With usual routines turned on their heads for so long, many people have reported their work-life balance when working from home as worsened. With mental health for many suffering, the need to find a good balance is now more important than ever. A commute can take time when we aren’t all lucky enough to live 5 minutes from the office or an earlier alarm to look presentable throughout client meetings can feel unfavourable. The morning school run or post-work workout can leave Monday-Friday feeling like all work and no play. But does working from home really fix that?
If you aren’t lucky enough to have a home office, and your ‘office’ is an Ikea desk in the corner of your bedroom or a pile of paper, notepads and a laptop that moves from the dining room table to the sofa, dependant on where you want to work that day, is working from home really that desirable? How can you switch off in an evening when your work is sat four foot away looming over you?
When you leave the office at 6pm, you leave your work and that client that wound you up over the most insignificant detail behind to be dealt with tomorrow. Working from home can feel open ended, telling yourself just five more minutes or just one more task, you can’t just hang up on a team’s meeting with your manger because your phones flashing 18:30 and you want to crack on with the Netflix series you started last night. Or worst of all, checking work emails from the comfort of your own bed at 11pm just to ensure your reply isn’t still lingering in your ‘drafts’.
Younger generations who graduated throughout the pandemic have been sold a glamorized alternative to office-based work, simply because the office wasn’t an option. An office can offer much more than just a workspace, it can be a social hub, a place for networking with a crowd more diverse than your friendship group. Avoid work-from-home burnout by a return to the office even if it’s just part time.
Research shows that in reality, people are happy to come into the office for some period of time each week. Statistically, people are happier when they have a sense of connection with others and a sense of purpose. It’s also a fact that working in a team encourages personal growth, increases job satisfaction, and reduces stress.
Technology makes workers accessible around the clock. Fears of job loss incentivize longer hours. The stress from the never-ending workday is damaging. It can hurt relationships, health and overall happiness. Work-life balance means something different to every individual, but how do you find the balance that’s right for you.
Getting that balance right has many great benefits not least for your personal wellbeing. We have highlighted the key advantages of finding your optimum work-life balance:
1. It can reduce stress – Avoiding too much focus on work – whether at your desk or even mulling over tomorrow’s meeting as you brush your teeth – can reduce stress, which of course has other knock-on advantages for your physical and mental health
2. It’s likely to boost productivity – both at work and in your personal pursuits
3. You’ll feel more motivated – when everything’s in harmony, you’ll feel more motivated not only at work but you’ll find yourself more able to enjoy your time off too
4. It’ll help boost your creativity – With renewed motivation and less stress you can foster greater creativity
5. You’ll feel more in control – Perhaps most importantly, a proper work-life balance will help you feel more in control
Finding that happy state means prioritising what is important to you, and making sure, you’re dedicating enough time and energy to it, rather than sacrificing it at the altar of work.