TIME OUT: Work-Life Harmony

Woman balancing work and family life.

The work-life discussion has been ongoing for years on both employer and employee fronts.

It is easy to see, however, that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought an entirely new dimension to this discussion. In 2016, only an estimated 6% of Americans worked primarily from home. In December 2020, this number was around 24%, and it seems likely many of these positions may stay remote permanently.

Leaving one’s home and going to a separate workspace can create sharp delineations between home and work. Those lines are now blurred for those that work from home. The key to maintaining a healthy relationship between work and life in these circumstances is setting boundaries for yourself on both sides of the equation:

  • If you no longer have a commute, set a transition period for yourself into and out of work. Take a brief walk before logging in for the day and try setting aside 5 or 10 minutes to wind down before re-entering the “life” portion of your evening.
  • If your living situation allows it, have a dedicated workspace set up. Having a specific physical location to work in helps establish it as separate from the rest of your home, which can make focusing in it easier.
  • It is equally important to not work during off hours. While it’s easy to answer an email or schedule a meeting – it only takes a few minutes! – this can create unconscious patterns that erode your boundaries between work and life.
  • As part of this process, talk with your manager to make sure you have the same expectations of your availability. If you are in a managerial role, have these conversations with your employees.

A good work-life balance is beneficial for your physical and mental health, productivity, and overall happiness.

RESOURCES

How to Improve Your Work-Life Balance – WSJ
Importance of a Work-Life Balance (news-medical.net)
Work, family or personal life: Why not all three? (nih.gov)
The Evolving Definition Of Work-Life Balance (forbes.com)