Having better work-life balance is the dream of many professionals. I find it hard to maintain balance in a remote world. When I first started working remotely, I thought that I would have a better balance between work and my personal life. For the simple fact that I was at home and around my family more. In fact, for myself at least, that was the complete opposite.
In a normal brick and mortar job, once I clocked out, my personal life took precedence over my work. If I received an email, it would wait until the next business day. When I started working remotely I would be searching the internet in the evening and see an email pop up. Instead of ignoring it until the next day, I would answer it. There were several nights I was working at 11pm. It was all because my work was at home with me, and I didn’t get to leave it in an office 30minutes away. If my family was traveling I worked while we were on vacation, essentially I was able to do the majority of my work from my phone.
One day while I was exhausted and worn out, I started almost wishing for a brick and mortar job. I thought back to why I was able to have a better balance in a brick and mortar job, and it hit me. I had better boundaries. When I was at work I was present and attentive to my job, and likewise when I was at home I was attentive to my family. It was not benefiting my family that I was not enforcing those boundaries any longer.
Working remotely generally allows for a more flexible schedule that can help with work-life balance. Instead of taking sick time for a doctor’s appointment you can work in the evening. You’re able to go to your children’s school activities or stay at home with them when they are sick. A flexible schedule is hard to find in any other job environment. Even this flexibility has to have boundaries.
Boundaries are healthy to set up in your personal relationships and in our professional relationships. They allow you to know what the expectations are and how you are allowing yourself to be treated. My work was not forcing me to work around the clock. I set the precedent that I would answer emails and solve problems until 11pm. I had to make the conscious effort to set better boundaries for myself and hold myself to them.
Setting up healthy and consistent boundaries is a simple way to help your work-life balance. If I am honest it was not easy to set them up. It was very difficult to be consistent and not fall back into old habits. It is important to remember that we deserve to strive for a better balance between our work and our families. Our families need us to be present in their lives.