoolwork, you can catch up immediately by listening to what you missed. You can also bring your mobile phone with you if you need to get out for a walk. Even though you’re away from the house, you can still join in the meeting.

Create a designated workspace.

It’s all too easy for the lines to blur between parent, employee and spouse. A designated workspace can help set boundaries. When you’re in your “office”, ask others to knock before entering. When you step out, be sure to leave the work behind. After all, it’ll be waiting for you on your return.

Are you struggling with productivity? 

Before the pandemic, people said they were more productive working from home because of fewer meetings and distractions.  But as we now share our home with spouses and children, there is never a shortage of daily distractions.  Here are a few tips to stay on track.

carve out blocks of time

Time chunking (or time blocking) is when you turn off your email and other messaging apps to concentrate on a specific task or project. Eliminating distractions will help you to get the job done faster, and often with a better result.

Create a to-do list

Begin each day by writing a list of what you need to accomplish that day. When you have the workday mapped out in advance, you’re more likely to stay on track and get things done. The same concept applies to meetings. A unified communications solution with an integrated agenda tracker will keep conference calls on schedule. You can even assign tasks to yourself and teammates, and track progress virtually.

Schedule breaks

Scheduling them into your day ensures you’ll actually take a breather and prevents them from getting out of control. We recommend 15-20 minutes to recharge without losing sight of the work still at hand. And make sure your breaks include stress-free, fun activities.

It’s a challenging time for all employers and employees around the world as we struggle to grapple with what comes next.  The good news is that when it comes to your remote workday, there are things you can do to keep connections going, stay focused and be productive. The right combination of communications technology and daily habits can help you adjust to the new normal.