How to Find Work-Life Balance as a Remote Employee
Tips from our CEO on making the most of an office-free lifestyle
Working from home is becoming increasingly popular, with an estimated 66% of companies now allowing remote work and 16% operating completely office-free. RebelMouse is one of those fully remote companies, and over the years we've mastered how to stay close to each other despite being spread across more than a dozen countries. We believe working remotely is good for both our personal lives and our productivity. Read more about this here.
Still, working free from the shackles of an office environment doesn't mean every day is a dance party in your pajamas from 9 to 5. Working from home comes with its own set of challenges just like any other job.
Our team recently found the article What Most Remote Companies Don't Tell You About Remote Work, which summarizes the pitfalls that come with having no "real" place to work. For digital nomads, the travel-and-work lifestyle can bring on feelings of isolation and depression. For employees who choose to stay home most of the time, the lack of social activity can also cause similar anxieties and feelings of listlessness.
Additionally, no office structure or set routine perpetuates skewed perceptions about productivity. Many times, remote employees end up working longer hours and burning out more quickly than traditional office workers. As the article points out, "There's a sense of personal responsibility to get 'enough' done that can lead people to keep themselves working long past the point of optimal productivity."
Whatever mental challenges remote work yields, there are some routines you can work into your schedule to ensure you're getting the same work-life balance that "normal" employees strive to achieve. Our founder and CEO Andrea Breanna, who let go of RebelMouse's office in 2017, has some tips for combatting remote-work fatigue.
Take a Walk: It sounds so simple, but when you get in the routine of not leaving one spot, sometimes taking a walk seems like a big task. The hardest part is just getting out the door. Make it a point to get outside for a 30-minute walk once or twice a day as a brain break. Head to a coffee shop or a place you like to visit to reward yourself for finishing a project or task before you start the next one. You'll be surprised how much better you feel when you get back.
Group Exercise: Moving your body in various forms is a healthy and natural way to reduce any feelings of anxiety or situational depression. Whether it's yoga, spinning, dance, or something else that gets you away from a screen, participating in an activity as a group brings a sense of community that you may miss from an office environment.
Structure Your Day: The beauty of having no office is that you can create a routine that works best for you. Identify the times of day you're most productive, and prioritize those hours for work. Be sure to set a time where you can unplug from email and tasks to truly unwind. A great way to make sure you step away from your computer is to schedule an afternoon exercise class or activity that will mark the end of your work day. Once the activity is over, let it serve as your own personal signal that it's time to decompress.
Abundant Thinking: At RebelMouse, we try to practice abundant thinking. Read more about what this means here. In short, workers often adopt a scarcity-driven mindset, fueled by the idea that there isn't enough time. A change of perspective can help reverse this world view. Abundant thinking can increase productivity and help you better understand the vast opportunities and achievements waiting for you. Here are some examples of the differences between a scarcity mindset and an abundant-thinking mindset:
Chart from "The Remarkable Advantage of Abundant Thinking."
It's important to remember that there is no correct way to to work remotely. However, taking a proactive approach to preventing some of the mental ruts that can come with remote work will create more space for all of the wonderful benefits of an office-free lifestyle. Whether you are a digital nomad in a new location every few days, or working at home to have the freedom to pick up your children from school, it still comes down to finding the right balance of working from home and living from home.
Do you have your own tips on making the most out of working from home? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org!