Depending on who you ask, achieving proper work-life balance means different things. No doubt the events of last year put forward the importance of achieving it. As people started working remotely, the line between their personal and professional time got much more blurred. Still, not everyone achieves work-life balance in the same way. A married couple with children, for instance, define work-life balance differently from someone living by themselves.
Despite differences, there are still a few ideas that remain true for everyone. Many of which focus on initiative, communication, organisation and limitations. While these principles undoubtedly can help in 2021, they will also prove helpful for years to come.
Define Your Boundaries and Expectations
One of the biggest challenges in finding work-life balance is setting boundaries and expectations for yourself. Too often did we hear about being in “uncertain times” last year and this can have an effect on what is expected of us. Performance anxiety can arise when people are unsure of their work approach and what to achieve.
We’ve discussed previously that boundaries are not just defined as a physical, but also a mental space. Indeed, having a dedicated work area in your home can help set up boundaries between professional and personal freedom. However, boundaries should also come with what you are required to do. These boundaries also need not be complicated ones. Refraining from answering work emails after office hours, for instance, is a good start. While it certainly is tempting to be on-call all day for being at home, avoiding this can lead to much more productivity. Talking with family about your priorities can also help them understand when it is time for you to focus on work.
It is essential to foster employee engagement and team building. On one hand, it helps develop cooperation and teamwork that can be a boon to business growth. At the same time, it makes everyone feel included and aware of what’s going on. In a time where socialisation is very limiting, this is both timely and important. To that end, team leaders and managers must also set clear goals and progress updates to give teams a sense of direction and stay motivated.
Stay Connected and Keep Communicating
Even before the lockdown, proper communication was always vital to solving several issues in the office. For some, having this consistent communication created an empathetic workplace where they could thrive. With the shift to remote work, checking in with team members became a different challenge. No longer were casual conversations by the pantry or around the office floor possible. Instead, these interactions moved online, whether it was over video conferencing or through SMS.
This presents a good opportunity for teams to stay communicated. In the case of Diversify for instance, our monthly huddles moved to a virtual space once a month. While lacking some flair that in-person huddles always had, keeping tabs on everyone – even monthly – is helpful. Staying connected allows everyone to not only remain updated on latest company happenings, but also understand where everyone is mentally. In doing so, constant communication encourages others to participate, have their voices heard and can also share constructive feedback. These connections do not also have to be with everyone. Something even as simple weekly catch-ups over coffee where everyone checks in and even newcomers feel welcome can be very helpful.
Let Yourself Go Once In Awhile
Up until this point, we’ve discussed how to balance out the work side things. Finding the balance is a challenge for many people when both work and play are happening under the same roof. Though we often spend a third of our day working, it can sometimes crossover into personal time. It shows that even with a remote work setup, it’s essential to know when “work” ends.
This ties back to what we said about defining proper work-life balance differently. It’s often recommended to do fun activities or events that can switch off “work mode” for a while. For families, this can mean spending time together at home or playing in a safe space. Most of us use this for online get-togethers or virtual parties with those closest to us. Some people have even taken to adopting new hobbies during the lockdown, like gardening and coffee making.
Regardless, reducing your stress makes you a much better and productive person at work and home. Whether in the office or not, you will be more focused and motivated when you get to enjoy the things you like once in a while.
Earlier, we stated that people must never forget that everyone has different personal and professional responsibilities in life. In such odd times, it is essential to empower and motivate them as it reflects not only on them professionally but also outside of office hours. With a renewed sense of motivation and productivity, anyone’s overall work-life balance can reach new heights.
It certainly is challenging to say when we will return to normal this year. With a global vaccine rollout happening as of this writing, one cannot help but feel hopeful. For now, attaining a proper work-life balance in 2021 will mean setting clear goals, staying in the loop and always having a bit of fun in between. Whether at home or in the workplace place soon, these can indeed become ingredients for future successes.