In our modern, connected world so many jobs have the perceived expectation of being engaged 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Couple that with more than 13.4 million people working from home and you have a scenario for over-stress and personal difficulties. Here’s some suggestions to maintaining a proper balance:
Take advantage of mobile devices
While I’m not suggesting you should be that soccer parent on the sidelines with the phone plastered to your head or head down buried in email. The availability of these connections mean you can use what would previously be considered wasted time for work and take the work away from the quality time. Be judicious. Don’t feel every idle moment needs to be spent working. If you do not take advantage of the freedoms mobile tech gives us, you might as well just go sit in a cube.
If you work a job, especially from home, where there may be set hours you must be available, don’t hesitate to set hours when you won’t be available. Block out time on calendars. Force the issue if needed, but set aside the time for things other than work. Remember, the more hours you work for a fixed salary the less you are getting paid per hour.
When interacting with coworkers, repect their down time as well if you are trying to set the expectation of the same from them. Don’t text/email/etc. and expect an answer during what would be personal time for them. We’ve all heard about people who spend Christmas Eve or New Years Day sending out work emails, only to get upset when they don’t get repsonses. Give yourself permission to have a life outside of work.
Customers and clients
This can be one of the toughest areas to manage since they’re paying the bills. What it comes down to is a matter of respect. Be clear from the beginning and set reasonable expectations around response times and availability. Don’t comprimise yourself and your life for the almighty dollar. Be willing to make exceptions when needed, but also maintain that professional respect of people as just that…people.
It’s all about managing expectations
If you don’t take the time to set some ground rules and stick to them, you’ll never have a proper balance between your work and non-work life. Be honest with yourself and your employer and you’ll find you don’t feel like you’re on the clock 24/7 anymore.