With the onset of the 2020 pandemic, millions of people who’d previously spent most of their working life in an office, found themselves having to readjust and learn to work remotely. According to Upwork, in the United States alone, in 2023 12% of office workers are now fully remote, while a little over 28% split their time between working from home and the office.
Although that means that a great majority of work is still done ‘onsite’, researchers predict that by 2025, 22% of people in the US will work from home. In the same way that this shift toward remote working has brought many benefits to people, it has also proven to have its disadvantages.
As a writer and yoga teacher who often works remotely (whether at my home office, an airport, or a cafe) with the help of yoga practices, I have been able to find some balance. In this article, I want to share with you:
- 6 benefits of working remotely
- 7 disadvantages of working remotely
- 5 ways to balance your remote work day with yoga
- Other resources that can help support you
6 benefits of working remotely
Not having to go into your office, whether for a few days a week or not at all, has many benefits for people who are looking to find a better work-life balance. Some of these are:
- Greater flexibility
- Improved productivity
- Reduced commuting time and expenses
- Decreased environmental impact
- Increased health
- More diversity and inclusion
- Increased innovation
7 disadvantages of working remotely
Although the advantages are evident and remote work has improved the lives of many people across the globe, it is important to keep in mind that working from home can also be detrimental to our physical and mental health. Here are some of the reported disadvantages:
- Reduced social interaction
- Technology requirements and issues
- Increased costs
- Disconnection from the company or team
- Communication challenges
5 ways to balance your workday with yoga
When working from home and wanting to find better balance or improve your health, yoga can be a wonderful support system. Although yoga is sometimes viewed purely as a physical practice, there are many other layers to it that can be incorporated into your workday.
The physical practice, asana, as well as pranayama (breathwork), and meditation are great tools to learn and practice to improve your physical and mental health. Moreover, these practices help you to stay focused for longer periods of time as well as teach you ways to relax and disconnect while working from home and feeling tired or overwhelmed.
Here are some of my favourite ways to regain balance throughout my workday while working from home using yoga, meditation, and other wellness techniques:
1. Start your day intentionally
One of the things that may help you create a better work-life balance while working from home, is to have a morning ritual that can help you align with what you want out of your day. In yoga, your intention is called your Sankalpa, and it can be a great reminder throughout your day when you feel discouraged or tired.
You can choose to do this at the beginning of your day with some meditation or journaling, or perhaps right before you sit down at your desk. You could choose to start your workday more mindfully by journaling about the goals for the day ahead, or perhaps you rather do a guided meditation designed to help you move through your workday more intentionally, no matter how challenging it may be.
Another way to begin the day intentionally is by starting with a yoga asana practice. Consider the kind of energy that you’re trying to foster and cultivate in your day when choosing the style of asana practice. Whether you choose to do a self-guided practice or try one of our classes at EkhartYoga, this is a great way to wake up your body and mind and set the tone for a productive day.
2. Work on your focus and concentration
One of the challenges of working from home is the number of distractions we encounter. Whether it be your kids or pets trying to grab your attention or the sudden urge to clean your kitchen, it can sometimes make it challenging to get your work done.
Try a grounding meditation or a yoga asana practice designed to help you relax, focus and concentrate right before you start you sit at your computer in order to be more focused and productive.
3. Take breaks
Introduce yoga and wellness practices into your remote workday by scheduling short breaks or pauses. This can give you some mental space from meetings and difficult calls as well as allow you to move your energy and recenter.
One of my favourite ways to organise my workday is by using the Pomodoro Technique, a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. You can also split up your pomodoros in 50/10, 45/15, or whatever intervals work best for your attention span or the amount of work you need to get done.
If you find yourself feeling stiff, angry, or tired, use these short breaks to do some simple yoga poses without having to leave your desk. This will help to improve your circulation and mobility and to reduce stress as well. You can also use these pauses to grab a drink, eat something nutritious, or go for a short walk.
4. Listen to music
Whether you need to focus, take a mental break or move your body with some yoga asana, music can be a great companion while you work remotely. Listening to music can help you to focus on your work and to block out distractions. Studies have shown that listening to certain types of music, such as classical music, can actually improve your cognitive function and your ability to focus.
Consider making your own playlists, finding something you like on youtube that will set the right mood, or trying my 5-hour creativity playlist that I like to use when I work from home.
5. Set clear boundaries
When working from home it can sometimes be hard to create a clear demarcation between work, play, rest, and time with family, since it all happens within the same space.
Set a schedule that works for you, your needs, and your family’s and try to not check work emails or answer calls when you’re not in your office space. You could even do a meditation or create a ritual to close out your day before you shut down your laptop for the evening and move on to other activities.
If you’re not sure where to start and could use some guidance try this practice and meditation.
Starting to introduce some of these practices into your workday will most likely be a matter of trial and error. For some, introducing all of these tools into their life will feel right, while for others, one of the techniques may really fit, and the others may seem irrelevant at the time. Give yourself permission to explore what works for you.
Here are some more tips to help you set up for success as you seek better balance in your work-from-home life.
- Create a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted while you work, even if it is a small corner in your house or a local coffee shop.
- Wear comfortable clothing that you can move in easily and that won’t create restriction or tightness in your body.
- If you choose to practice yoga asana, start with simple poses that you can do regularly and that are accessible to you.
- Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard.
- Find an online community to support you and inspire you to continue to explore new ways to bring yoga, meditation, and wellness practices into your life.
Try my new program: Yoga to Balance your Workday!
Working from home can be a great way to improve your work-life balance. However, it can also be easy to get stuck in a rut, sitting at your desk all day long. This can lead to a number of health problems, including back pain, neck pain, and fatigue.
Yoga is a great way to improve your physical and mental health, while working from home, whether permanently or in a hybrid format, and it can also help you to stay productive while working remotely. If you want to learn more ways to create the perfect work from home schedule for you, check out my new program: Desk Detox – Yoga to balance your workday.
Feel free to try all or just one of these 7 short yoga and meditation resources and see how they fit into your working from home day. Stay open to what you may need at any given time by listening to your body, and observe how your remote working experience changes as you introduce more wellness practices.