How To Boost Your Productivity & Work-Life Balance When Working from Home | Dean Pohlman | Better Man Podcast Ep. 080

How To Boost Your Productivity & Work-Life Balance When Working from Home | Dean Pohlman | Better Man Podcast Ep. 080

More people than ever have the option to work from home. 

But is working from home all it’s cracked up to be?

Well, working from home may boost your productivity, work-life balance, and reduce your overall stress. But it can also do the opposite: Plummet your productivity, sabotage your work-life balance, and lead to burnout. 

Personally, working from home worked until it didn’t. After my second kid was born, there were too many distractions at home to accomplish anything meaningful. Plus, it made me a worse parent because I didn’t have any buffer time between “work mode” or “dad and husband mode.” 

So, how can you best decide if you should work from home or in an office? 

That’s what I will help you answer in today’s episode, and reveal… 

  • The pros and cons of working from home
  • How to work from home without sabotaging your work-life balance or causing unnecessary stress
  • My personal experience of working from home (and why I prefer working in an office today)

And more

The Better Man Podcast is an exploration of our health and well-being outside of our physical fitness, exploring and redefining what it means to be better as a man; being the best version of ourselves we can be, while adopting a more comprehensive understanding of our total health and wellness. I hope it inspires you to be better!

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Episode 080 Highlights

  • Does working from home actually hurt your work-life balance? Here are some tips to improve your work-life balance (6:35)
  • How simply turning off your computer forces you to shut off “work mode” so you can be present with your family (11:49) 
  • Why working from home can cause crippling burnout (and how to best prevent this) (12:58) 
  • The counterintuitive reason why working from an office makes you a more patient parent (15:50) 
  • 4 practical strategies to boost your productivity and work-life balance when you work from home (19:44)
Episode 080: How To Boost Your Productivity & Work-Life Balance When Working from Home - Dean Pohlman - Transcript

Dean Pohlman: Hey, guys, it’s Dean. Welcome to the Better Man podcast. Today’s episode, I’m going to talk about working from home versus working at the office. And this is something that’s really relevant and important to me because I have gone through periods where I have worked almost exclusively from home and also periods where I really enjoy going into the office.

Dean Pohlman: So for you, you know, if you have if you’re fortunate enough to be able to have this choice whether to work from home or work at the office, then you might find that working from home is great for you and that you’re really healthy and you’re mentally really well off. You might also find that if you work from home a lot, that you don’t enjoy that separation and you’re stressed more.

Dean Pohlman: So, you know, for some people, even if you don’t have the ability to work from home, you might actually be better off because you’re working at an office and you have a clear distinction between work and home boundaries, especially if you don’t have any time to transition from going from the end of a workday to the beginning of your home life.

Dean Pohlman: You might just not you might just still be kind of in work mode. Actually, it’s just kind of relevant, but my wife surprised me at my office last week, so she came into the studio and and said hi, and it felt really weird. Like it like it just it felt almost like she was intruding because I am a different person when I am working versus when I am at home and, you know, being a husband and a father.

Dean Pohlman: And so she came in and it didn’t I didn’t have the same, you know, warmness that I normally would if I would see her at home. I felt like I was almost being interrupted. And so, you know, there are for me, I’m I have different kind of modes. I have work mode and I have home mode. And so it has been helpful to me to have at this period in my life right now, it’s more helpful for me to have that separation between work and home life.

Dean Pohlman: So it’s nice that I’m able to work from home if I need to. So if I, you know, if I, if I have other stuff going on that day, if if it’s only, you know, if I only have 2 hours to work or something like that, maybe have other appointments, maybe I have obligations to the family, maybe I’m taking care of my kids, then it doesn’t make sense for me to go into the office.

Dean Pohlman: Then it’s nice that I can work from home and I can still get some things done, but I’m not going to be able to do it to the extent to the level of intensity or the level of focus that I normally would if I were at the office. You know, another another story. So today, for example, I came into the office.

Dean Pohlman: The weather here is kind of is very cold for Austin. So it’s actually it’s like 17 degrees, which is really weird for us. And so a lot of things shut down, you know, but people aren’t recommended to go on the roads. And but I wanted to come into the office today because I have been at home. My son has been sick.

Dean Pohlman: So I’ve been at home for the last few days. He’s not sick anymore. He’s he’s good. But I’ve been at home for the last few days and I knew that for me personally, I would be mentally better off and probably physically better off if I came into the office for a few hours and work here instead of working from home.

