Sitting in the office (socially distanced of course), and reflecting on National Work Life Week, #worklifeweek, and I can see how important it is this year, more than ever, to recognise and manage getting that balance right.
We’ve spent months working at home, with hundreds of Zoom meetings (and quizzes), many of us juggling homeschooling children of various ages. Then recently some of us have returned to an external office environment, only to be advised to work at home again. All of this, whilst managing additional and complex COVID restrictions that are upon many of us.
So do we have a better balance now we can work at home and don’t have to manage a commute? Is it better for us as we can flex our day to accommodate the school run, the Amazon delivery, getting the washing on or walking the dog? Or, in fact, is that adding to the pressures we already put on ourselves as we are more readily available for work due to the lack of commute, the need to stop a couple of times a day to collect the kids or walk the dog. Do we work into the night as it’s ‘quieter’, or check our emails more frequently because we are having to use our phones/tablets more?
I think many of us can relate to not quite getting the balance right, and the pressure of work, family, and navigating COVID has had an impact on us all in one way or another.
Looking back to what we did as an organisation, pre-COVID I think as a team we did manage the work/life challenges well. Every couple of months we invite a yoga and meditation tutor to the office for a few hours of self-reflection, allowing the team to engage as little or as much as they wanted. Team members then had the tools to do this at home. We’d make sure we’d have team lunches or an after-work drink to celebrate not only birthdays but work successes and challenges, allowing team members to decompress before going home.
As an organisation we have always been flexible in our approach to work, enabling people to work from home if they have wanted to, providing them with the kit and equipment to do their job, and allowing them to set the working parameters of the day. It could be why we seamlessly moved into working from home back in the March lockdown.
National Work Life Week 12-16 October is Working Families’ annual campaign to get people talking about wellbeing at work and work-life fit. With all this in mind, what can we do to address the balance in these ever-changing and challenging times?
Don’t be too hard on yourself to achieve everything. Plan and schedule social time into your day, whether that is a call to someone who you haven’t spoken to for a while, take a walk along a different route, write down your thoughts, or even take time to finish the Netflix boxset. Whatever works for you, it’s important to get that balance right!