When working in an office (pre-COVID 19), it was easier to draw a line between time spent working, and life outside work. The pandemic has now forced people to lock themselves behind their doors at home and life is no longer as it used to be. People who have never worked away from home all their working life have suddenly become remote workers. Parenting, running errands, socialising, and work have now spilled into each other, and finding the right balance has proven to be a challenge for many people.
It may seem impossible, but finding the right balance between work and life is so important for your wellbeing. You’ll find that you can get so much more done and still get quality time with your family and friends. Here are some tips you can follow to achieve this delicate balance:
1. Create a designated workspace
It is important for you to create a dedicated space where you can work in your home. This will help program your mind that whenever you take a seat in that chair, it’s time for work! Try and make it clear to your family that whenever you start working, they should steer clear and let you work (not always possible, we know!). Equip your workspace with everything that you need so that you don’t get distracted looking for things around the house.
2. Establish a routine
With the COVID-19 crisis, you may feel like you have lost control of many aspects of your life. A new routine to help you balance your work and personal life will give you back a sense of control. Set a schedule that details the times you will be working and the times you will attend to other matters in the house, like homeschooling your kids or house chores.
However, remember to leave some room for flexibility in case some things don’t go according to plan!
3. Take breaks
It is very easy to find yourself working non-stop when you’re at home and even extending work up to the late hours of the night. A study has revealed that the average working hours in the U.S. are 3 hours longer since mid-March. Remember that this was not the way you worked at the office; you had moments you would chat with colleagues or take coffee breaks. This is how you should also work at home. Take short breaks throughout the day to chat with a family member or to take lunch. Breaks will ensure you get refreshed before you get back to productive work.
4. Be open about your struggles
Adjusting to remote working is hard! So, if you’re having difficulties coping with workload and family at the same time, talk to your manager about it. It may even be that the lack of interaction with colleagues is making it harder to do team-oriented work. Better communication will make it possible for you and your manager to work out solutions that will make your work easy to cope with.
5. Learn to log off
The lack of commute from the work environment to the home environment may make it hard for you to know when to stop working. Find something that will help make that transition and take your brain off work. You can do this by taking evening walks or making dinner and making a deliberate effort not to go back to your work until the next day. You can even switch off your devices or turn off work notifications to stop you from finishing ‘just one last thing’.
6. Manage your expectations
At the beginning of the lockdown, you probably expected that you would get even more productive with your work and achieve quality time with your family at the same time. If this is proving to be a struggle, don’t beat up yourself about it. Take each day as it comes and find ways to integrate your family, social, and work-life together. Remember that most people are also learning how to make this work and life balance thing work. At the end of it all, you will come out of this knowing a thing or two about balance and you’ll be all the better for it.