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Too Good To Be True?: Is Work-Life Balance Actually Possible for Remote Employees?

Too Good To Be True?: Is Work-Life Balance Actually Possible for Remote Employees?

There is this great appeal to remote work– escaping the daily commute, being in the comfort of your home, etc. Because of this, many assume that remote employees have it easy. But for many, a constant question remains: can you truly achieve work-life balance while working remotely?

The answer, like most things in life, is not a simple yes or no. It’s a complex thing between individual preferences, company culture, and the presence of the always-present technology. However, handling this thing isn’t impossible, and understanding its key elements can help you create a more balanced work life.

The Blurred Lines:

One of the biggest challenges for remote employees is the blurring of boundaries between work and personal life. Without the physical separation of an office, it’s easy to find yourself checking emails late at night or answering calls while doing your stuff. This constant connection can lead to stress, burnout, and difficulty truly disconnecting from work.

  • The Illusion of Constant Availability:
    Remote work environments often lack clear distinctions between work hours and personal time. This can create a sense of constant “on-call” status, even outside designated work hours. This constant potential for work communication, through emails, messaging platforms, or project management tools, can lead to a feeling of pressure to be readily available, even during personal time.
  • Difficulty “Leaving Work at Work”:
    The physical separation of a traditional office environment naturally creates a boundary between work and personal life. When working remotely, this physical separation might be absent, blurring the lines between the two. This can lead to employees neglecting personal activities or necessities for fear of missing work-related notifications. It can also be difficult to fully unwind and de-stress when the physical environment associated with work is constantly present.
  • Impact on Mental and Physical Wellbeing: 
    The constant connection to work can contribute to increased stress levels and feelings of burnout. This can manifest in a variety of ways, including difficulty sleeping, decreased productivity, and emotional exhaustion. The lack of clear boundaries can also make it difficult to truly disconnect and recharge, leading to damage to work-life balance.

The Importance of Boundaries:

While convenience is a major advantage, it is important to establish clear boundaries to avoid burnout. Here are some tips:

  • Set dedicated work hours:
    Stick to this shift as much as possible, and avoid checking emails or work messages outside of them.
  • Create a designated workspace:
    This can be a specific room in your house or even just a dedicated corner of your desk. Having a physical separation between work and personal space can help signal to your brain when it’s time to switch gears.
  • Communicate boundaries clearly:
    Let your colleagues and clients know your work hours and when you can be reached. Be assertive and stick to your boundaries – they are essential for your well-being.

How Company Culture Contributes:

The company culture you work for can significantly impact your work-life balance as a remote employee. Keep an eye out for a company that:

  • Respect personal time:
    Discourage working outside of designated hours and encourage employees to take breaks and vacations.
  • Promote convenient home-working arrangements:
    Allow for flexible options to either work at the office or do remote work based on the employee. 
  • Offer clear communication and expectations:
    Ensure you have a clear understanding of your work responsibilities and deadlines, so you can manage your time effectively.

The Personal Factor:

Ultimately, achieving work-life balance as a remote employee is a personal journey. What works for one person might not work for another. Try out different habits, find what works best for you, and don’t be afraid to adapt your approach as needed.

Here are some additional tips that you can practice to find your own balance:

  • Prioritize self-care:
    Schedule time for activities you enjoy, like exercise, hobbies, or spending time with loved ones.
  • Be mindful of your technology usage:
    Set limitations on screen time and consider using apps or tools that help manage distractions.
  • Take breaks throughout the day:
    Get up, move around, and step away from the screen to recharge your mental and physical energy.

Remember, achieving work-life balance is a continuous effort. By setting healthy boundaries, aligning with a supportive company culture, and finding what works best for you as an individual, you can create a more balanced and fulfilling work life as a remote employee. So, embrace the convenience, prioritize your well-being, and rewrite the story of what seems like too good to be true; achieve work-life balance in the remote set-up!

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