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4 ways to promote work-life balance at home

For many people who are working from home for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic, work-life balance has been trickier to navigate. The lack of a physical division between work-life and “life-life” with hybrid and remote work can make it difficult to draw mental boundaries. But, work-life balance is essential: Burnout happens fast when you’re never “off work.” In addition to threatening the quality of your work, it can derail your life. As you consider your New Year’s resolutions, keep work-life balance near the top of your list. Here are some suggestions from LinkedIn Learning — along with relevant courses — to help.

1. Set boundaries

In his invaluable course, “Balancing Work and Life,” author and leadership coach Dave Crenshaw suggests drawing “the line in the sand” — a daily time when work hours stop and personal time begins. Establishing work hours will help you feel more rested, alert, focused and productive during work. It’s also helpful to create a literal line by establishing a devoted workspace. Though many of us don’t have an office, you can also create distinction between “work time” and “me time” by putting your computer, monitor or other equipment out of site when work hours end. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you live at work. By defining your work hours and workspace, you are creating space for other aspects of your life.

2. Talk to your co-workers

The social interactions that many of us grew accustomed to in office work helped us to stay connected and engaged. But you can create strong social connections with your co-workers in a hybrid or remote setting, too. For help, check out the LinkedIn Learning course “How to Develop Friendships and Connect Meaningfully with Work Colleagues,” led by leadership author and consultant Selena Rezvani. It’s designed specifically for remote and hybrid workplaces.

3. Take PTO

If the pandemic has squashed your travel plans and you’re planning to stay home regardless, it can be tempting to save vacation time. But work from home is also draining, and you need to take breaks —even if you don’t have anywhere to go. As author and speaker Todd Dewett emphasizes in his course, “Avoiding Burnout,” mental time away from work is critical. Not sure what to do on your staycation? Here are some suggestions:

  • Catch up on movies: Even many new releases are available through streaming services.
  • Read a few books: It’s the perfect time to start a book club with friends.
  • Get moving: The days are short, so time off can be a great way to squeeze in a weekday hike when trails are less crowded.
  • Do something you’ve been missing or meaning to try: Cook a really good meal or take an online dance class.

Any activity is fine — just give your mind a break and avoid thinking about work!

4. Leave your desk for meals

It’s pretty common for people to eat lunch in front of the computer when working from home. There’s a natural inclination to think, “I’m here anyway, why not just keep working while I eat?” But one of the simplest and most impactful ways to benefit your work-life balance is to leave the computer behind for mealtime. Eat breakfast before work and leave your work area until you’re finished eating. Whenever possible, have lunch with someone. According to “The Small Biz Lady” Melinda Emerson in her course “Working from Home: Strategies for Success,” you should prepare your lunch in advance every day, even while working from home and experiment a bit with new foods or mix up typical recipes. Eating a creative meal in the middle of your work day can make a tremendous difference in helping you feel alive for the afternoon — especially if you leave your desk.

Maintaining work-life balance isn’t just the right move for you; it’s the right move for your career, company and everyone who cares about you. Treat maintaining a healthy work-life balance like any other professional goal and crush it!

For more tips, check out LinkedIn Learning courses on the best ways to work remotely and manage your work-life balance while you’re at it.

Editor’s note: This article was adapted from the LinkedIn Learning blog.

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