When working from home goes wrong
When you mix up your home and work life, some things are bound to take disastrous turns. Your sleep schedule can get messed up to the point that you walk around like a zombie, or your work suffers because you are too busy chilling. Here is what you can do when working from home goes wrong.
Some things are not bound to be mixed, such as oil and water, salt and milk, and to some extent, work-life and home life. Yet, when you set up your home office, whether due to the necessity of working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or the nature of your job being as such, things can get complicated because you have to mix up two aspects of your life that are best kept separate.
A Home Office requires an equal, if not higher, level of commitment than working from an office. And when you have your personal life to manage, things can get tangled up, or simply spiral out of control.
And to restore that order, here are some of our tips that can help you make things a little less complicated when working from home goes wrong. And unless you like walking around like an overworked sleepless zombie, or an irritated, angry beast (and we are not judging if you do), you need some useful management tricks to make sure that working from home works for you.
What is the big deal?
It may not seem like a big deal that your work life is merged with your home life. After all, it should just make things easier, right? You do not have to commute to and from work, and there is no hassle of wearing a new outfit each day. You also do not have to maintain your appearance and posture around everybody
continually, and there is no one around to watch you gorge down your lunch like the incredible Hulk. When you look at these positives, especially the eating part, a home office sounds a great idea! And it is. Until working from home goes wrong, it is the best-case scenario we could all wish for.
But what if you do not feel like working on a particular day? There is no need to take sick leave, or make countless excuses, so that is a plus. But what if that day stretches out into a week with no work without your realizing it? That sounds like a problem.
Or what if, due to the drive to perform, you end up working all day long, and physically and mentally exhaust yourself? What happens when you fail to distinguish your work from your life and become tired of both?
Working from home can be confusing after a while, despite all of its benefits. It can result in hilarity (often for others) if you forget to wear your pants during a video conference, or are interrupted by screaming kids in the middle of a meeting, as has happened to countless individuals recently while working from home. Do not believe us? Just google it (or read our article 15 MOST EMBARRASSING AND FUNNY ZOOM MEETING MOMENTS!
There is a reason that work and personal life are not usually mingled, and that is because it is challenging to maintain a balance between the two. And keeping that distinction between the two is crucial for good mental health. It is not all bleak, though! With these expert tips and tricks, you can change your Home Office disasters in productive monsters.
Managing the difference between home and work
“Balance is not better time management but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.” – Betsy Jacobson
One of the main reasons that working from home goes wrong is when you cannot effectively manage your time between work and personal life. This is called the Work-Life balance and has been extensively and widely applied by global corporations and governments to improve employees’ working conditions.
The Work-Life balance requires maintaining the boundaries and priorities of each aspect of your life to negatively affect the others.
Leaving your work in your office is no longer an option, so maintaining your boundaries is all the more critical if you want peace at home. Designate a portion of your day to your work, when that time is past, try not to focus on your work. You need to understand that even though you are working from home, work and home are two separate concepts and should be treated as such.
When your designated work hours are over, leave work behind and focus on personal things, like chores around the house, a favorite hobby, or catching up on family and social time. By following a few tricks can also help you manage the difference between your work and home a little better.
Making a home office work schedule
Managing your time is essential for a productive work routine. Just as you have designated office hours, managing your time at home is necessary for productivity and stress-free life. You would need to prioritize your tasks and daily activities, including work, and set time frames that will be best for their execution. You can turn off your work phone after work hours to ensure that no disturbances, and similarly, switching off your personal devices when it is work time.
The best thing about working from home is that you can easily customize your schedule, without being forced to adhere to someone else’s rules. You can utilize this feature and turn it into your favor by drafting an excellent plan especially designed for you. This will help keep the Home office blunders at the minimum.
Sticking to your home office work schedule
Just so you know that making a schedule is not the only thing that you need to do, we have added a separate section on sticking to your schedule. When working from home goes wrong, it is probably due to not sticking to your plan rather than not having one. Make sure that you adhere to the routine that you have set for yourself. Here are a few steps on how to do this:
- Print out your schedule and have it placed somewhere you will be able to see it.
- Set your alarms at intervals, so you are reminded of scheduled tasks, or tell you the time because it sure flies faster when we are busy doing nothing.
- Make a reward system for yourself for motivation, like only checking your social media after work, or looking forward to some delicious lunch after the day’s work.
See also our article HOW DO I KEEP MY FOCUS WHILE WORKING FROM HOME?
Separate Work Place
Just as we have previously established the importance of a separate work palce as your home office, it is all the more important to avoid mishaps and increase productivity. Even if it is just a desk away from your usual living room furniture, the significance of a separate work area (disassociated from your home life) cannot be underestimated. Designating that area as ‘work-only’ is a great way to create boundaries.
When you leave that work area, you are free from work. And when you enter that area, you should be all about work.
Learning when to say no, and where yes is justified
Managing boundaries does not necessarily mean that you have to cut off work absolutely when the clock strikes two (or whichever time is your game), nor does it mean working till the work is complete even if you barely hanging from the edge of overwork. You need to learn when working more is acceptable, and when it is just messing with healthy home life.
Just as you would work overtime at the office once in a while, working past your office hours in your home office is needed sometimes. You need to be able to judge when it is essential and when it is not.
Mental health is important
The most important thing to remember when working from home is that mismanagement of your time and a lousy routine can have detrimental effects on your mental and emotional health. To avoid stress and side effects of overworking like burnout and exhaustion, you need to set limits to your work at home and make time for yourself:
- Take scheduled breaks throughout the day to free yourself from work-driven pressure.
- When you feel overworked or tired, immediately stop what you are doing and do some breathing exercises. Do not worry; a few minutes are not going to overturn your whole project. Focus on your breathing, do a few stretches, get up and up, and open your window, do anything to change your surroundings a bit.
- Take a walk every day after work. Even if it is just around your block or in your garden, walking every day is a great way to unwind and de-stress after work.
Remember, without good mental health, you cannot be productive in your work or your home life, so that should be your priority.
Staying proactive Socially
There are two ways that you must socially proactive to have the maximum advantages of a home office and reduce the chances of working from home going wrong: work social life and home social life.
For your social work life, maintain contact with your coworkers and fellow employees throughout the work hours. This will ensure workplace comradery, motivate you to work better, and keep you up to date with the latest work events. You can even delegate extra work to others or exchange updates on a project to increase the overall productivity.
For your home social life, make sure to spend some time with your friends and family as you usually would after work. This is also a great technique to help you unwind from work, and make a distinction between your home and work life that can be hard to achieve when working from home.
More helpful information you can find in our article WORKING FROM HOME CAN BE LONELY.
If you still manage to cause some blunders, even after these great tips, relax and enjoy the perks of working from home. And if you accidentally send a personal email in your workgroup, all the best to you!