Kids photobombing your meetings, the homely sounds of the grinder in the kitchen, intermittent internet connectivity or the lack of it, and the innovative home/office dress code have become part of our new living normal. The boundaries between home and office are disappearing. Divya Soman breaks down the art of balancing work and personal life in this new normal…
Ever since the first lockdown was announced in March 2020, people have been working from home. Most companies have seen a marked improvement in productivity and a huge decline in employee leave of absence. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella pointed out that this trend can have far-reaching consequences. He went on to add that the long working hours could lead to excessive emotional burnout and impact the mental wellness of the employees over a longer period.
By working from home, we may just be moving from one dogma to another. But let us not paint a gloomy picture here. Here are some steps we can take to maintain a good work and life balance.
Define the boundaries
During the regular office days, one would arrive and leave office at a stipulated time. This is missing when you work from home. Be disciplined, and ensure you have a routine while logging in and logging out. This gives your mind the time to assimilate the opening and closing of work. Once you log off from work, shut down your laptop, clear the desk and walk around the room or better take a walk outside. Do not think about work again till the next day. Don’t get worked up, avoid slogging unless it is a very urgent task.
Prioritise your work
There is only so much that you can achieve. Just because you are working from home does not mean you need to toil hard the entire day or complete everything. Prioritise your work. Choose things that need more attention. Planning is very important for work. It not only helps you achieve more but also gives you the much-needed breathing space. Before you start the workday, plan the things you would like to complete. Be realistic and then stick to these goals. Don’t overload yourself. Understand your potential and then plan based on that.
Maintain a fixed time for your meals. Take a break for coffee or snacks. Try to login and logout at about the same time each day. This also sends out a clear message to your team about your availability. No one can force you to work 24/7. Stick to your office timeline.
Avoid being a perfectionist
While it is good to seek perfection in everything you do, let it not become a cause of worry. At home, you may not have access to everything you had in the office. Nothing wrong. Learn to live with it gracefully. If you don’t have access to a printer, write it out. If your kid needs to talk to you in the middle of an official discussion, excuse yourself for a minute. It doesn’t hurt to give your family that little slice of your time, even on a busy work day.
Do not ignore your health
Long hours of sitting without the proper ergonomic support, untimely food intake, reduced water intake, reduced physical activity can be detrimental to your health. Many companies are supporting their employees in setting up a home office. If your company is not one of them, spend the money out of your pocket. This is the least you can do for your health.
Interact with your team and friends
There are no two ways about the fact that the most missed part of office during this pandemic has been the interaction with people, colleagues and friends. While Zoom and WebEx meetings may not be able to give you the same feel, they are still your best chance of staying connected. Utilise them well. Have virtual breaks, casual meetings, and gupshup sessions just to chill out. Organising online games and competitions is also an option you can explore.