Remote Workers Benefit by Maintaining a Work-Life Balance

A ‘work-life’ balance refers to an employee’s ability to maintain a healthy balance between their work roles and their personal and family life. Organizations are recognizing the importance of assisting their employees to achieve this balance as more staff are experiencing conflict between their work and personal roles.

In current times, many employees are seeing their personal responsibilities grow including family commitments, childcare, and elderly care, and volunteer work. This happens to come at a time when their work responsibilities are also increasing, resulting in a conflict between personal and work commitments and an upsurge in stress. An employee’s satisfaction in their personal life and their ability to meet personal commitments greatly affects their success as a worker, which in turn benefits any company. Helping employees to achieve a good work-life balance also enhances work satisfaction and their loyalty to their employer, and helps employers to achieve career longevity. However, along with the greater attention being paid to the importance of achieving a satisfactory work-life balance comes another documented trend which is the multiplying number of persons working from remote locations. This trend mainly refers to technical positions such as developers. For these remote coders, achieving their work-life balance presents a different set of challenges.

The detachment of work from place represents a rising trend. There are certainly some advantages of working remotely such as higher job satisfaction and higher organizational commitment. With the greater attention paid to the importance of having a work-life balance, the question could be asked if having a work-life balance even pertains to remote workers. In fact, it is as important for people doing remote work, either for an organization or independently, to maintain that balance as it is for those who commute to work. Many people do not realize that if you do not maintain solid boundaries between your work and your regular life at home, you are at risk of becoming stressed and even burning out. A 2004 study by Crosbie and Moore mentions that work pressures can spill-over into non-work life as reflected in the lack of ability to ‘switch-off’ and the difficulties encountered in unwinding at the end of the workday.

Fortunately, there are effective strategies to uphold boundaries and achieve a work-life balance when doing remote work. One of the most important of these strategies falls in the area of time management. A foundation for keeping good time management is to set definite hours for work and non-work. Some remote workers prefer working the same hours as if they were working with colleagues in an office. Besides blocking out time to focus on specific tasks whether they be work or home-related, it is important to take breaks and avoid working nonstop for a long period of time. Different remote workers follow different techniques for this. While some persons recommend getting up every hour and stretching, others take a more systematic approach which can involve both time tracking and time segmenting.

With regard to time tracking, there is an application called Yast where one can log one’s time for both professional and personal tasks. To make the Yast system function, it can help to have a countdown timer and a Yast project stopwatch. Other time trackers include Toggl, Manic Time, Harvest, Kimai, Paymo, Tick, TopTracker, and Clokify. For time segmenting, there is the Pomodoro Technique to sharpen one’s focus and concentration. One begins by taking 25 timed minutes to work with no distractions followed by five timed minutes to relax. Once you complete four pomodoros, you are allowed a 20-minute break.

While it may not seem intuitively obvious to some remote workers, wearing the right clothing while doing remote work actually is important. Some remote workers go so far as wearing the same clothing as they would go into the office in order to attain the proper work mindset. Others say that although it may be tempting to work in one’s pajamas, it is actually not the best method for productivity. The idea is to treat your home like a real work environment in order to increase your effectiveness.

Transitions between life and work are also critical in maintaining a good balance. For starters, it is not a good idea to sign on the minute you wake up. A better approach is to follow your normal morning routine, whatever that may be before you begin work. Another recommendation is to do nothing but work in your workspace. One employee needed the boundary of a dedicated room for work so he could physically separate himself from his job. Another woman’s morning transition involved having breakfast and coffee before entering her home office. At the end of her workday, she shuts off her work computer and closes the door to her home office — her need for a physical barrier. It is that last transition from work back to life that may be the most important one. For some, that could involve leaving the workspace when you would leave the office. One of the dangers of working from home is “the temptation to never clock out.” There are remote workers who may still feel the urge to check every email or respond to every Slack notification throughout the evening. If you are available all hours of the day, it will definitely turn into an expectation for your employer and coworkers and your work-life balance will be destroyed.

For others, taking a break, going outside, and attaining some exercise is crucial to clearing one’s head. Getting one’s heart rate up and producing some endorphins can do wonders for productivity. The immediate workspace is very important to other people. Some develoeprs might enjoy a quiet office with natural light. One project designer goes with the philosophy that when one spends so much time in a particular space, that space should make you feel good. What works for her is to have her desk by a window with a few items on her desk as possible.

Finally, there is perspective. An operative quote is “nobody ever died of a marketing emergency.” Employees do better work when they do not ignore their life needs and prioritize them along with their workload. For persons doing remote work, being aware of and keeping that work-life balance will benefit you greatly.

This article was prepared by one of the specialists cooperating with React Rangers. Do you agree with the sentence that remote work enables work-life balance or you think that it makes it even harder to maintain a healthy balance between these two aspects? Visit our website for more information about how you can boost your career with React Rangers.

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