Working-From-home during the COVID period comes with its benefits, such as less commute stress, money savings, and location independence, among many others. However, it has become increasingly difficult to balance home time and work time with time. Working from home has become synonymous with working more. This has been propelled by the feeling of being fortunate to be still working when massive layoffs are happening left, right and centre. Employees are putting in longer hours and working harder to prove they are an indispensable part of the company. The fear of being under the employer’s constant surveillance is not making the situation any better. Past five meetings and 3 am emails are becoming quite common.
Working from home is not coming to an end any time soon as we are still in a pandemic. The vaccine is giving us hope of conquering this disease, but I foresee working from home being a trend that is here to stay. It is, therefore, important that employee learn how to juggle their multiple roles. A healthy work-life balance is essential and plays a significant role in personal health, productivity and job satisfaction. How then do we maintain a work-life balance during Coronavirus times?
- Be organized
- By establishing a structured yet flexible routine that will help arrange your life and the various roles. Establish a clear start and end to your day, clearly indicating and adhering to your online and offline hours.
- Creating a dedicated workplace helps in creating balance and set boundaries between work and home life. Dedicate a space free from distraction to be a workstation. It should be a space that provides you with the energy to be creative, solve problems and make decisions.
- Have a to-do list in order of priority. It helps in time management. Daily tasks become more manageable as there is a visual outline of complete and incomplete tasks. It also allows one to stay mentally focused. Remember to be realistic about what you can achieve while making the to-do list.
2. Focus on the goals, not time spent
To perform your best during the set working hours, it is crucial to focus on goals set instead of time spent working. Most people have quarterly or yearly goals, which guide daily tasks and measure productivity. When goals are clear, quality outweighs quantity.
Look for the time of day you are most productive and make the most of it. I have heard several people say with no commute hassle; they are more productive in the morning. They use that productive window period to do the most involving task and focus on the lighter task later in the day. Do away with wanting to spend more time online; instead, start your workday with the question, what do I want to achieve today?
“Don’t Get So Busy Making A Living, That You Forget To Make A Life”- Dolly Parton
3. Communicate your needs
With increased working in isolation due to social distancing directive, be sure to communicate your workplace need with colleagues and personal needs with family and friends. If you lack digital tools that will affect your productivity while working from home, communicate that to HR or IT. Do not suffer or stress in silence.
Let your family or roommates know when you need some quiet time, need help in simple tasks such as shooting videos or bouncing off ideas to someone. Practice proactive communication to avoid future misunderstanding and frustration.
4. Take breaks
Just like you do it in the office, take breaks in between tasks. Pause to have a snack, stretch, listen to a song or two or have lunch. It offers a chance to refill and revitalise for the next few hours. If having a hard time taking breaks, set a timer on when you intend to be taking the breaks.
Annual leave is still vital even while working from home. Many people have refused to take annual leave because they will be home anyway. What they do not realize is, work-from-home burnout is real. The annual leave is a chance to replenish one’s energy levels.
It is possible to excel in your professional life and have a fulfilling personal life. Be in control of your work and be very intentional with your time. As you strive to achieve this balance, remember to be kind to yourself and do what is right for you.