The concept of work-life balance could be an illusory concept for most, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now a lot harder to grasp realistically. It’s fairly uncommon to see individuals working long hours, even before the pandemic. But, today, employees all around the world are compelled to work remotely from home to ease the spread of the coronavirus. Prior to the pandemic, leaving the (physical) office on time worked in terms of boundary-setting between personal and professional life. The new normal necessitates a redefinition of work-life balance.
One of the pivoting factors include millennials making up 75% of the workforce by 2025. And, the other includes the more digital-facing world of work we are in today.
Why is achieving work-life balance necessary?
Having a healthy balance between the time spent at work and at home is necessary to be productive, engaged, and happy in both environments. A good balance lowers stress, reduces risk of burnout, and improves employee well-being and motivations at work. Harbouring excessive stress from overwork can also lead to physical effects such as chronic aches, heart problems, hypertension, and various other pains. Additionally, one’s mental health may also suffer over the long-term, contributing to an increased risk of depression and anxiety.
It is a fundamental right to preserve one’s health and well-being, especially during these trying times. Due to factors such as external pressure, increased workloads, and lack of communication, issues like burnout and stress at work are real problems that employers need to be actively cognizant of.
Is work-life balance harder to achieve during the pandemic?
Contrary to what many think, striking the balance is a lot harder than it looks. Many people were, rightfully so, under the impression that working from home would result in a greater amount of time to ourselves, more freedom, and flexibility with work schedules.
While this is true, it negates the fact that working with others in a completely digital environment is uncharted territory for many of us. Flexibility can be a boon if it is unmanaged – many employees have reported spending longer hours at their desk, working sporadically through the night, and feeling compelled to reply to work messages after office hours. If you’re home most of the time, and your office is at home, it can feel like you’re working all the time.
The blurring of boundaries between personal and professional lives here is the precursor to a diminishing work-life balance.
4 ways to achieve work-life balance as you work from home
Set up a dedicated workstation
Keeping your work and play areas separate can help you retain a sense of relaxation and joy that comes with a place of rest, and for many of us, that is at home. Working and watching movies in the same place can be debilitating, even distracting for most of us.
Because working from home looks set to be pretty common in the new normal, it’s essential that you invest in a home set-up. This includes an ergonomic chair, a desk, and a separate space from your living room, bedrooms, and play areas.
Commit to regular office hours
Working from home is much more likely to invoke the tendency to reply to work messages and emails after work. It starts with small tasks but over time, these become a surmountable load that chips away at your physical and mental well-being. By committing to regular work hours, you can look forward to “switching off” at the right time and properly unwind from work.
Incorporate regular exercise when the work day is over
We may be spending more time sitting and lounging around than usual in the new normal, given that places all around are still slowly easing restrictions. Moving your body, even for a short while, does wonders for your health. It restores the sense of balance and provides mental stimulation in other ways that can contribute to greater creativity, innovation, and problem-solving at work.
Make plans for the evening that doesn’t involve work
Not only does it help you effectively switch off from work, it also offers some sense of normalcy during this time. When everyone is home and your office space is also present there, it can be hard to break away from work. Revisiting old hobbies and passion projects such as knitting, reading, writing, and cooking can improve your health by bounds. You also have a reason to leave work on time.
Improve your employees’ well-being with benefits insurance in Singapore
Employers need to care for their employees too. The best way to do so is to revisit the employee benefits insurance plan as priorities and needs shift in the future we face today. Elements such as off days, sick leave, and medical insurance are not the same as before. They may take on new meanings and definitely require some revision. A big aspect to consider incorporating into work hours is the option of flexibility – one that caregivers and parents could use as they adopt hybrid work models.
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