5 tips for a healthy work-life balance when working remotely

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Work-Life Balance|5 tips for a healthy work-life balance when working remotelyIt is no understatement to say that the 2020 pandemic has turbocharged the existing well-documented trend towards greater remote working. “Remote work may be the most influential legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic,” says a recent survey. Companies are now expecting a greater proportion of their workforce to remain working remotely, even after the pandemic has passed.

For teams and their leaders, the benefits of remote working can be significant. Cutting out the daily commute, spending more time at home and scheduling work around family commitments should make for a much healthier work-life balance. Remote employees work harder and are happier than office-based staff. Their engagement is higher than ever, thanks to new technology that allows for instant messaging, video conferencing, online collaborations and more.

However, if working from home is now becoming a permanent feature for many workers who were previously based at employer premises, it is ever more important to ensure that sensible boundaries are set to protect the delicate balance between professional and private life. Here are some useful tips on how to achieve this on a daily basis.

1. Create a consistent schedule

Regardless of whether you work at the office or at home, a set schedule will provide the necessary discipline to keep a reliable routine for work and off-work hours. Even if your organisation uses scheduling software, it may be worth investing in your own time management tool to keep track of the number of hours you are working and to organise your day efficiently.

While commuting may no longer be an issue, an effective morning routine to get yourself up and ready for work is highly recommended. It doesn’t matter too much what it is – some people get dressed in business wear to get into work mode, others are happy in lounge wear – as long as it gets you into the proper mindset.

2. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Working from home can be a lonely business, which is why regular communication within the team is critical for remote teams. In addition to daily stand-ups, weekly meetings and other regular team communications, make sure you don’t neglect informal messaging with your colleagues and line managers leaders. Remote communication tools such as Zoom and Slack have seen a meteoric rise in users in recent months, but there are many other suitable products.

One leadership coach has this valuable advice for team leaders in the current health crisis: “Now more than ever, it’s important for your remote teams to feel their voices are being heard. They’re likely to be feeling isolated, so encourage regular feedback and ideas. It’s important for them to feel you’re concerned for their wellbeing. You’re all in this together, so make sure you keep listening.” (Monkhouse & Company)

3. Ringfence and organise your workspace

A laptop on the sofa or the dining table may be a workable solution for the occasional WFH day. However, if you are working remotely on a more regular, permanent basis, you should create a work-only zone as a way to set up boundaries around your professional and private life. Whether you have a desk in the corner or separate home office, make sure your workspace is tidy and organised at all times.

Be open to the occasional change of scenery if you get stuck. Sometimes, a new environment can help to break the monotony, unblock your creativity and satisfy the need for social interaction. You could take your laptop out onto the patio on a summer’s day, decamp to a local cafe with free WiFi, or use a coworking space.

4. Take scheduled breaks

Punctuate your working day with regular breaks. These don’t have to be long but they should get you off your chair and moving around. Actively counteract the potential problems of a sedentary job with periods of stretching, walking around, even doing some housework. Short breaks here and there throughout the day are also mentally stimulating, making you more productive during the working day and less exhausted at the end of it.

Resist the temptation to snack rather than eat proper meals, or even forget to eat altogether. The occasional donut and caffeine-fuelled day as a short-term fix to meet an urgent deadline may be forgivable, but the consequences of a blood sugar crash will leave you empty and irritable. Better to focus on a nutritionally balanced diet and a proper lunch hour away from the desk.

5. Practise self-care

Remote working can take its toll on your mental health unless you pay attention to replenish your inner resources. While working at the desk all day can be exhausting, there’s nothing like physical exercise to get yourself out of your head and into your body. From a quick yoga routine to taking the dog for a walk, a game of tennis or session at the gym, regular exercise is proven to reduce stress, improve concentration, memory, creativity and sleep.

Finally, there is a lot of truth in the old adage that ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. A healthy work-life balance requires you to pay attention to your off-duty needs such as making time for social interaction with friends, creative pursuits, gardening or just getting out and about!

