From working, parenting, socializing and simply running errands, the covid-19 pandemic has significantly changed the way we live. And for a lot of people across the globe, it has been more than 15 months of working from home. Do they even know what it feels like to go into an office, or commute anymore? There’s no denying that before the pandemic, the flexibility of working remotely was something that many aspired to have. But now that it is possible, most are hoping more and more to return to the old ways of doing things.
Wasn’t this the dream?
For most of us in the Cayman Islands life has returned to some sort of normalcy. I have been back in the office since July 2020. But I have friends who have yet to return or are splitting their time between the office and remote work. In our many conversations, one of the things that we keep coming back to is the death of work-life balance after the pandemic. Did it even exist prior? The new norm certainly has me wondering.
Is working remotely worth the hype?
While there are certainly benefits to working from home, it has brought unprecedented challenges. For one, employees now have more flexibility over when they work. But this also means that bosses no longer have control over the schedule. As a result, employers now expect the staff to be available at any time. So, where do we draw the line?
Seeing my friends go through it is a typical case of easier said. Initially, they were so excited to work from home and put in the extra hours. Safe to say, the initial excitement waned off pretty quick. If you are struggling to establish a work-life balance just as they did at first, here are some tips to get you there—or at least inspire you to think about it.
1. Take breaks and do activities
Most people working from home get so absorbed in their work that they forget to take breaks. You can find yourself subconsciously telling yourself that you don’t need a break since you are at home, but you do. I remember being so engrossed in my work without the usual distractions, that I would sit for hours on end. Moving from task to task and losing track of time won’t do your work-life balance any justice. Instead, work and pause between outputs to reflect, gather your thoughts, and generally allow your body to relax. You will see the benefits in your productivity and your morale over time.
2. Have something to look forward to at the end of your workday
Working and living in the same place can easily blur the difference between work and home life. You know that friend who works and eats at the same table and only stands up for a bathroom break the entire day? Or another who is guilty of working beyond regular working hours because they have nothing exciting to look forward to at the end of the day? It happens to the best of us. But self-care and setting commitments to yourself is just as important as getting the job done. If you find yourself passing on self-care time, having an accountability partner is a great idea to ensure you stick to it.
3. Inform everyone of when you are available
After establishing a schedule, you want it to become a routine. Informing your teammates and boss of this schedule is an excellent way of setting boundaries. However, you should still approach the schedule with some flexibility. For example, if you are a parent, you can’t avoid taking care of your children. Hence, it’s best to consider a routine that works best for your situation.
4. Connect with others
Remember when you could take a moment off work to grab a cup of coffee with a colleague? Or that quick chat by the water cooler? It did make for good conversation or at least a much-needed break, I’m I, right? Similarly, it’s important to remember to take some time to socialize. If you live with family or friends, find someone who is not in your immediate circle. Perhaps a friend or colleague you haven’t talked to in a while.
In Closing, if you are still working remotely, I hope this inspires you to prioritize work-life balance.
What has your experience been? I would love to hear about it in the comments section below. We all definitely would!