With the recent shift to remote work by so many workplaces across the world, there’s been an incredible movement away from traditional work styles.
Gone are the days for many of having to spend hours on a daily commute, and that’s a wonderful thing. However, for many people who’ve shifted unexpectedly into a remote working situation, their work-life balance has been completely thrown out of whack.
Although the struggle to achieve work-life balance is nothing new, it remains a bigger issue with each passing year. Establishing a clear divide between your work life and your home life is critical for your physical and mental health, as well as many reasons that impact your ability to work.
We want you to be able to Getaway Well every day, and part of that involves creating a healthy work-life balance for yourself. We’ve got some of the best books on work-life balance that you should check out, especially if you feel like you’ve been struggling.
Before we get to that, let’s talk a bit more about what work-life balance is, and why it is important for people working remotely.
Work-life balance is a very simple concept in theory, which is far more complex to put into practice.
Normally, we’re used to having a clear divide between our work lives and our lives at home. Unfortunately, with the sudden and unexpected shift to remote working for many people, this line has become blurred.
Not only can it negatively affect your work, but it can have a huge impact on your quality of life, which may also affect your mental health.
For many people who were used to flopping down on the couch at the end of the day to turn on the television, having all those recreational amenities available at any given time makes it challenging to stay on task throughout the day.
Whether you’re having trouble stopping yourself from snacking every time you walk by the kitchen (worse yet, your ‘office’ is the kitchen table near the pantry), or the video game you’ve been playing is too tempting to resist, it can be a nightmare staying focused.
This doesn’t even take into account people who have kids that may even be doing class online from home. Good luck trying to focus on that monthly financing report when your little ones are asking you questions every five minutes.
Deep work is a concept used to describe intensely focused periods of work, where you essentially shut yourself off from everything and everyone else so that you can put all your attention into your work.
With so many distractions in our home environment, whether it’s because of our kids or our hobbies, achieving deep work can feel virtually impossible sometimes.
If you have a job that requires extensive periods of deep work, you may be finding that your productivity is much lower than normal since shifting to a remote working model.
On the flip side of the coin, trying to pull yourself away from your work at the end of the day can be extremely frustrating – especially if it took you longer than normal to get into your work groove at the start.
Between the seemingly never-ending stream of emails (all of which are easily accessible at home when you’re working remotely), Microsoft Teams, Slack, and all the other messaging platforms businesses use to communicate, it can start to feel like you’re living at the office.
When you can’t seem to get work off your mind at the end of the day, good luck turning your brain off and going to sleep.
We all have trouble sleeping sometimes, but when it starts to become a vicious cycle of exhaustion and insomnia, you’ve got a real problem on your hands.
You can’t focus on your work, or relax properly at the end of the day if you’re not getting a good night’s sleep.
These challenges might seem daunting, but there are some things that you can do to help minimize these issues (other than picking up the best books on work-life balance).
This is a huge thing that you need to put into place, and short of emergencies, stick to it.
Your supervisors and managers at your work will understand when you tell them you can’t be reached after a certain time of day. Many may appreciate the transparency since they’re likely fighting the same work-life battles you are.
Find somewhere removed from all the distractions that plague your day-to-day activities and set up your office there, whenever possible.
Think about the things that distract you most throughout the day and then remove yourself and your workspace from them. Without all those distractions, you’ll be able to focus more easily on the work that you need to get done.
Sometimes a little bit of self-guidance can be enough to keep you motivated and focused.
For many people, creating a to-do list each morning before you start (or at the end of each day when you stop) is a great way to set tangible, achievable milestones.
When you can see the things that you are getting done, you’ll be less discouraged by the things that you aren’t.
You need to take breaks throughout the day, regardless of what you’re working on. Use one of them each day to do some guided meditation and recenter your thoughts.
It will allow you to take time away from your work to focus on your breathing and clear stress from your mind. Removing, or at least reducing, stress throughout the day is a perfect way to put more balance back on the life side of your equation.
