Remote work used to be a dream for many professionals. I mean, who wouldn’t love the freedom and flexibility that comes with working from anywhere? Besides, do you really need anything more than a laptop and a stable internet connection?
Now, it’s been more than a year since much of the world started working from home, and it’s kept many people safe without losing their livelihood for the most part. But let’s face it, working from home can be a double-edged sword. Technology makes remote collaboration possible, but the lack of boundaries can result in high-stress levels and Zoom fatigue. In fact, studies show that we are working longer now that we’re stuck at home.
If you’re struggling with maintaining a healthy work-life balance, here are some tips to help you out:
Set Realistic Expectations
There’s a huge difference between the remote work lifestyle that bloggers and digital nomads engage in and the one/s most Filipino remote talent are experiencing. The former was made by choice while the latter was borne of necessity due to government restrictions. There’s also the fact that as of this writing, many Filipinos can’t really leave their homes, and this results in a high level of stress and anxiety.
Thus, it’s important to be realistic when it comes to setting deadlines and targets. Do give allowances because your remote team is operating under less than ideal circumstances. For instance, don’t be too hard on them if you hear crying babies or barking dogs during video calls and understand that it might take them a bit longer to complete certain tasks.
Have a Plan
A good plan saves you time, especially if you have a myriad of tasks and meetings ahead of you. Starting your work day without identifying your goals and targets first messes up your priorities and could cause you to waste time on unimportant tasks that aren’t urgent at all. You don’t need to come up with a formal schedule. A rough to-do list will suffice.
The key thing is to have clear goals for the day.
Start Your Day Properly
It’s tempting to wake up late and to work in your pajamas, but that’s not exactly the best way to start your day. The right morning routine, for instance, preps your body and mind for the work ahead.
What should your morning routine include? You can start with a virtual commute. Listing the day’s tasks and goals is also a good place to start, as is dressing up for work – even if you’re not leaving the house.
There are no hard and fast rules for what your morning routine should include, so long as it gets you into the right frame of mind. Plus, you can always add or amend as needed.
Find (Or Make) Space
Never ever work in your bed. Sure, not everyone has enough space (or money) for a home office, but working where you sleep (and vice versa) can disrupt your boundaries and make you feel caged in.
For starters, find a reasonably quiet space where you can work without interruptions. Working on the couch is fine, but if you can put together a sturdy table, comfortable chair, and good lighting, so much the better.
Use Tools to Avoid Distractions
Procrastination is a constant enemy for many people who work from home. Fortunately, there are certain tools that can help guard against these.
For example, a plain timer can signal your working hours and breaks. You can also download time-tracking or site-blocking apps to ensure that you’re not checking your social media accounts too often.
If you’re worried about your remote team getting sidetracked, there are productivity monitoring apps out there too. Remote Staff actually provides its own especially-designed program for its clients and subcontractors. *wink*wink*
Because working from home blurs the boundaries between our personal and professional lives, many remote workers are prone to burnout. Far too many accommodate calls and emails well beyond the regular working hours without even realizing it.
If we want to keep performing well (and staying sane while doing it), we have to take care of our physical and mental health. This means imposing and maintaining boundaries that can help us recharge after a tiring week at work.
So, go ahead. Turn off work notifications once you’re off the clock. Resist the urge to check your email when you do. And don’t feel guilty about leaving some emails unanswered especially if they don’t need an urgent reply.
While the vaccine rollouts give us hope, staying sane is critical amidst such challenging times. If you’re experiencing difficulties in managing your remote teams, take a step back for a bit. Or better yet, ask for help from industry experts.
Remote Staff has been fostering harmonious relationships between AU SMEs/entrepreneurs and Filipino remote workers for 14 years and counting. We help you find, retain, and manage the remote talents you need so you can focus on growing your business – and on taking care of your physical and mental health.