Entrepreneur: When Your Business Runs Out of Your Home, How Do You Restore Work-Life Balance?

Whether it’s delegating better or streamlining communication, there are accessible ways to avoid blurring the lines.

We’ve never spent more time at home than we are spending right now. And although this may mean we have more available hours for our spouses, kids and other family members than ever, is that really quality time? Before, it was easier to have a clear separation between work and home life. Work would end promptly around the time that we got home from the office. Even if we had late-night emails or ancillary work to complete, that boundary still existed. It may have been blurred at times, but it was easier to disconnect and be present with family or friends.

With most non-essential workers still operating from home, schedules can get a bit fuzzy. For one, you may sleep in a tad later, thanks to the cutting out of commuting time. You may also take a longer lunch — one that involves walking the dog, lounging on the couch or other aspects of “life” you couldn’t tend to at the office. But there’s another danger present: letting work overflow into your personal life now that the boundary has dissipated. So, how can we learn to strike a work-life balance that keeps us sane?

1. Make weekends for personal life only

We’ve all seen the funny tweets and news segments kindly letting us know which day of the week it is. And it’s true — the days all seem to blur together. There’s a danger in this; we tend to keep working day after day, despite the fact we need our weekends for rest. I recently spoke with Sa El, co-founder of Simply Insurance, who acknowledges that, “As my business has grown and more tasks have been handed off to others, I find myself actually looking for work to do instead of investing that time into my relationships. I would have anxiety about not working, which is probably something we all go through.” He adds that making a clear differentiation on weekends for his personal life helped him put the work away.

And given that a study from Stanford found that our productivity begins to dip beyond 50 hours a week, and eventually becomes so low beyond 55 hours that we are hardly getting anything done, we might as well make weekends a time for relationships and self-care.

2. Delegate responsibilities

Every handbook on work-life balance will tell you to delegate responsibilities, and it’s still just as important. With financial fears from an impending recession, it may seem like a safer bet to stop hiring that freelancer or to cut back your one full-time team member to part-time. This puts more work on YOU. Just because you don’t have anywhere to go during the nationwide shutdown doesn’t mean you suddenly have more hours in a day, and overwhelming yourself with responsibilities that can easily be delegated — such as updating your website or writing that overdue copy — will only stress you out more.

In a conversation with Peter Abualzolof, co-founder and CEO of Mashvisor, he echoed the notion that, “Of course, you are emotionally attached to your company and want to remain involved in every single aspect of the business. However, you just have to accept the reality that as your business grows and expands, it is impossible to remain in control of everything; that is, if you want to have any personal life.”

Take a step back and really take stock of what your working time is spent on. There is always some ROI on delegating out tasks.

3. Utilize technology to help you stay on track

Finally, remember you don’t have to do this alone. Even your FitBit or fitness tracker can remind you when you may need to get up from your desk and stretch your legs. Ask your partner to go for a walk, or play in the backyard with your dog. Take advantage of productivity tools like time trackers to see how you’re really spending your time, and seek to feel more in control of your business despite delegating by upgrading your communication technology.

As David Liu, founder and CEO of Deltapath, advises, “Invest a bit of time upfront creating clear communication systems and schedules on your technology, to help work-from-home feel a bit less isolated.”

I’ve personally set up a few channels on Slack and Trello and instated a Zoom schedule that makes me feel connected to my team, so we can communicate more efficiently, without extra hours logged by anyone.

Work-life balance will never fully be 50/50. It’s about finding a balance that works for you, and now is an optimal time to create boundaries that will help you for the rest of your working career.

Entrepreneur: Unified Communications Will Make Your Remote Workforce More Productive

The trending collaborative approach can bridge the gap between you and your off-site team.

Thanks to international clients, flexible work options for employees, increased travel in a global market and the surging gig economy, a digital workspace is now a cornerstone of the modern business office. One struggle that organizational leaders face in their respective digital-workspace environments is fostering a sense of connectedness. A recent story from Small Business Trends indicates that 70 percent of remote employees feel left out of the workplace. Compounding this fundamental issue is the fact that many organizations are working with limited budgets for what is often an ever-expanding feature, according to the 2018 CMS Wire Digital Workplace Survey. The ongoing battle to fund competing initiatives or departments is one of the highest-ranking obstacles to developing an optimal digital workspace.

As a rapidly increasing number of employees work remotely and organizations begin to scale, the need for collaborative communication solutions beyond the usual Google Hangouts or Zoom is quickly becoming a top priority. The search for solutions to create a thriving digital workspace that fosters a sense of inclusion with office-based employees and the general atmosphere of the office has led to unified communications (UC) tools that add value for everyone, whether they’re in the same office or on the other side of the world. Top business and technology-advisory firm Gartner has explored trends in the UC universe and found that companies are expanding its range beyond the on-premises models to move to the cloud, opting for UC-as-a-Service (UCaaS). That shift is happening rapidly, since there is little additional investment required to move to a cloud-based solution according to the UC Magic Quadrant for UCaaS via Gartner.

Executive and IT leaders for businesses of all sizes are enthusiastic about the deployment of UCaaS, citing it as the preferred method of adopting budget-friendly communications solutions that enhance employee cohesion. In fact, nearly all current UCaaS vendors are using microservices and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) architecture to a degree while running media in conventional data centers. Cloud data centers like Google Compute Engine, Deltapath Managed Cloud, Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are largely hosting these platforms.

Four emerging trends provide organizational leaders exploring UCaaS with a good foundation in their search:

  • Globalization. Given the need to reach employees and consultants in remote locations around the world, most providers offer global capacities.
  • Improved Interfaces for Enhanced User Experience. Improved dashboards, tools and portals make use easier for everyone.
  • Workstream Collaboration. A highlight in UCaaS trends involves workstream collaboration, which provides notifications, messaging, bots and tools that allow teams to effortlessly communicate — in private or via group chats — throughout the life of a specialized project.
  • Video-Focused User Experiences. Key video improvements include high-definition resolution, collaboration-friendly features and the ability to invite large numbers of participants for video conferences, meetings and calls.

UC innovators continue to examine the needs of today’s business clients and work to answer the most pressing challenges. The latest trends are set to bring UC up to speed to allow executives and IT teams to streamline communications for a better employee experience, which ultimately translates to better client experience and brand reputation.