How to find the balance between working from home and home life

Header image for the article How to find the balance between working from home and home life Credit: FSU PUBLICATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT

Over the past year, many people, including students around the world, had to shift their lives to staying at home, which also meant they would need to work from home. With working from home, it has become a lot harder for people to find the balance of relaxing and working from home.

It can be more difficult to focus at home because of so many distractions. It can also be a challenge for people to find the balance of separating the workday from the home day. Especially at the beginning of the pandemic and the stay-at-home order, many people found it hard to find the balance between their home life and work life.

When balancing work life and home life, according to Owl Labs Blog, it is important to set a schedule and try to stick with it. As humans, we are very routine/schedule-based, which we have been taught since birth. Sophia Barron, a writer with Owl Labs Blog explained that working from home can lead to unhealthy levels of flexibility.

“When you have the flexibility to work from anywhere, it can sometimes feel like you need to be available and online anytime, too,” she said. “And if you’re working on a different schedule than the rest of your team, this flexibility can sometimes lend itself to a lack of work-life balance.”

I personally find it a lot easier for me to get distracted throughout the day if I do not have a set routine. For instance, when I get up to work, I must separate my bed and my workspace. So, if I am working at home, I treat my desk as if it were my classroom and my bed as if it were my bed. I am more than likely to want to relax if I were to work from my bed.

Barron also suggested making plans for your after-work hours.

“To that end, if you’re a remote worker seeking a little more work-life balance, make plans for your after-work hours, and stick to them,” she said. “Whether the plans include happy hour drinks with a friend or attending a workout class, if you have somewhere to be at the end of your workday, you’ll be more likely to actually sign off and stop working.”

Being able to schedule time away from the screen is important. Something that I found works for me is after I am done working, I like to take an hour or two where I just strictly go outside and enjoy the outdoors. Just getting some physical activity helps me refocus and reconnect with myself at the end of the day.

Kristin Kumpf, a counsellor at Fanshawe College explained the importance of finding balance between work life and home life.

“I think it depends on the individual,” said Kumpf. “For some people, they just gained travel time, right? If they can do that mental divide, that’s okay. It’s a little harder if you’ve got kids, for instance, that you’re trying to look after, and you can’t do that clear divide between work and that’s more challenging. So, it really depends on the situation. Time management and organization are the key and then talking to the people in your life, getting help if you can.”

Kumpf also suggested that if you do have kids, scheduling time with your partner to take care of them might make it easier for you to focus on work. This could help lighten the load.

“So, if you’ve got kids at home, get a talk maybe with your partner and say, ‘how can we schedule our times so the kids are looked after?’ And we get to spend some time on work. So hopefully, you know, employers can be somewhat flexible.”

For students, it could even be beneficial to separate their home from work, even just by enforcing the idea that your bed is strictly for sleeping and desk is for working.

“This is easier for some people than others,” said Kumpf. “If you have a workspace, even if you only rent a room…. if you can have a little desk in the corner of the room, this is where I do my schoolwork. This is where I’ve worked, rather than sitting on your bed, which is where you sleep. Any little mental cues you can give yourself that this is work time, this is fun time. This is not work time, right?”

For Fanshawe students who want to better their mental health there is a website called welltrack.com and you can sign up for free, using your Fanshawe email. Welltrack.com helps you manage your mental health and give you the proper resources. Balancing work life and home life is especially important during these uncertain times, as we endure another semester of courses being delivered mostly online.