Did you know that it’s National Work Life Week? Running from 12th to 16th October, this annual campaign aims to provide both employers and employees with opportunities to discuss well-being at work, and that all-important work-life balance.
We exist in an ‘always on’ society, and the requirement to work from home during this current pandemic has further blurred the lines between our jobs and our home lives, resulting in increased anxiety and stress levels for many people.
Helping others to achieve a better balance between their careers and personal lives is a topic that’s close to my heart, so let’s delve into some of the ways that you can create and maintain a positive work-life balance, even in these most difficult of circumstances!
“In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.” – Sid Caesar
Create a routine
If you already worked from home on a regular basis, the pandemic might not have affected your working day all that much. For many though, working from home all the time may have been quite a shock to the system!
Wherever possible, try and stick to your usual work routine. Set your alarm for the same time each morning, get out of your PJs (although I know it can be a seriously enticing option not to!), log on as usual, take a lunch break, finish work when you usually would, and go to sleep at your regular time.
Make sure that once you have logged off from your working day, you’re not tempted to keep checking emails or answering calls. It’s so important to have that work-life separation and to make time in an evening to switch off and unwind. You can’t pour from an empty cup after all!
One of the easiest ways to stay on top of everything that needs doing is by making simple to-do lists. It’s also a brilliant way to get all the ‘noise’ out of your head. Make lists for both your work and home life, and then prioritise all the tasks you’ve noted down. We’re not superheroes, and we can’t do everything. Hopefully, by jotting everything down, you will have clarity on what is essential, which things can be pushed on, what can be done by someone else, or better still, what doesn’t actually need doing at all!
When discussing deadlines with colleagues or clients, be realistic. Over-committing and not having sufficient time to deliver will only add additional stress and negatively affect your well-being.
Even if you didn’t participate in it that much before, conversations in the office kitchen, banter, and a bit of office gossip are sometimes the little things that can make an ok day into a fun one! Even though working from home has numerous benefits, we have lost that connection and camaraderie with our colleagues. Find opportunities to stay in touch with your co-workers. Maybe you could have a virtual coffee break, a Friday afternoon quiz, or virtual drinks after work? Not only will it boost your mental well-being, but it will give you something to look forward to as well.
Exercise and fresh air are perfect for boosting productivity and improving your mental state. Why not use the time where you would typically be commuting to work, or your lunch break, to get out and about? Try and build movement and regular screen breaks into your working day too. A few gentle stretches or a lap of the garden can do wonders for concentration, motivation and stress levels!
When you’re working from home, it’s hard not to see the overflowing washing basket or the plates that are piling up by the sink! You might be tempted to get on with these jobs rather than focusing on the work deadlines you have looming. Instead, try incorporating some household tasks into your screen breaks, so that you get them done and they won’t be as distracting for you during your work time.
Your childcare arrangements will probably have been affected by the pandemic too, so you may have small children at home with you, who would love to ‘help’ you with your work or may think that you’re on holiday. Discuss your needs with the whole family and come up with a plan that will enable you to have some quiet time to complete your work.
Create a comfortable workspace
If you can, create a dedicated workspace, preferably somewhere with a door that you can shut at the end of the working day! Be mindful of the area that you’re working in too. Is it warm enough? Is the lighting ok? Is the chair comfortable? Unfortunately, you may not have an ergonomically sound area to work in, so keep getting up and moving around. You could also try gentle neck, shoulder and back stretches to ease any irritating niggles.
Don’t suffer in silence!
If you’re seriously struggling to work from home speak to your manager, plus make sure you check in with other members of your team so that you can support each other during these difficult times.
Found these tips useful and want to find out more about achieving a better work-life balance?
If you’re finding it a struggle to achieve a good work-life balance during the pandemic then please contact me to book an introductory 30-minute consultation where we can talk through your current situation and I’ll advise you on how I can help.