Dean Pohlman: I find it very difficult to get anything done at home when there are other people there. That didn’t used to be the case When I didn’t have kids, it was pretty easy to work from home. But after having kids and and more recently, after realizing that I wasn’t really being present with my family when I was home because I was still thinking about work then for me, it really does help to have that separation between work and home, to be able to come into the office work while I’m in the office and then come home and be in home or be in dad mode.

Dean Pohlman: Being husband mode. And even the transition between work and home is really helpful. So that time when I’m driving home is an opportunity for me to switch out of work mode and into dad husband mode. So for me, I’ve, I’ve really benefited from having the separation between work and home. So more generally speaking, there are some definitely there are some definite pros and cons to this.

Dean Pohlman: And I think the first thing if you have the ability to work from home at all this is this is going to increase your satisfaction with your decision because you have the option to decide at all. You know, if you don’t have agency in that situation, you’ll have more stress about it. So everyone wants the choice to be able to do it.

Dean Pohlman: Whether or not they do it is another story. Here’s some basic stats from an article I pulled from Forbes about remote work statistics. Overall, there’s a gradual uptick in people working from home. More men than women work remote, so 38% of men are full time remote, 23% are part time remote, 30% of women are full time remote and 22% are part time remote.

Dean Pohlman: As of 2023, 12% of full time employees work from home. So that’s one out of eight, while 28% work a hybrid model, A hybrid model. So a little over one out of four people work both at home and at the office. By 2025, the number of people working remotely will go up to 22%. So just over one out of five people, the majority of the workforce, about 60% or six out of ten people, three out of five people will still work in office.

Dean Pohlman: 16% of companies will operate fully remote. So that’s one out of six companies will operate fully remote. It’s a lot 98% of workers want to work remote at least some of the time. So 49 out of 50 people want to be able to work remotely some of the time, specifically for mental wellbeing and work life balance. 71% of remote workers said it helps their work life balance and 12% said that it actually hurts their work life balance.

Dean Pohlman: So I think there’s a lot of different factors involved here. If you have the ability to, it depends on what your what your work home environment looks like. If you’ve got kids running around, if you don’t have any separation between your office and your home life, where you where you sit and relax versus where you do your work, then you’re probably going to be more stressed.

Dean Pohlman: So there are some there are some things that you can do to help minimize stress and create boundaries, create, you know, separation between work and home life. If you do work from home, some of the pros of working from home are no commutes. People who have shorter commutes or don’t have commutes at all or have less stress, and they have been proven to live longer lives.

Dean Pohlman: So that’s one thing. You don’t have to wear pants at home. You know, it’s totally optional. That’s that’s a plus. It’s also easier to control your environment if you compared it if you work in a traditional office job. So if you want to have a stand up desk, if you want to be able to go for walks during the day, if you want to be able to, you know, change the way change the way that your work setup is, if you don’t want to have, you know, bright neon and whatever those office lights are called that generally give people headaches, that’s really cool.

Dean Pohlman: You could have like a window instead, or you could just do it in the dark. I don’t know. But so if you can control your environment, then that makes it a lot less stressful. So anytime that you have more agency, any time that you have more control over the situation, you’ll have less stress. Know some of the cons and this is where it’s been really apparent for me.

Dean Pohlman: I had a child, a second child, back in March of 2023, and I felt I felt really obligated to stay home and to help my wife. During that time, she had a on an unplanned C-section. Baby was born early. I was also back and forth between the nick you and home for about a week. So I stayed home.

Dean Pohlman: I only went into the office if I needed to film and that was about once, once a week, maybe once every other week to just record workouts and tutorials or whatever I was recording. And I stay at home most of the time because I wanted to be able to help my wife. Now, eventually that got to a point where I realized, okay, I am, I’m really suffering from this lack of separation between work and home.

Dean Pohlman: And I was also realizing that I would have it would be so easy to go into my office and check email, so I would go upstairs and put my son to sleep and then I would walk downstairs, I’d walk by my office, and then I’d go straight into the office and do 15 minutes of work and like, you know, 8:30 p.m. on a Thursday, it made no sense, but because it was so accessible, I didn’t in and I was so used to doing it, then I would, I would just go to work and that eventually took its toll.

Dean Pohlman: And I realized my body, my mind were really screaming for this separation between home life and work life. So I started going into the office a lot more and I kind of flipped the number instead of one out of five days per week in the office, it went to four out of five days per week in the office.

Dean Pohlman: And I found that that was a lot better because I do better when I have alone time. I just it’s just how I am. I do better overall when I have more time to myself. So and I also just the nature of my work with what I do with Man for yoga, it’s very creative of stuff. We have meetings, you know, a couple of times per week where I will be talking with other people.

