Using technology to work from anywhere at any time is a magnificent freedom. Included in the virtual work model are multiple inherent and tangible benefits: travel, increased creativity, increased productivity, increased happiness, health and job satisfaction. The list goes on and on.
However, as with any benefit, there is always an inherent shadow zone that goes unnoticed. The side effect to the wonder drug. Something that needs to be paid attention to and looked out for so as to mitigate its potentially detrimental manifestation. In the case of remote work, that other side of the coin is workaholism.
When productive people are given a tool that allows them to be productive whenever and wherever they wish, occasionally they will push it too far and fail to set boundaries and limits. This attempt at a state of near constant focus can not only lead to a drop in creativity and productivity, but can potentially devolve into burnout. In some cases it can even have an adverse effect on health.
With awareness and discipline there are some easy ways to easily achieve and maintain true work/life balance:
Set Physical Boundaries
If you struggle with overworking yourself it’s very important to set boundaries on where you allow yourself to work. Whether it is a wonderfully appointed home workspace or a particularly comfortable local coffee house, make sure to only work in your designated “work” areas.
Set a strict schedule
This is one of the biggest pitfalls for the remote worker. Just because you always can work doesn’t mean you should. It’s best to maintain work hours that allow you connection with those you collaborate with most. Being available is important. In light of that though be sure to give yourself start and stop times. Give yourself forced exercise breaks. Take a walk. Call your Mom. You know? Live your life?
It’s also in the hours you are not working and removing yourself from work that you can step back and get a better vision and perspective of what needs to happen or how to approach a problem. Great ideas come from everywhere. Allow yourself that space.
Dress the part
Just like when a person can wear sweats all day fall down a Netflix well and chase episode after episode of a show that is intriguing them so can a person chase email after email of work. What usually removes them from their glowing TV cave is a social obligation. They must shower and go to work or to at least interact with other humans outside of their home. This sets the body, mind and attitude in motion for human contact. The same goes for being sucked into working from home. Don’t allow it from the beginning. Get up and get dressed for work even if you work from your house. You’ll be more apt to take a break and venture out into the land of the living.
Shut it down
The entire point of hard work is to develop a wonderful life for yourself and the people you love. Committing oneself to challenging and rewarding endeavor is a beautiful thing in itself but when taken to extremes it has been shown to have a corrosive effect on health and quality of life.
Take these tips and remember to get out and enjoy yourself once in a while because great work/life balance has exponential benefits.