Working from home during the pandemic has been a challenge for many people for so many different reasons. I have colleagues that have had to manage being alone working from home during the pandemic, or managing having their significant other or kids at home, or even trying to understand how to navigate as a new empty nester during the pandemic.
Many people have experienced burnout. Others have picked up side-hustles and have been managing those along with remote work, and for some, even with the extra money, that could be overwhelming at times as well. However, with all that has come with managing remote work as a career professional, I think it's possible to still find peace even in the midst of our continuously changing world and multiple responsibilities.
Here are a few key tips that come to mind when it comes to managing remote work as a career professional:
1) Really reflect on what your non-negotiables are when it comes to your work schedule during this season in your life
Employers have different approaches to what their expectations are from you as a remote worker. Reflect on what your current responsibilities are to your family and friends and also how much leisure time you want to have amidst your work responsibilities. Think about what an ideal life and ideal schedule would look like for you when it comes to what's in your control.
For example, if your employer allows a late start, think about if you would prefer to sleep in, take a morning Starbucks trip, go to the gym, or take a walk somewhere beautiful. Or maybe there's another way you ideally would want to spend your mornings if you had the freedom to decide that. Also consider the same questions when it comes to what you'd like to do with your lunch time or after-work time that would be ideal.
If you're someone who has picked up side hustles as you're doing remote work, identify if the financial gain from the side hustles or the passion you might experience outweigh the additional work it takes to balance your side hustle and your full-time work. You may decide to work your side hustle just a few days a week or during certain seasons when you are desiring additional income, based on how you desire to ideally spend your time.
2) Establish clear starting and ending times for work.
I have had jobs in the past where employers are very strict around when work starts and finishes, but when those lines are blurred, even pre-pandemic, work-life balance can become harder. I can remember being an employee who had work flow into vacation time, family time, TV time, dinner time, and more. Remote work during the pandemic made it harder for individuals who were used to a very clear separation between work and home that happened when they arrived at work or left work.
If your job culture allows you to advocate for work boundaries, clearly establish when you will start and stop work. Be sure that your work colleagues know when you have started and stopped work. Then ensure that you are meeting or exceeding the expectations of your teams through the quality of work you're doing during those work hours. Maya Angelou once said, "You teach people how to treat you." If you can establish clear starting and ending times for your work especially as you're starting new roles, if that's appropriate for your company and type of work, then you can help your colleagues adjust to what works best for you to be able to show up as your best for your team.
This might also result in you being happier, healthier, more engaged at work, and more energized as a result of having time for self-care, family, friends, and fun outside of work.
3) Identify systems of accountability for balancing your work-from-home life
Though we all have good intentions for balancing our career life and home life, there are specific things we can do to ensure our work-from-home life is balanced.
A few ideas of what has worked for my current and previous Executive Coaching clients who have worked remotely are:
Having a specific daily routine in place based on a time management structure within Google Calendar or another calendar tool.
Setting alarms that remind you to transition to different aspects of the day that are personal or professional in nature.
Blocking your calendar and addressing specific work priorities during designated time blocks. If it's within your power, avoid having work meetings placed on your calendar during timeframes that are critical for you to create quality work products before or by deadlines. You can also consider negotiating having time during work hours to implement priorities if the company that you work for has frequent meetings.
You may have heard a number of these tips before or they might be new to you, but my hopes are that you continue to implement whatever is needed to strive towards having a work-life balance that is in alignment with your values when it comes to how you spend your time, even as you are working remotely.
As always, please feel free to share this pst with friends or family who you think might benefit from it.
Photo credit: Brandy Kennedy on Unsplash