Dean Pohlman: But for the most part it’s me working on my own. It’s me working just as an individual. So I’m able to get a lot more done when I’m just working on my own. So if I am, you know, having the ability to work from home is nice if I need to be at home, but I also need to get things done.

Dean Pohlman: So, you know, if I have a team meeting or something like that, if I have another meeting, if I have a phone call, then I can do all of that and still be pretty present for work when I’m at home. But if I’m doing something on my own that’s self-guided, self-directed, it’s really difficult for me to focus. So I do like coming in the office for those types of things, especially since I have kids too.

Dean Pohlman: There’s noise in the background, you know, I here, I hear babies crying. I hear, you know, sometimes my son is screaming for something. Maybe my wife is, you know, frustrated about something. So I hear things and I’m just I’m just kind of a sensitive guy. So when I hear other people, you know, doing things, then I feel responsible for for that.

Dean Pohlman: So if I hear my wife is upset or I hear me crying, then I’m like, it just really takes me out of my focus mode and I just can’t get things done. So. So for me now, I’m I’m really trying to spend more time in the office because I, I can just get a lot more done. So anyways, I kind of sidetrack there, but those are the pros.

Dean Pohlman: You don’t have to you don’t, you don’t have commutes, you don’t have to wear pants and you can control your environment. Some of the cons fewer barriers between your work life and your home life. And this can make it really hard to shut off work mode. I talked about this, but, you know, spending way too much time on the computer, even if I turned it off, that was that was it worked.

Dean Pohlman: That was what helped for me. I started turning my computer off after I was done at the end of the day. And that and that really helped me. But there was still the temptation to use it. And because I could see the area where I was working and sometimes I would even bring my computer into the living room to work.

Dean Pohlman: And there was just this lack of separation between work life and home life. And I had difficulty separating working from from husband and dad. Dean and just it didn’t really work well for me. So anyways, it’s good for your productivity in the short time. If in the short term, if you’re, you know, able to get more done at home.

Dean Pohlman: But in the long term, probably not because you are creating more stress and your overall mental mental well-being is going down and you probably won’t be as effective as a worker in that state. People are also getting burnt out from a lack of face to face interaction. So part of work is having interactions, right? Having, you know, meeting with with other people, having conversations in real life.

Dean Pohlman: And if you don’t do that and your work turns to an all productivity and no interaction based thing, then you’re probably going to derive less overall satisfaction from it. And the considering that the number one factor in your overall health is the quality of your relationships, if they’re all digital based, then you might not have great relationships and that could also impact your overall well-being.

Dean Pohlman: So definitely pros and cons to this and everyone has different, you know, lives at home. If you don’t have kids and you can create a pretty clear distinction between areas of your house that you work in versus areas your house that you don’t work in, then it might work out well for you. But if you do have if you have kids at home, you have a lot of distractions and you’re trying to get things done just in general.

Dean Pohlman: I’m a huge what’s the opposite of fan? I am I am incredibly against multitasking as humans. I think that when we multitask, we are at our worst. So if you are you know, if you’re if you’re trying to watch your kids, but you’re also like working, it’s just it’s not going to go well and you’re going to be stressed.

Dean Pohlman: You’re going to be impatient with your kids and you’re not going to get much done. A Sometimes you don’t have a choice, but given the choice, I usually I would choose to avoid doing any sort of multitasking. So personally, for me, I enjoy the freedom of being able to work from home. It works for me if I don’t have that much time to go into the office that day, maybe I add something that morning.

Dean Pohlman: Maybe I have something early in the afternoon that I need to get to and I just it’s not worth it for me to take the 1520 minute drive to to the studio and then I can still get things done at home. But, you know, I don’t have to have that drive time. So it can help sometimes. But overall, I really do enjoy having that time at the office, having time to myself.

Dean Pohlman: I’m actually able to get a lot more done. So for me, if I, you know, work from 930 until 2:00 without any breaks in there and maybe one break for a walk or having a smoothie or something like that, I’m able to get most of my work, most of my day, most of my work for the day done.

Dean Pohlman: Now, that’s a that’s a privilege for sure. But but I’m able to get a lot more done if I’m on my own. And I recognize that about myself. So some of this is just, you know, recognizing being being aware of yourself, being aware of what works for you and what doesn’t. So again, personally, productivity goes down significantly. I also don’t like that there are very few boundaries.

Dean Pohlman: One thing in particular is there’s there’s no transition between work like work life and home life. Sometimes I will be working from home and I’ll work right up until 530, and then I’ll finish and I’ll walk out of the office. And now I’m instantly into dad mode. And because there’s no transition, I end up not being a great parent that night.

