Work-life balance is difficult for the go-getter, but when you’re able to go to the office and escape home, you’re almost forced to have some semblance of balance. However, the pandemic has led to many people working from home. Remote working has led to people working more hours, and the decay of work-life balance is starting to show.
The Impact the Pandemic Had on Work-Life Balance
NordVPN Teams claims that the only countries where working hours have receded back to pre-pandemic levels are: Belgium, Denmark, France, and Spain.
In the US, UK, Canada, and Austria, people are working a staggering 2.5 additional hours per day. The average person is working 12 more hours a week, or an extra day and a half of work, which has led to less time socializing and more time in front of screens. Many people have remained home as much as possible to meet lockdown restrictions and COVID-19 guidelines. The lack of going out, spending time with friends and family, and other areas of fulfillment outside of work has largely been ignored.
The boundaries of work and life have started to fade for many people, leading to lower levels of well-being and control. Monitoring software has made matters worse for some people that feel that they must be always connected and impress their bosses. After all, many people lost their jobs, and workers feel the need to work harder to maintain their employment.
What You Can Do to Restore Your Work-life Balance
If the pandemic has led you to forget about work-life balance, it’s time to do everything that you can to restore this balance. Your well-being and happiness will suffer if you don’t take time to break the cycle of continual work. A few steps that you can take today to restore balance are:
- Take breaks. It sounds simple, but you need to take a break. Schedule breaks into your day, even if that means having lunch with yourself or a friend without being connected.
- Drop the guilt. A lot of workers go on hikes or for a walk only to have their heart sink because their boss texted them or they missed a Slack message. Set boundaries. If you have lunch or work ends at five, don’t feel guilty for not being available 24 hours a day.
- Create transition times. Under normal circumstances, people transition from work to home life. For example, your transition may be the train commute back home after work. Create a transition for at-home work, too. The transition may be working out or going for a drive or walk after working.
- Establish a routine. You need to have a schedule, even in the most relaxed work environment. You can regain some control over your work and life by setting up a schedule that does have some flexibility.
- Create your workspace. Finally, be sure to have a dedicated workspace where you go to work and can close the door at the end of the workday. If you’re working from your kitchen, living room, dining room, and other rooms in the home all through the day, it can make it difficult to put down work. These environments have now become your office rather than a place to sit down and relax.
Employers will also need to make changes, such as implementing new policies, to ensure that their employees have a work-life balance. Otherwise, they’ll be creating a workforce that is set for failure with poor mental and physical health.