By Thomas Griffin, co-founder and president of OptinMonster
When people imagine working from home, they usually have this idea in their heads about going out for a long lunch, getting work done on the couch and never changing out of their pajamas. These are real perks if you have a remote job. However, there's a lot more to creating a positive work-life balance.
Maintaining a balance between work and personal life is important -- otherwise, you're likely to start experiencing burnout. A 2017 survey by Kronos and Future Workplace found that 46 percent of those surveyed reported that employee burnout accounts for 20 to 50 percent of their companies' annual employee turnover. When people can't take the stress and anxiety, they quit.
The beauty of remote work is that it gives employees and entrepreneurs alike more options about how they want to work. When you work out of the comfort of your own home, it can be difficult to feel like you're doing a job that requires just as much productivity and time management as a nine-to-five. Sometimes it's hard to discipline yourself so you're actively meeting deadlines and running things the way they should be run.
Let's look at a few simple ways you can create a positive work-life balance when you work from home.
Create a dedicated workspace.
It might seem tempting to work on the couch, in your bedroom, in the kitchen or anywhere else inside your home. But when you start to do work tasks from everywhere in the house, the entire space becomes dedicated to working instead of living. When you walk into a room, you'll be reminded of the work you did there and it'll become harder to dissociate your home space from a workspace, which contributes to a negative work-life balance.
If you can't separate work from normal life because of your environment, it's time to switch it up. Create a dedicated space in your house that you use only for the purpose of working and completing work tasks. Invest in a comfy chair and a desk where you can set up. Add personalization with photos, inspiring quotes and art you admire.
Creating this space doesn't mean you can never work from the couch or the kitchen island again, but it sets you up mentally to complete your tasks and get in focus for work mode. If you associate a certain space with work, that's what your mind will gravitate toward when you're in it, and that's the end goal.
Set a work schedule.
With most remote work, the hours are flexible and you can work late into the night or super early in the morning. It's great because it means you can choose to be productive during time slots that are most convenient for you, which likely will result in higher quality work.
However, spreading out tasks so you're doing them every single day can be dangerous territory to walk into. It's more difficult to think of yourself having any free time at all if you're working little by little each day. Mentally, it'll feel like a black hole that never ends.
Try your best to keep a work schedule that's strict and doesn't bleed into other days. If you want to work on the weekends, more power to you, but try not to work every single day. Create a schedule of specific hours you're going to work and dedicate those hours to being productive to avoid burnout.
Commit to your time off.
The worst thing you can do when working remotely is work when you're supposed to take time off. If you truly feel that your company will crumble without you, that means there aren't enough people on staff. You shouldn't feel like the world is near its end because you aren't there or doing your regular tasks. With your computer in such close proximity, it can be tempting to check emails, respond to messages or review upcoming tasks, even when trying to relax.
Commit to your time off the way you commit to working during the week. For your mental health's sake, you need to restrict yourself from checking in at work when you're supposed to be relaxing and taking personal time to recharge your batteries. Some people even feel guilty when they aren't working and are simply doing personal things for themselves, but this is nonsense. You deserve to relax and enjoy life without worrying about how business is going.
Wrapping it up.
Just like it's important to dedicate time to working hard and staying productive, it's just as important to unwind, sit back and enjoy doing nothing at all. Creating a positive work-life balance means you feel fulfilled in and out of work and don't feel so attached to your professional life that you can't enjoy time outside of it. How do you create a balance between work and everyday life?
Thomas Griffin is co-founder and president of OptinMonster. He is an expert software architect with a deep knowledge of building products for the mass market.