Hot Desking, Dedicated Desks And Coworking Spaces – What You Need To Know

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | Hot Desking | Coworking Space
If joining a coworking space, one can get lost in a maze of spaces, each offering similar amenities but also being very different in culture and attitude. In New Zealand’s coworking landscape, you can find a mash-up of spaces, but choosing one depends on the fit of your business. Unlike typical office space, spaces have a personality of their own.

However, many spaces have a basic menu that provides a place to work and use the amenities associated with most offices. Some spaces provide office support in the form of a receptionist while others might focus on improving the amenities. To maximise the use of the spaces, prospective coworking professionals should research hot desking, dedicated desks, and coworking spaces to get an idea of what they might encounter.

Let’s take a closer look at the coworking platform and all its variations so you can choose the best option for your business.

Ins And Outs

Excepting the basic coworking space that provides Wi-Fi access and a table to work at, and maybe coffee, most coworking spaces worth their salt provide businesses with a menu of options. In addition to both the hot desk and the dedicated desk, private office space is available as well. Many of these spaces include the use of meeting room space with some providing the option as a part of an a la carte menu.

In Auckland and a few other cities, you might find spaces that cater to a particular type of business, as coworking has definitely evolved to include all businesses. Furthermore, the cost can run the gamut as well with high-end spaces catering to a more sophisticated crowd and more affordable spaces offering up practical amenities that can help businesses. Usually, the leases are month-to-month, or very short, and so being tied to a protracted lease is not an issue.

The coworking space is one that can be used to help your business comfortably grow. With larger spaces that have other plans, you can transition your business up or down to suit its needs. Finally, if lucky enough to find an internationally-operated coworking space you can benefit from spaces in other locations around the country and world.

Hot Desks Versus Dedicated Desks

While they occupy the same space, there is a marked difference between the hot desk and dedicated desks. The hot desk simply is a workspace that is shared with other professionals. You have access to the desk. In many cases, these spaces provide free Wi-Fi to professionals and come equipped with the standard office equipment you might find in your average office.

The dedicated desk, alternatively, is a permanent desk that professionals can lease monthly at a higher cost. These desks provide a little more privacy, and so if your business requires confidentiality, the dedicated desk is ideal for this option. While you might get more perks with the dedicated desk, you have access to similar office equipment.

Whether one is better than the other all depends on the needs of the business. Generally, sharing space requires everyone to leave the space clean. Furthermore, those who need workspace all the time might not be able to access a hot desk during peak times, but a dedicated desk is always available. Conversely, working alone in the dedicated desk, you remove opportunities to socially interact with others. Really, the advantage or disadvantage depends on the needs of the renter.

In The Know

These are the basics of the coworking space and the two most popular plans, but again once, heading out into New Zealand’s coworking community you are apt to find variations on the coworking concept. Any way you look at it, both options are still much cheaper options to even leasing the serviced office. More importantly, the potential to grow your business on platform primed to for success makes any choice good.

Seven steps for a carbon neutral coworking space

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Carbon Neutral|Seven steps for a carbon neutral coworking spaceIt is the case that many individuals want to do more to ensure that their workplace is as green as possible. After all, we all recycle and make changes to our homes in response to climate change and the desire to live in a more sustainable way – so it is only natural that we would want to do the same thing at work.

In a company workplace, this can be easy – ideas can be taken to managers and schemes can be easily implemented. But what happens if your working day takes place in a coworking space. Coworking has become a very popular way to enjoy the advantages of an office environment for those people who work remotely or freelance. But trying to introduce green schemes in such as an environment is not always easy.

But it is important to remember it is achievable – huge Australian coworking space provider The Commons, which has over 11,000m2 of space, went entirely carbon neutral in 2019. Here we take a look at seven steps you can take towards a carbon neutral coworking space.

1. Go paperless

One of the most important steps in going carbon neutral is in moving to a paperless office. This can be done far more easily than you might imagine. The first step is to get rid of printers, and instead to encourage everyone in the coworking space to avoiding printing out documents needlessly – it is estimated that 20% of pages printed are never retrieved from the printer.

Additionally, you should look into ways to ensure that you never need to use paper. Many businesses are happy to send over documents in a purely digital form, so there is generally no need to have them in paper too.

