Work-Life Balance in the Time of COVID-19

8 Dec 2020

The discussion of work-life balance during this COVID-19 pandemic has become an important topic this year. More people became busier than ever, and many have transitioned into a remote work setup. From the outset, finding the right work-life balance between career obligations and personal interests is a challenge. Compound that with the current global crisis, and it becomes an even larger river to cross. Some would go so far as to say that COVID-19 work-life balance would be impractical this year.

When you think about it, “Work-Life balance” sounds like such a simple concept. From the phrase itself, it’s finding the right median in your professional and personal life that ensures one does not overlap the other. It’s perhaps best summed up in the famous quote “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” No matter how rewarding your career path is, being too immersed in your work can become tiring. At the same time, unused, idle personal time can result in feeling unfulfilled.

Indeed, finding the ideal work-life balance during COVID-19 is now more challenging, but also needed more than ever. What it looks like, however, largely depends on your priorities and how you can adjust to recent changes.

A Mutual Development of Strengths

Even before the pandemic, achieving the right balance was nearly impossible. People have different needs and interests, so finding this balance is not a one-size-fits-all approach. People are defined by their personality, goals, and ambitions— both professionally and personally. What works for one may not always work for another. For instance, a single parent working from home can have vastly different interests from a fresh graduate starting their professional career. 

Different lifestyles mean different priorities for many.

People’s professional and personal lives are complementary. It sounds obvious, but having a distinct separation between work and home life is a huge difference maker. People need time and energy to focus on their activities and personal relationships. Even if it’s just small changes, the benefits will outweigh the struggles in the long run. In other words, they should support and strengthen one another, not be in conflict. 

Finding this separation between professional and personal satisfaction is much trickier today. With personal and professional lives now under one roof, it takes more time and energy to put in the work. Take care of yourself and consider the benefits of some of that effort being spread elsewhere.

Keeping Your Work-Life Balance 

With the new year looming, it might be a good idea to consider some resolutions in your professional and personal life. Amidst all the talk of a “new normal” happening, there are still some fundamentals when considering proper work-life balance.

Be Aware of Your Priorities

As mentioned earlier, people have different priorities from each other. Depending on your personal core values, you determine what your objectives, goals, and aspirations are. To that end, you can look at finding your work-life balance the same as finding your “sweet spot.” Ask yourself what your talents are and how they can help you be more fulfilled. 

Introducing a COVID-19 work-life balance certainly shifted priorities during this pandemic. Others also discovered new things about themselves that they can help develop. Regardless of the case, using your strengths daily — whether you’re at work or at play – can give you a sense of what is currently most important to you.

It’s okay to say “no”

Something that the remote work setup brought was a disruption of boundaries. Literally or figuratively, proper work-life balance is about determining your limits. This sometimes manifests as tight deadlines or intense activities that make you go beyond your standard hours. This year, needing to have a physical separation of work and personal space also became important. 

When working from home, people may fall into the trap of working extended periods because they’re just at home. However, it’s important to remember that working long may not mean being productive. Doing so may also conflict with your personal activities, whether it’s with family or doing your hobbies. During this pandemic, people are putting more hard limits on the work they do at home to help de-stress better.

Remember, it’s okay to say “no” once in a while.

Stop and Smell the Roses

It’s no secret how heavy this pandemic has been on many of us. While some threw themselves into their work, others were not so lucky. People say that 2020 was a good year to also reflect and a reminder to take some needed breaks. It’s given them time to appreciate everyone around them.

Quality time with loved ones is essential, especially in uncertain times

Counting the days towards vacations or leaves is no longer the norm for them. Short, regular breaks can do wonders for their work-life balance. Whether it’s getting some quick exercise at home or playing with the family dog, these improve your well-being and can help you stay focused and productive.

The New Year Ahead

Much like work-life balance, the definition of success also varies between people. Finding the right COVID-19 work-life balance is a very personal challenge as priorities are likely to shift. That also means redefining what it means to be successful is this current environment. Maybe it can mean spending time with family, having a steady job or staying healthy amidst a pandemic. Whatever it is, consider what works for in keeping your career on track while having sufficient time for your personal life.

This also highlights the importance of communication. Be it your team at work, your family or significant other, an honest chat can go a long way in achieving work-life balance. By being clear with what your priorities, everyone can lend their support in reaching your goal.