People returning to the workforce nowadays have learned how to navigate life post-pandemic, but the question remains, how do Returners create work-life balance when working remotely?
We have had to juggle business calls when we should be eating dinner with our family; leaving a Zoom meeting because a child needs to be picked up from school; the list goes on and on. The National Bureau of Economic Research found, “People working from home log nearly an hour more each day than when they worked in an office” (HRMorning.com). Conversely, Flexjobs.com reports, “77% of employees want to continue remote work post-pandemic, and 65% say their productivity has increased since working from home.” So, with this trend continuing, how can we find balance? Where do we find that happy medium between work and our personal lives?
According to Owllabs.com, “Work-life balance is a term used to describe how workers distribute their time between professional and personal obligations. When someone has a good work-life balance, they’re able to allocate their time so they don’t overwork and can focus on other aspects of their life like, family, friends, hobbies, or social activities.”
Schedule a start and end time
In today’s working world we must work on being intentional about our free time. One of the ways we can create a better work-life balance while being remote is to set a scheduled start and end time to your day. Having set hours will allow you to be more productive, while also establishing boundaries with your team and family. By setting boundaries, your team is aware of when you’re available and the best times to contact you.
Develop a routine
Another way to help create better work-life balance is by beginning your day with a familiar routine (make a fresh pot of coffee, listen to your favorite music or podcast in the shower, practice 10 minutes of yoga) before settling into your workday. It is also possible to “recreate the watercooler.” Schedule time to chat with co-workers about non-work topics utilizing Zoom, Slack or other face-to-face communication tools.
Create a separate workspace
In addition to setting work hours and developing a routine, create a workspace that is just for work. Working from home can be distracting; there is laundry to do, a bathroom that needs to be cleaned or a child watching tv in the background. Having a separate workspace will foster productivity. Find a space in your home and keep it free of those other distractions. On weekends, try to stay out of your home office and refrain from opening your work laptop. Weekends and evenings should be time for you to unwind and not carry over the stress of the day.
Jackie Gaines, author of “Wearing the Yellow Suit: A Guide for Women in Leadership” says, “The right balance is a very personal thing and will change for each person at different times in their lives” (HRMorning.com). Take breaks during the day. Go for a walk outside, make yourself lunch, and read a book. This will help you decompress, re-focus, and feel refreshed to continue through your day.
Flexjobs.com states, “a recent survey of 7,000 professionals found that 73% of workers are burned out (compared to 61% pre-pandemic), and 27% report that it’s due to no separation between work and life.” Your emotional and mental health are important, so it’s necessary to find time for yourself.
Returners should remember to allow themselves grace during their time of transitioning back to the workforce. By implementing these tips into their daily routine, Returners will eventually achieve the work-life balance that is best for them and their families.