Every year, the holiday season tends to add an extra layer of stress to our work-life balance. On top of managing our work calendars, our social calendars seem to fill up around this time of year. This year, with a record high number of employees around the world working from home in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines, finding that healthy work-life balance this holiday season has the potential to be more challenging than ever before. 

With 77% of remote workers reporting that working remotely would make them better able to manage their work-life balance, it is clear that remote work, WFH, and Work From Anywhere #WFA are more than passing trends. To embrace your new norm while setting yourself up for success this holiday season and all the seasons to come, follow these steps to stay zen while working from home this holiday season:

Establish a Routine

Creating a routine for yourself and your household while working from home is the backbone of a healthy work-life balance. Whether you are new to remote work or have worked from home through many holiday seasons, you know that establishing clear boundaries around “work time” and “home time” is the key to a productive mindset. Some ways to establish a routine for yourself include:

  • Creating a dedicated workspace— whether you live alone or with roommates, family members, or even pets it is imperative that you create clear boundaries around your workspace. Whether you work from an office in your house, a desk in the corner of your living room, or at the kitchen table, establishing a dedicated workspace will help you differentiate between being “at work” and “at home.”
  • Create transition times for yourself— when you work from an office, your transition time is clear in the form of your commute. But when your commute is how long it takes for you to walk from your bedroom to your desk, you need to establish clear transitions for yourself between being “at work” and being “at home.” These transition times can look like anything from mimicking your commute by taking a walk around the block before and after your work day to Slack good morning and goodnight to your coworkers.
  • Take regular breaks— just like you would leave your desk for your lunch break and occasionally stroll down the hall to pop your head into your work wife’s office, when you WFH be sure to allot yourself the kindness of taking regular breaks throughout your workday.
  • Communicate your routine to your co-inhabitants— whether you live with roommates, your kids, or your partner, to establish a productive work-life environment while prioritizing the mental health of all involved take the time to communicate your needs to one another.

Set Conscious Working Hours

Especially during the busy season, when you are working from home it is easy to lose track of time and over-work yourself. In fact 1 in 5 full time employees reports working more during the pandemic than they did before. To ensure that you are not burning yourself out at work and leaving yourself without any energy at the end of the day to enjoy the holiday season, set conscious working hours.

In the age of flexible schedules, setting conscious working hours has the option to take on a new, creative life. When setting your work hours, take the time to determine when you are most productive. This productive time will become your core working hours. Core hours, such as a four or five hour segment of the day where you are available to colleagues and freeing you to work on your own schedule for the rest of the day, are increasing in popularity with 74% of full-time workers agreeing that they would be a welcome schedule addition.

If core hours don’t appeal to you, you may want to adopt another popular facet of flexible schedules— meeting free days. Eight out of ten full-time workers want one day a week without any meetings, and 70% agree that there should be a day each week without video meetings. During the holiday season, when scheduling your personal life around your work responsibilities has a tendency to feel like a hassle, adopting meeting free days could be exactly the schedule change you are looking for to stay zen while working from home.

Make Time for Socialization

Now that you have your routine set and have established clear boundaries between your “work life” and “home life” you can fully embrace the holiday season. Just because you are working from home this year and won’t be able to celebrate the season with your coworkers in person doesn’t mean you need to miss out on your favorite holiday antics. 

Take this as an opportunity to get creative with your socialization. Just about any of your usual festivities will translate to a virtual event. Does your work team do a Secret Santa gift exchange every year? This year, mail your gifts to one another and set up a Zoom party to open them up and celebrate another year of hard work as a team.

The holidays are for celebrating the family, friends, and teammates that bring us joy all year long. Just because COVID-19 has made it inadvisable to celebrate in person doesn’t mean you need to take the year off from celebrating completely.

For safe and fun virtual holiday socialization celebrations, here are our top 10 best virtual holiday hang ideas.

The key to enjoying a happy and healthy holiday season while working from home is staying zen through it all. And if you do end up leaving your home office, here is everything you need to know to work from anywhere over the holidays.

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