WFH Leading to Work-Life Balance

Photo by Windows on Unsplash

The world witnessed a historic shift in the 2020 job market due to the Covid-19. While some companies used to offer the ability to work from home as a perk, it has now become the norm for most businesses. By 2025, an estimated 70% of the workforce will be working remotely at least five days a month. A year ago, I started work from home with a 27-inch monitor. After a long day of packing, unscrewing legs off desks, and witnessing the project delivery on our beloved table, we were going remote.

Truth talk: I had hesitations about it.

Could I be trusted to work in the same room as my bed?

The answer was yes, and in fact, the transition to working from home went much more smoothly than expected. That’s because all of the benefits I thought were too good to be true, turned out to make me even better at my job. Here’s what I mean:

  1. When I tell someone I work from home- I hear usually one of two things. Either: “You’re so lucky!” or “I could never be trusted to do that.”And both responses ring true. It takes a certain type of person to work remotely-and you might not know whether that’s you until you start. Case in point: Our lead analyst was thrilled to work in a quiet space where nobody would bother him. But for me? I wasn’t certain I’d find my workflow. So, learned to take advantage of the lack of a set of hours and ride waves of productivity and creativity, whenever they sweep in. If I am particularly unmotivated at 1 PM on a Wednesday, I take a break and pick back up in 10 minutes. Conversely, if I finish watching Netflix on a Sunday night and feel the urge to work, I log on and get a jumpstart on the week. When I was no longer strapped to a specific chair in a specific room for 45 hours a week, I no longer had those windows of time when I was just staring at the clock. I scheduled tasks around when I wanted to work and my productivity soared.
  2. You Can Work out in the Middle of the Day -You already know that exercise is good for you, and sitting in a seat all day long isn’t. And all that talk about how you can fit it in when you work from home is true. Studies have shown that remote workers, on average, get more sleep, eat healthier, and exercise more. Of course, just because statistics say it’s true doesn’t mean it’s going to happen magically. Just like you have to buckle down and finish that report on time, you also have to spend that 30 minutes or hour going for a run, or do yoga. My biggest tip is fully embracing work-life balance. I get my best ideas while sweating them out. Being able to escape midday for exercise has helped my productivity immensely. Often, I arrive back at my desk and start my day anew! It gives me fresh ideas-and retires the excuse to skip that end-of-day workout because you’re too tired. Take advantage of it!
  3. You Can Still Have Open Communication- One thing that’ll suffer is the social interactions you used to have in the workplace. You’re not going to be bumping into your co-workers and having spontaneous chats by the coffee machine. But, you can still stay connected to get all of your work done. Of course, the best way to ensure that’ll happen is to plan. I wasn’t worried, because our team set up processes before we made the transition. Every Monday, just like in the office, we hold an All Hands meeting. Here, we stress over-communication. Now, from time to time, an issue will arise that cannot be reasonably solved with a few exchanges on Google hangout. In that case, we schedule a phone call or Google Hangout and have been able to work through any problem.
  4. A Happier and Healthier Work Life- Remote, flexible workers tend to be happier and more loyal employees, in part because WFH has been shown to lower stress, provide more time for hobbies and interests, and improve personal relationships, among other things. In addition to personal health and well-being, co-worker and manager relationships can be more positive without the distractions and politics that come along with an in-office job. A reported 72% of employers say remote work has a high impact on employee retention-plainly put, employees, are sticking with their employer when they have remote work options.

WFH can also lead to better health in a variety of ways:-

  • More time for physical activity
  • The ability to eat healthier
  • Can recover from illness or surgery at home
  • Less exposure to illnesses
  • Ease of caring for a health issue or disability
  • The option to create a comfortable and ergonomic workspace.

Working remotely can give employees the time and environment needed to make healthy choices.

According to FlexJobs’ survey, 95% of respondents say that their productivity has been higher or the same working from home, and 51% report being more productive when working remotely. Top reasons for increased productivity include:

  • Fewer interruptions
  • More focused time
  • Quieter work environment
  • More comfortable workspace
  • Not being involved in office politics

Despite pandemic challenges, working parents also report increased productivity, with 49% of working mothers and 50% of working fathers saying they are more productive working from home.

How to Be a Productive, Effective Remote Team Member

The technology is here; it’s never been easier to communicate and collaborate with people anywhere, any time.” — Jason Fried, Remote: Office Not Required

Here are some best practices:

  • Understand the “Why. It can be easy to give a remote worker a task list without helping them understand the business goals behind what they’re doing. Everyone works better when they are in sync with the company vision and how their work ties into those goals. If they know the “Why” they can be a part of the creative process to help reach the company’s goals. On the flip side, if your manager gives you a task and you don’t understand why you are doing it or how it will help the company, ask!
  • Make sure each person has multiple tasks on their plate and is clear on their priorities. Sometimes when working remotely, you get stuck on one task because you need to ask someone else about it and they are asleep because of time zone differences or are focused on something else. This is fine as long as everyone has a next task to turn to while waiting on feedback from someone else.
  • Respect work schedules when planning meetings. No one likes having to move their plans because of a last-minute meeting. Keep in mind different time zones and try to work together to set meeting times that work for everyone. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to work together asynchronously.

Having a Balanced Life is Crucial to Success

One challenge for remote workers is setting boundaries between work and their personal life so they can be effective and stay sane.

Don’t work all the time. For real, this is very important. Your brain needs a break to recharge and be creative. Set up do not disturb times in slack which can let you relax and not get buzzed with notifications. Don’t be afraid to tell someone you’ll get back to them tomorrow. You having a life makes you a better worker too.

Be truly productive when you are working. Focus on using the hours in the best possible way. Setup your environment so you can focus and make sure you are clear on your priorities (otherwise ask your manager). If you work best with a separate workspace from your home life, you might find yourself setting aside an area of your home to be a home office or looking into nearby co-working spaces.

The Future of Remote Working

The rise of remote working is still early. There will continue to be naysayers and allegations of unsustainability from people who have never given it a chance. The inflection point has already occurred though, and there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. We are a recession away from the death of office work, where companies will realize the money they spend on office space is the most unnecessary expense on their balance sheets. In the same way that Airbnb massacred the hotel industry by redistributing capacity to the homes of people willing to rent it out, remote working will do the same things to offices where capacity will be redistributed to workers’ homes.

The future is already here!!!

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store