2. Switch off computers not in use

There is a major problem in coworking spaces looking to achieve carbon neutrality – people leaving their computers on. Many people in a coworking space will get into the habit of logging out from a machine but won’t shut it down. This can mean it can go draining energy for many hours unnecessarily.

Make sure that people get into the habit of fully shutting down their machine.

3. Don’t charge your phone all day

Another problem comes in the common sight of phones being charged all day. Staff might get into the coworking space in the morning, see that their phone needs charging, plug it in, and then leave it there all day without thinking about it. Not only is this bad for your phone, it also is an unnecessary drain on electrical power.

4. Promote renewal energy

There are many ways that a coworking space can utilise renewable energy. If you can look into having solar panels installed on the roof of the space, this can be extremely effective. According to Geo Green Power, specialists in renewable technologies “There are significant benefits to be had from investing in solar energy, for businesses both large and small. With rising energy costs, putting your roof space to good use can be a sensible decision.

Many commercial organisations have already realised the huge potential income stream available from solar energy.”

However, many don’t realise that there are many different forms of renewable energy that a building can invest in. This ranges from solar heating to green source heat pumps.

5. Put a recycling scheme in place

Many individuals who wouldn’t dream of doing so at home, will simply throw their rubbish away when at work – regardless whether any of it could potentially be recycled. This can be out of frustration that there is no proper recycling scheme in place at the coworking space.

This can be easily set up. All you need is a recycling bin – get in contact with your local council if you don’t have access to one.

6. Switch to energy efficient lightbulbs

It is the same changes that can add up to a big difference. Ensure that every time a lightbulb goes, it gets replaced with an energy efficient one. There is double the good news here, as energy efficient lightbulbs tend to last longer than traditional bulbs.

7. Be smart with heating and cooling

Sometimes it is important to be mindful of your own actions. If you get cold in your coworking space, don’t immediately go and demand that the heating is turned up. Instead, consider putting on another layer in order to warm up – and vice versa if you need to cool down. Once again, this is a small issue that makes a huge difference throughout the course of the year.

What to Look for in a Coworking Space

Coworking spaces are becoming much more popular. There’s at least one coworking office in most large towns and cities, and some companies offer their members the use of their offices all over the world. There are fantastic. They give homeworkers a chance to work in a positive and energetic environment that’s full of creative spark. They are a great way to make connections that could be useful to your business, friends that can help you combat the loneliness of working from home and experts that can help you with areas of your business that you might not be as confident with. Research shows that people generally get more done in a coworking space than they would at home or in an office alone, and many people find that these kinds of shared working environments bring out the best in them, make them happier, more creative and more productive. If you find the right space, it’s certainly worth the membership fee. Here’s a look at what you need to look for when seeking out a coworking space that’s right for you.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article

Think about when you like to work. We don’t all enjoy 9-5 hours, some of us work best early in the morning whereas others like to burn the candle late into the night. Working at home means that you can do this. So, this is an essential consideration of your coworking space. Will you be able to use it when you are at your most productive?


The location of your space is one of the most important considerations. Some memberships, like Level Office Coworking Space, allow you to use any of their sites all over the country. You can often even access a coworking space while you are traveling, even if you leave the country. This is fantastic. It means that freelancers are able to work wherever they are and work to pay for their travels as they go.

But, it’s fair to say that the majority of us spend most our time at home. One of the key benefits of working from home is not having the stress or cost of a commute, so you certainly don’t want to add one to your life. If the coworking space that you are looking at is too far away from home, you won’t use it. Look for somewhere that you can get to easily and you are much more likely to spend time there.


A vital draw of a coworking space is the community it offers you. An area with excellent facilities often creates a more passionate and engaged community. If there are just a few desks and a printer, people will just work. They won’t chat, they won’t make connections, and they won’t feel creative. Look for somewhere that offers more. Ideally, it should provide things like a coffee machine and a relaxation space which encourage users to connect with each other and relax. Plenty of color on the walls and a chilled out atmosphere is also a must if you want a work area that inspires your creativity.