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Remote Work and Work Life Balance

Chances are, you spend some of your time working at home.

Be it on phone calls, or in a home office, with the value of office space constantly rising, many employers are choosing to allow their employees to work from home sometimes, if not always.

But what does this mean for work-life balance?
How do you know when to walk away from the computer, or switch your phone onto silent?
It can be all too easy to get sucked into working 10- or 12-hour days when you have the “freedom” to do so from anywhere.

work life balance

The office from a different perspective

Last year, Brian Towers and John Wiley & Sons Ltd published “Assessing the growth of remote working and its consequences for effort, well-being and work-life balance” in New Technology, Work and Employment. The study’s authors, Alan Felstead and Golo Henseke wanted to assess the scale with which work is being detached from traditional office settings, as well as the consequences that working remotely has for work effort, job-related well-being, and work-life balance. While many assume that working from home has positive effects for all, the study took an objective, research-based approach at measuring the real consequences derived from the changing traditional workplace.

So, naturally we at Ampere were curious about the phenomenon. While the study itself is interesting, and we’ll summarize the findings here, we also wanted to give some practical advice on getting the most out of your work and productivity given the changing atmosphere of the workplace.

To summarize the researchers’ findings, the article examined what is known as the ‘spatial revolution’ – the presumption that work is losing its spatial fixity, and so workers are able to work from anywhere they see fit, together with the assumption that this is a positive change. However, according to the data, evidence for the truthfulness of those assumptions is lacking. So, workers still need to ensure that they are taking care of their mental and physical health despite being able to work from anywhere.

Ensure your work-life balance and remain productive

Some ideas and suggestions.

1. Get dressed!

Sometimes it can be really tempting to stay in your pajamas and sit at the computer all day, but human resources experts find that this can be a detriment to your health and productivity. Getting dressed will put you in a work-based mindset and ensure you get off to a positive start to your workday.

2. Create a workspace

Again, it can be tempting to just pull your laptop onto your lap and start chatting with your coworkers from your bed. We strongly recommend against this, because it can lead to problems when you need to wind down. Just like it’s best not to keep your phone next to your bed, working from the bed, or your sofa where you relax blurs boundaries and could leave you feeling like you’re constantly “on”.

3. Take breaks

Sometimes, working from home can leave you feeling trapped in your own space. Remember to schedule time to do things you enjoy outside of the house. Whether it’s joining a book club, or sports organization, or even just going out for a coffee, it’s extremely important to leave your house! These days it is so easy to have everything delivered straight to your door, so it can be easy to get stuck and find yourself feeling trapped. Schedule time for breaks and be sure to get outside!

4. Schedule your time

Make sure that your coworkers understand that your time is valuable, and you are not constantly on call. Set up a task manager and calendar, and let your colleagues know when you are available for interruptions. Try to schedule calls ahead of time, so you can plan your time effectively and don’t feel like you have to be constantly at the computer.

5. Move!

This is a no-brainer, but we wanted to remind you! Be sure to take the time to go for a walk, stretch, and engage in physical activity. Stand-up desks are a great option, or treadmill desks, which allow you to walk while you type or chat away!

We think that flexibility is key, and the ability to work from anywhere is certainly the way of the future, especially in jobs centered around services or communication. Do you work from home? How do you manage your work life balance? We’d love to hear about your experience! As we have seen, the research is still ongoing, but we know this will be a field that continues to develop.
As the workforce changes and younger people begin working, we will see the implications of remote work.