The tension between work and personal life is a very real thing when you work remotely. And it gets worse during the holidays. A Gallup poll published in December 2017 noted that while 43 percent of the workforce was taking vacation time over the holidays, over half of those workers still planned on checking into work during their vacation time. One problem: A casual check-in isn’t so easy when the house is packed with family members and there’s a million things you’d rather do than work.
Even the most experienced Remoters need help finding the balance between quality family time and getting work done. These carefully curated tips (some from our clever Remoter tribe) will help you find that critical work-life balance when you’re working remotely over the holidays.
Wake up early, stay up late
If you really want to maximize family time, you might have to sacrifice a little sleep. If your family loves a leisurely morning, set an early morning alarm and get after it while everyone else is sound asleep. If your crew’s holiday routine includes evening downtime, crank out some work while everyone else snuggles in for the yearly showing of Home Alone. The goal is to be present during moments when there’s quality family time happening. Sacrificing an evening of Macaulay Culkin is well worth it.
Work while traveling
If you’re traveling for the holidays, take advantage of downtime at the airport or the plane ride to get work done. For seasoned Remoters working on the plane is a given, but Jessica takes it one step further by working on road trips too. She’ll turn on her phone’s hot spot and knock out some work while her husband drives. She may miss the views and minor car talk, but she arrives at her destination ready for fun with several hours of work under her belt.
Carve out a quiet workspace
Don’t think that you can crack open your laptop in the living room and get work done. When you go into work mode, do yourself a favor and find a place where you can be focused. The more efficiently you can work the less time you’ll have to spend away from your family. This may mean working from the bedroom while everyone gathers downstairs or heading to a coffeeshop or the library. You may miss out on minor family time, but if working moms like Gina can manage both work and family, so can you.
Be firm about what you need to do
Clearly communicate how many hours you’ll need to work and what sort of environment you’ll need to do it. If you’re upfront about the fact that you need to put in an eight-hour day without being disturbed, your family will respect you (or so we hope). Sometimes knocking out a big chunk of work all at once is easier than putting in a couple hours here and there.
When you’re not working, be present
Unlike someone who’s taking the entire holiday off, you don’t have the luxury of being there for everything. When you aren’t working, make a point to be fully present and involved in what’s going on. Stay off your phone and go chat with your Uncle Bill about his new job or help your cousin prepare dinner.
Nap time = work time
If everyone heads off to take a nap, read, or exercise, take advantage of the downtime by getting some work done. Even an hour of dedicated work time will put you ahead of the game and may mean you’ll have to work less later on.