The New Work/Life Balance

Written by Hannah Foreman

With this new world that we’re all living in, I’ve been thinking about the topic of Work/Life Balance as things have changed. Before COVID-19, a Work/Life Balance was extremely important to the majority of employees. They wanted flexibility in their hours or the ability to work from home when necessary. They wanted to be able to get their exercise in, not sit in traffic for hours, pick their children up at 3pm or attend their child’s school play…

For most of us who work in an office, our Work and Life have become intertwined as one for the past 3 months. Working from home is the new normal, along with exercising at home, having school at home, doing everything at home…

For my own personal situation, I live by myself, so this situation has become quite lonely. For those now with their partners, children or roommates constantly in their space I can imagine they are craving some “me” time.

Regardless of your own personal situation, everyone’s home has become their work, therefore it can be super tricky (or even impossible!) keeping that Work/Life Balance, you may not have even noticed that you no longer have it. The line between the two has become blurred.

With that said, I think it is super important for us all to try and have some separation between Work and Life while working from home. Below are a few tips I’ve been trying to incorporate into my new normal;

  • Have a clear start and end to your day (and stick to it!) – Now that we don’t have to beat the traffic or get to a yoga class at a specific time, it can be tempting to just work and work into the wee hours of the morning. Try your best to not do this. Have that mental separation (because we no longer have the physical separation) and shut the computer down, turn off your phone.
  • Have a daily/weekly schedule – In addition to the start and end of my day, I’ve been trying to have organized days of what I’ll be doing every evening. Having some structure is needed. We, as humans, are creatures of habit and that schedule will help manage stress.
  • Take time to chat to friends and family – For me, living by myself, this is super important. I try my best to have video calls with at least one friend once a week and speak to my family frequently.Take time out of your day for that social interaction.
  • Take some time for yourself – If you’re situation is the opposite to mine, you might have your family driving you up the walls. Find some space for yourself – Go for a walk or a drive. (Even lock yourself in the bathroom and have a bath away from the kids!)
  • Have a specific workspace – Something I’ve found helpful, even though I have a one bedroom apartment, is to have a separate work space than my relax space. I know that when I’m sitting in my “desk” chair (It’s a wooden chair with a metal back at my dining room table – highly uncomfortable) I know I’m at “work”. When I’m on the couch, I’m not!
  • Take breaks! – Many of us are guilty of this, even when we’re at the office. We don’t take lunch breaks or coffee breaks. One benefit, if you do have children, is I’m sure they’ll distract you to no end and you’ll be forced to take a break away from the screen. For those of us who don’t have this, again, schedule those breaks. Take an hour lunch break. Sit outside.
  • Be thankful – As weird as this situation is, we’re now in Week 12 of working from home, I am thankful for the little things. We’re lucky this happened in a time when we have the technology to adapt. I’m happy to have a safe space in my own home, have the ability to listen to country music all day and take a yoga class at 12pm on my lunch break. My cat is not overly thrilled about his space being invaded but I’m also thankful for his company.

The above might be something you’ve seen already but I think they are worth while points to think about. How quickly normal life changed, that I forgot about this Work/Life Balance and now it’s definition has completely changed, along with the rest of the world.