Dean Pohlman: I’m less patient, you know, I’m more forceful. I’m I’m just not in a good space to be able to get a good parent because I had no transition between my work life and my home life. Also, for me, creative work or intensive work, I don’t like being at home. I need to I need to be in the office to really do that well.

Dean Pohlman: So yeah, So I think for me overall, I like to be in the office to work. It is helpful to have the option to work from home. But there are also definitely things that you need to do to make sure that your work from home life is healthy. So a few things designate specific areas for work. So if you have the ability to work from home, if you’re working from home primarily, I would make sure that part of it I would make sure that you have a specific space, a specific set up that is set for work, and you don’t use that space for anything other than work.

Dean Pohlman: So if it’s an office, then you only use your office for work. You know, you don’t sit on the couch to work and also sit on the couch to relax. It makes it too easy to go back to work mode. I would also create buffers between work and home life. And I talk about these I talked about these in the past and I like this this concept from Cal Newport, the the work shutdown process.

Dean Pohlman: So and so I like that this process of like kind of going through a to do list at the end of the day, figuring out where you left off, what are you starting up tomorrow, but then taking some time to transition out of work mode and into home life. So that could be going for a walk, It could be a workout.

Dean Pohlman: Maybe it’s chopping vegetables, but you don’t want to go straight from finishing work to. Hi, honey. How was your day? Because I don’t know about you, but for a lot of men, that’s really difficult. Other tips. So I would also say that you should know your self. Be aware of your self, and just kind of listen to what your body’s saying.

Dean Pohlman: So for me, working from home worked for a really long time until it didn’t. And then eventually my body was screaming to go to work. But I was really resistant because I thought Marissa would be mad at me. I thought my partner would be mad at me if I left her when really she wanted me to go to the office.

Dean Pohlman: She wanted me to go to work because she knew that I was going to be in a better mood. But I felt guilty doing it. And and that’s that’s really not a Yeah, don’t pay attention to that that that feeling of guilt. And is it really you know is that is that guilt warranted or is it not because you going into the office probably isn’t really that bad of a thing.

Dean Pohlman: So anyways a lot of things to think here. Hopefully this helps you make your decision and just be be better aware of how to work from home in a way that’s healthy versus doing it in a way that is not intentional. I would also, before I forget, tips turn off computers. It is way too easy to to to go into a it is way too easy to turn turn turn on a computer, way too easy to go to a computer that’s already on and start working.

Dean Pohlman: I find that just making a rule for myself that says, like, don’t turn off your computer after seven or don’t go on the computer after seven. It doesn’t really work unless I put some sort of action behind it to help make it prevented. Something else that you could do is you could close the office of your door. You could remove the visual cue so that you are less likely to go into the office and work there.

Dean Pohlman: So just might you might want to think about some practical strategies like that to discourage you from working after hours and maybe sets, set some boundaries for yourself, create those buffer activities so that you’re not going straight from work to home life. Designate specific areas for work and for home and relaxation and and yeah, try to try to understand, maybe recognize that there are, you know, different different modes of, of yourself.

Dean Pohlman: So for me, I do have a work mode, I do have a home mode. And when they overlap, it’s just I’m not who I want to be with my family. So that is it’s good for me to know that about myself. All right, guys, hope you enjoyed this. Hope this was helpful. I’ll be looking forward to seeing you guys on future episodes of The Bedroom podcast if you haven’t already, please consider leaving a review.

Dean Pohlman: You can do that on the Apple Podcast app or through the Spotify app or Google Podcast or Stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts. So if you haven’t started Man Yoga yet, I do have a free seven day challenge for men. This is great for learning yoga, for following along to a basic seven day program, understanding what the poses are for, how they can help you.

Dean Pohlman: You can sign up for that link in the show notes or go to man for yoga dot com slash 7dc Okay guys, thanks for listening. I’ll see you on the next episode by.


Resources mentioned in this episode:

Want to improve your sexual wellness, get stronger erections, and last longer in bed? Then join the FREE 7-Day Sexual Wellness Challenge here: https://shrtlnk.co/uA27H 

Want to unlock more flexibility and strength, reduce your risk of injury, and feel your absolute best over the next 7 days? Then join the FREE 7-Day Beginner’s Yoga for Men Challenge here: https://ManFlowYoga.com/7dc

Tired of doing a form of yoga that causes more injuries than it helps prevent? The cold, hard truth is men need yoga specifically designed for them. Well, here’s some good news: You can start your 7-day free trial to Man Flow Yoga by visiting https://ManFlowYoga.com/join.

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