By Muthumala S.
Since the time working professionals moved to a remote work regime, work-life balance has taken a whole new role and meaning in our lives. It was once as simple as managing time spent at work, also meaning at an office; and with family, or personal life, but since the pandemic hit us, it is no more as black and white. While many organisations have pioneered unique initiatives such as mandatory leaves and no meeting days to encourage healthy work-life balance, many of us still find it difficult to manage day-to-day expectations at work, in our personal lives, and pause in between to take care of ourselves.
Here are five tips that can help balance your professional and personal lives while taking care of your wellbeing:
Take Regular Breaks: In a normal work environment, you would have probably stopped to chat with a colleague, get a cup of coffee, or meet your team at lunch. In a remote working scenario, we should continue to take those breaks to break the monotony and unwind. At home, this can be in the form of getting refreshments, spending a few minutes with a pet, talking to a loved one, and so on.
Schedule your sign-in and sign-off: Working remotely is technologically possible but that does not mean you should work round the clock. Create cues for yourself to know when it’s time to begin working and when it’s time to stop working and discourage yourself from checking on work emails or responding to a late-evening work-related text. This practice will also teach you to prioritise work throughout the day and be organised enough to accomplish your tasks on time.
Communicate effectively: With remote work, your colleagues won’t have enough visibility into your personal schedule and at the same time, your family may not realise the urgency or importance of a project you’re spending that extra time for. To avoid a scenario where you seem to be not doing enough, communication is key. Speak up and let everyone know what’s on your plate to manage for the day and ask for help proactively. Make sure you set realistic expectations with your stakeholders.
Be Kind to Yourself: Let’s face it: the pandemic has been hard on each one of us and we have been constantly going through difficult times. It would be unfair to be hard on ourselves, judge every action and decision with a microlens, and allow others to do the same to us. Self-care, as the name suggests, is on each individual self and we need to make regular time for it, without feeling a pang of lingering guilt. Pursuing a hobby, indulging in a favorite meal, reading a book are all examples of self-care that we should never stop doing in order to live a healthy life.
Focus on your mental health: Last but not the least, mental wellbeing should be our top priority when it comes to balancing work, our personal lives, and self-care. Whether directly or indirectly, the pandemic has affected us in more ways than one- creating a fear of losing people, feeling isolated, exacerbating anxiety, stress, burn out and unearthing many other underlying mental health issues. We need to understand that in this scenario, it is extremely important to identify the state of our own mental wellbeing and proactively take steps to address it to lead a peaceful healthy life. Monitoring your emotions and physical responses throughout the day can be a good way to determine where you stand and know when to seek professional help.
As hybrid models continue to evolve, workplaces will need to become more people-centric, empathetic, and personalised as every employee is working out of unique settings with varied responsibilities. At the same time, the onus will remain on each of us to be productive and at the same time create healthy boundaries to maintain the balance between work, life, and self.
The author is the
Head of Human Resources at Congruent Solutions.