Getting A Work-Life Balance When Home Working

Tips & guides

6 April 2018

Maintaining a fair work-life balance is one of the biggest stress inducers for Britons – according to the AXA Stress Index, it's a concern for 29% of men and 36% of women.

And when ‘home’ and ‘office’ are one and the same, the boundaries between office and off-duty become even more blurred.

So if your home doubles up as your office, here's how to draw the line and bring your life back into balance.

Find your own space

Having a separate work space away from leisure areas can help to boost your productivity. Try to avoid working in areas where you also relax – like the couch, dining table or master bedroom. A dedicated office room is the ideal, because you can lock it at the end of the day. If you don't have the space, set up your desk in a corner of a room instead, or use a room divider.

Don't get distracted by chores

Clothes washing, dog walking and dishwasher emptying – when you work from home, it's easy to end up tackling housework during the work day. These jobs do need to get done, so try doing them in designated breaks by using the Pomodoro technique. This productivity method involves 25 minutes of concentrated work, followed by a short break. Not only will this help your work productivity, it will also give you a set time to tackle chores.

Set a routine (and stick to it)

When you work in a corporate office there's a set time to head home. When you work from home it's easy to lose track of time, as there are no visual cues to show it's time to wind down. Stick to a set schedule, aiming to leave the office around the same time as you would if you had to commute home.

Fake a commute

We all complain about our commutes, but in reality that time at the end of the day is a chance to wind down and transition from work to evening. Give yourself a faux-commute by heading outside for a 20-minute walk after shutting down for the day. This gives your brain a chance to switch off, and you'll also get the sense of 'coming home'.

Have offline evenings

Lock your office door, slip your laptop in a drawer or pop a decorative screen in front of your desk. Whichever way you do it, keeping your workspace out of sight should help to keep it out of mind too. Once you get home from your evening walk, switch your phone off to avoid out-of-hours emails and do something that you actually enjoy. For most Britons (47% of men, 54% of women) this means watching TV, but it could be listening to music or reading a book.

Get out more

Not leaving the house for days at a time can be psychologically unhealthy, so schedule some time to get out and do something interesting during the week. Even if it's just working from a café for an hour, trying out a new class at your gym or heading out for a mid-week cinema trip, it should put you in a better headspace and help to improve your work life balance.