Now that you understand what work-life balance is, why it is important, and have some basic techniques to start creating a healthy work-life balance, you need to continue building and growing your work-life strategy.
Not only are these recommendations some of the best books on work-life balance, but they’re also great reads. Perfect for some relaxation time before bed.
The Long-Distance Reader focuses on the author’s concept of the ‘Three-O’ model of thinking for leaders: outcomes, others, and ourselves.
Pairing that mindset with a Remote Leadership Model, this book emphasizes how leaders can use technology as a tool instead of a distraction, as well as effectively manage their teams – no matter where they may be located.
This is what many would call the ultimate guide for leading remote employees, and takes the time to evaluate many of the biggest challenges that managers face controlling a remote team.
Leading from Anywhere focuses on important factors like how to build culture into your workspace remotely, creating concise communication systems, tracking your team’s productivity, and minimizing burnout.
Taking a positive spin on some of the more negative aspects of work from home culture, Remote: Office Not Required not only talks about the challenges facing remote teams but the unexpected benefits as well.
Tackling the new paradigm of moving work to the workers, instead of workers to the workspace, easily makes this one of the best books on work-life balance. Its encouraging, optimistic outlook brings new life to the concept of remote work.
Using the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 as a launching point, Remote Leadership: How to Accelerate Achievement and Create a Community in a Work-from-Home World is written from the perspective of a business that’s lived the realities facing remote teams.
Following JumpCrew’s journey through many of the same struggles you may be confronting, they introduce interesting, revolutionary concepts that every person can use to carry in-person culture with them into their work-from-home life.
Praised by many as one of the best books on work-life balance, The Long-Distance Teammate: Stay Engaged and Connected While Working Anywhere uses tangible, real-world examples that will likely hit very close to home.
This book focuses on three important issues: growing team member skills, communicating effectively and efficiently, and navigating both personal and interpersonal remote relationships.
Are you a leader in your workspace? It can be incredibly difficult trying to lead a team from your home workstation.
Influencing Virtual Teams: 17 Tactics That Get Things Done with Your Remote Employees gives you plenty of tips and tricks that you can build into your processes and leadership strategies to get more reliable outcomes from your team.
On the flip side, Working From Home: Making the New Normal Work for You focuses heavily on the perspective of someone who’s being managed remotely by their managers.
Between offering time management routines and strategies that anyone can use, tactics for dealing with Zoom fatigue and isolation, and suggestions for more impactful virtual presentations, you’ll be able to see why we think this is one of the best books on work-life balance.
If you would prefer to do less novelesque reading and want a book that doesn’t mince words with how it offers its tips, you’ll want to check out Work-from-Home Hacks: 500+ Easy Ways to Get Organized, Stay Productive, and Maintain a Work-Life Balance While Working from Home!
Loaded with suggestions, tips, and tricks that you can build into your routines, this book is a wealth of knowledge for any work-from-home employee.
Learn to think like a ‘business of one’ when you pick up a copy of Remote, Inc.: How to Thrive at Work… Wherever You Are.
Rather than encouraging a stable 9-5 working schedule, Remote, Inc. helps you gain control over your work by focusing on objectives rather than your traditional workday schedule.
You’ll also learn some useful tactics for going above and beyond to show initiative to your managers, without having to be situated in the same office space.
If communication is something that your managers and co-workers are struggling to maintain and control, you should check out Reimagining Collaboration: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and the Post-COVID World of Work.
Proposing a bold new model of work, this is one of the best books on work-life balance, because of its unique perspective that’s beneficial for people at all levels of an organization that are now working remotely.
Now that you have so many new resources to check out, you’ll have a lot of reading shortly. But just like ensuring you do at least a 10-minute workout each day [link out to the ‘10-Minute Workout’ blog], it will be worth the effort.
These books on work-life balance are invaluable resources that many people wish they could have had access to when the pandemic struck in early 2020. Thankfully, now you do.
Once you’re able to establish a healthy, regular work-life balance that gives you back your free time and still allows you to be super productive for work, you’ll be ready to Getaway Well every day.