One of most indicative signs of a healthy lifestyle is a measured work-life balance. In fact, many candidates cite work-life balance as a deciding factor when looking for jobs. But since the onset of self-quarantine and stay-at-home orders, the physical distinction between work and home has been all but erased—and as a result, many of our work-life balances have suffered.
Living and working under a global pandemic is stressful enough, especially with additional responsibilities like childcare and other family obligations. When your work-life balance starts to falter, it’s a recipe for poor performance and burnout, not to mention the toll it takes on your mental health. In fact, Small Business Trends found that employees working over 55 hours a week are at a higher risk of depression and anxiety than their 35-40 hour/week counterparts. Here are a few tips for maintaining your work-life balance—even under a crisis.
Designate a workspace. The tried-and-true remote work advice is more relevant now than ever—creating a physical distinction between work and home in your house helps to replicate the usual separation you’d have if commuting to work. If you don’t have a home office already, consider designating a different room in the house, or even a specific desk or table. Whatever it is, just make sure it’s not the same space you use to relax, like in bed or on the couch.
Dress for the workday. Remote work comes with its fair share of perks, one being a much more lax dress code. There’s nothing wrong with dressing down while working from home, but wearing the same thing whether you’re on or off the clock further blurs the boundary between your job and your free time. You don’t need to dress in business casual, but putting on a “real outfit” for work and then changing into sweatpants when you’re done for the day can promote a healthier work-life balance.
Plan for breaks and an official lunchtime. In your usual office environment, you probably have breaks peppered in throughout the day to talk with a coworker, enjoy lunch in the breakroom, and maybe take a walk to stretch your legs. At home, these important reprieves from the workday often fall to the wayside. Consistently block out ten to fifteen minutes a day, as well as a lunch hour, to make sure you’re not working through your breaks.
Take some time off. If your work-life balance still feels off-kilter, and you feel like you’re burning out, consider taking some time for a day, or two, or more. While it may seem like a waste to use vacation days when you’re stuck in your own home, it can do wonders for your mental health and overall productivity. Use that reset button, and when you’re ready, go back to work feeling refreshed and ready to go.
Source: Guta, Michael. “The Stats on the Work-Life Balance of Your Employees (INFOGRAPHIC).” Small Business Trends, 13 Feb. 2018, smallbiztrends.com/2018/02/work-life-balance-statistics.html.