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Lauren Steele

Working the Way You Live: Finding Your Freelance Work-Life Balance


You’re not living to work; you’re working to live. It’s something that generations past didn’t understand. Our parents and grandparents more often than not dutifully clocked in and out of the nine-to-five world. They carefully allotted their ten days of vacation and committed decades of their life to a single job—hoping that a comfortable retirement might come as a reward at the end of it all.

Well, that’s not us. We’ve changed the work economy because we aren’t willing to go through life trying to earn a living just to realize at the end that we never actually lived. By blurring the lines between the personal and professional, our generation is proving that you can have it all—life experience and work experience—by switching up the idea that “working to live” is best accomplished by working the way you live.

It is the new digital age, and we’re making our professional lives as productive as our personal lives by just living one life. Doing away with office distractions (and those damn fluorescent lights) and having the freedom to work wherever you want whenever you want is making employees happier and businesses more profitable—which is why it seems like everyone is working remotely. According to survey results from the American Time-Use Survey, “in 2015, 38 percent of workers in management, business, and financial operations occupations and 35 percent of those employed in professional and related occupations did some or all of their work from home.”

But “home,” is a loose term for anyone who’s ever worked remotely. Sure, you may indulge in a few “no pants freelance” days (as I lovingly refer to them as) tucked away in your bed typing away and crossing off the old to-do list before you even brush your teeth. But increasingly, “working from home” really just means “not working at the office.” That’s why co-working spaces, remote co-living projects, and good old-fashioned coffee shop community tables are filling up faster than ever.

Getting out of the house and getting things done in an environment that encourages both work and play has its benefits—but we have to be real and admit that it also has its drawbacks. When you blur the lines between professional and personal time, overworking and losing your work-life balance is a constant threat. There have been days when I sat in front of my screen until 4 a.m., determined to meet a deadline. I’ve checked my email at every hour of the day, spent the first 30 minutes of my time at the gym hunkered in the corner of the locker room logged into the free WiFi making edits to a story, and snuck away from dinners with friends to do a “quick interview” for a story. And that, my friends, is the fine line where freedom and confinement meet.

The United Nations International Labor Organization released a report in March stating that three types of remote workers were found to have higher stress and experiences of insomnia than those who regularly or always work in an office. The list of those at risk includes people who usually work from home, “high-mobile” employees who consistently work from various locations outside an office, and workers who operate both from an office and off-site.

That’s why remote working communities are bridging the gap and giving you the freedom to stay out of the office while still providing enough structure to keep just a little bit of breathing room for your work-life balance. Joining a remote working community such as WorkEatPlay in New York City (or any of the hundreds of other options Workfrom gives all you freelance birds) keeps you out of the house and the office, striking the perfect balance between discipline and freedom.

In a time where the routine is something different every day, creating a structure with variety allows you to refine and define your most productive self. So get out of your pajamas, stay away from the office, and get on with your best life by working the way you live: balanced.

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WorkEatPlay officially launched in Montauk, NYC, and Brooklyn Friday, June 2nd. All Workfrom members receive 50% daily and monthly memberships with code: WORKFROM17


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