Working from home is on the rise, with numerous benefits to both employees and employers. Less commute time, greater flexibility and the ability to create teams comprised of people from all over the world contribute the appeal of remote work. But what if we told you that the shorter commute from your bed to the computer can actually result in less time at home? You might find it hard to “shut off” both literally and metaphorically. Luckily, we have tips for creating work-life balance — even when work and life happen in the same place. 

Why is work-life balance important?

Before we jump into how you can better balance your job and home life, let’s tell you why it's important. We live in an age where work and no play seem to make Jack a successful boy. However, research shows that people who are self-proclaimed “workaholics” are less productive than their more balanced counterparts. Why? Burnout or mental fatigue sets in when continuously work without giving your body and brain a break, even if you're doing something you enjoy. Not to mention the obvious, which is more time at work equals less time for family, friends and personal goals. 

Those with a healthy balance report feeling better mentally, enjoying their home lives more, being happier at their jobs and more productive.

How to balance working remote

The work-life balance tips already out there have a focus on those who commute to their job. It is easier to leave work at, well, work, when you don’t live in the same place. The drive home also serves as a time to decompress and switch into who you are outside of the office. These are little luxuries you don’t have as a remote worker, so what can you do?

Make it 9 to 5

The flexibility to work anywhere doesn’t mean you need to create the flexibility to work at any time. Since you’re home it’s easier to convince yourself to just answer emails until dinner time, but working up to the buzzer will eventually catch up with you. Instead, set your work hours and when they are done, agree to be done. If you find yourself wanting something productive to do, channel it towards self-care instead. A short walk or a shower can give you the transition time that usually occurs during the drive home from the office.   


Speaking of setting a schedule, next comes boundaries. Setting that schedule for yourself also means setting it with your coworkers. If you're able to, clearly list your hours for others to see. You can also remove your work email from your phone and create a message saying that emails will be checked and responded to between your set hours. Having your work email on your phone will only encourage you to answer “just one more” while you should be catching up with friends. Another important app to keep to your work computer alone is Slack. Set up an away message and then be away!

Take breaks

You might feel like you are slacking off by taking breaks, but they are completely necessary when working alone at home. An office life involves breaks for lunch, socialization between coworkers, and even that oh-so-important water cooler chat. Similarly, your at-home breaks don’t need to be long, but they do need to exist. So take the time to cook something for lunch, or watch one episode of your latest Netflix series. You will find you can get through the end-of-the-day slump a little easier.  

Make plans after work

If you find it hard to step away from your computer when you're by yourself, don’t worry, we get it. That's why we suggest making plans with friends or reservations after work. Stopping the clock to simply sit on a couch might not be motivating enough, but your buddy texting “where you at?” definitely is. These after-work plans also give you that decompress-in-car-time that remote workers lack. Belt your favourite tunes then laugh with your friends and leave work at home!  

Give your office a home

Sadly, this tip isn’t about scooping up your favorite coworker. Instead, it is about creating a separate office space in your house. Simply setting up your laptop on your couch won’t create the distinction you need. If you can, create a work environment in a spare room or part of the house that isn’t used on a daily. Not only does this help with balance, but it also helps with distractions while you work. Being in the living room (or any shared space) might encourage others who live there to ask you for help or distract you in other ways. Separating those two areas of your life benefits you both at home and at work.  

Dress to impress

This one might seem a little silly, but we promise there is a reason behind it. If you simply get up and go to work immediately, then you might feel like all you do is sleep and work, and you’d be right! Instead, use that time when you don’t have to drive to prepare for the day. Get dressed, make breakfast, skim the morning news. This doesn’t only serve as self-care, it also wakes you up mentally. How many of us are truly able to answer emails the second we open our eyes?


Those meetings that seemed so boring at the office are especially important for remote workers. These might be the only moments you can truly talk to and see your coworkers. Many report that the main downside of working from home is the lack of social interaction. While meetings are not usually high up on anyone's list, they provide that interaction that you need. Not to mention, meetings also help avoid any miscommunications that can occur when simply emailing back and forth and never actually getting to talk to your coworkers and boss. 

Eating a proper lunch

Let’s not forget the importance of food. This doesn’t just apply to work: having a balanced diet is key to having a balanced life in general. While it may be easier to justify not eating until your stomach is growling at home or grabbing small snack items to eat at your desk, your brain needs fuel and you need the break that the office cafeteria would usually provide. We aren’t saying you need to become a chef and whip up some protein-packed delicacy every day, but taking that break and eating an actual meal will significantly help your mood and productivity.  

Let's recap

Creating the proper work-home balance, especially when they involve the same space, is necessary. Not only will you feel happier and more fulfilled, but your work will improve. While it may seem counterproductive to make your home more like your work, it creates the balance you need. Getting dressed in the morning, setting work and end hours, taking breaks and going out with friends after are all parts of office life that can help when applied to remote work. Hopefully, with these tips, you can avoid the burnout that often happens with current workloads and live a happier life.  

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