Work from home? 4 ways to maintain balance

Study says telecommuters actually work more

Telecommuting, once considered an unattainable goal for cubicle-bound workers, has exploded in popularity during the last few years. Some people think it's because of fluctuating gas prices and an employer's concern for the work/life balance, but that's not always the case.

A new study by sociologists at the University of Texas at Austin found that telecommuting employees actually work a lot more than their at-the-office colleagues - five to seven hours more.

The blurring of work and personal life can prove problematic for employees and lead to burn out. Professionals can take back their home lives with some structured steps, though.

Create a Work Schedule

I've struggled with this as a work-from-home professional. It's so tempting to just work during my favorite primetime shows, late at night, on the weekends - you get the idea. Eventually, it felt like I was constantly working.

I finally made the change when I felt like I couldn't take the time to cook or clean without feeling guilty. I set a schedule, like I'd keep if I worked in a physical office, and stuck to that schedule with few exceptions.

Have a Separate Space

Sticking to a set schedule was easier after I made one of my spare rooms into a designated work office. I keep all of my work equipment and paperwork in the office at all times; no more working on the couch or in my bedroom.

Don't have enough space for an office? At least have an area for a desk that you keep dedicated only to work.

Get Face Time

It's easy to feel "cut off" from your co-workers when you work from home, especially your boss. As a work-at-home pro, I make it a point to meet with certain co-workers on a semi-regular basis. I also keep in contact with my boss and co-workers on social media and instant message throughout the day, so it shows I'm still part of the team.

Take Care of Your Health

I found that my energy and overall health began to decline when I started working from home. It wasn't the work that was doing it; it was the number of working hours. Along with the schedule, I adopted a daily exercise routine that includes my regular workouts, along with walking breaks throughout the day.

Can't take a bunch of breaks? Get up and walk around during your designated lunch hour. You'll find it much easier to get through the afternoon slump; I promise.

More from this contributor

Women confess: The best money advice I ever received

Diaper shortage on the horizon? Stock up now and save big bucks

5 things to think about when deciding on a job offer