Working From Home: The Grass is not Always Greener

Commuting to work is a drag, and those that do it every day envy people that get to work at home. They don’t have to endure the hassle and cost of a commute. They don’t have to deal with a co-workers annoying habit of singing randomly and they don’t even need to get out of their pajamas if they don’t want to.

What these office workers don’t understand is that working from home has its own difficulties. Specifically, it can be hard for them to shut off their workday. It’s not uncommon for professionals who work from home to look and see that it’s midnight and they’re still creating reports. Maintaining a healthy work/life balance can be a complicated balancing act for many who work from home.

Fortunately, work-from-homers can take steps to improve their work/life balance and retain their sanity.

  1. Set up a time for your “close of business”: Set normal working hours for yourself and stick to them. Whether you start work at 9 and stop at 5, or work from 11 to 7, make sure the hours you set do not intrude too much on your personal life. Giving up that can be very detrimental. You know, all work and no play etc.
  2. Do something for yourself: Whenever you establish your workday is over you should do something for yourself. This can be something simple: Maybe you want to relax on the couch and stream a few episodes of your favorite sitcom. Or it can be a bigger deal, such as a dinner date with a friend or a trip to the movies. This will help get you mentally out of your work.
  3. Leave the house: It’s easy as a work-from-homer to spend all of your time at home. You look up, see it’s the end of the week, and find that the only time you left your house was to go to the grocery store when you ran out of cereal. Don’t become a work-from-home shut-in. It’s simply not healthy.

Overwork leads to stress, whether you work from home, in an office, or out in the field. The key to holding onto your sanity, no matter how you work, is to reserve non-work time for yourself. So what happens if you can’t force yourself to shut off the workday? Maybe it’s time to contemplate returning to the office, where there’s always someone around to shut off those lights and chase you out of your cubicle.