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How to get a better work-life balance when hybrid working
How to get a better work-life balance when hybrid working
One of the major challenges for most people with the shift to hybrid working, is learning to adapt working practices whilst working from home. A key part of that challenge is ensuring that our home life commitments, are also managed within that.
We understand it is not always an easy transition for some with hybrid working, as not everyone is used to working from home. Whether you’re a business owner or employee, living on your own or with your family, everyone has their own challenges and struggles. Our experts at TalkTalk Business Wholesale have put together some tips that will help you and your employees make sure that you’re successful, both at getting work done and at maintaining mental wellbeing.
What is work-life balance?
Work-life balance is the ability to invest evenly in personal and professional endeavours. The work portion of this balance refers to time spent at work, working from home or performing functions related to work. The life portion of this balance typically includes one's social or personal interests, time with family and friends or any other leisure activities.
As the UK is on a “one way road to freedom", we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel as we see all aspects of society reopening by June 21. However, we can all agree that hybrid working is here to stay. With most of us continuing to work from home, it’s fair to say many peoples work-life is off balance. There are lots of ways businesses owners and your employees can claw back time and regain a healthy work-life balance. Here are our useful tips and guidance to show you how:
It might seem like a simple tip, but it’s a crucial one. Although it may be tempting to work from home in your PJs, and for some it doesn't make a difference, research has shown that getting dressed can help with productivity and for getting your mind in work mode.
This also goes for when you finish work – get changed, get your comfies on and relax.
Make your time count
How often do you start what should be a small task, only to look up to find hours have gone by and the light is fading? Especially with hybrid working. Time management can be a major headache and it's all too easy to lose track of how long things should take. Using an app, such as Timely, to log your hours, allows you to see exactly where your efforts are going. Doing this can not only help ensure you're being efficient with your time and can identify activities that are taking longer than they should.
Stick to a routine
A schedule creates boundaries to define your working day. It doesn’t have to be regular office hours, but if you’re not careful you’ll be dipping in and out of work 24/7. Different routines work for different people. Whether it’s starting work early before the kids get up, taking lunch at a time that works for you, finishing early or taking an hour out to get that daily walk in – fitting work around you is a benefit we need to be taking advantage on. Experiment with what works for you and your household. If you have the flexibility to shift your hours to suit your lifestyle, go for it.
Learn to switch off
It’s hard not to be tempted to finish off a few things in the evening when you have spare time. There are, however, simple ways to disconnect. With hybrid working there will be some days where you will clock off at a set time and travel home from work—however, when working from home, you will need another evening ritual.
Use dinner as a natural cut-off point and put your laptop and work phone away. If you can’t see your work laptop and phone, you’re much less likely to reach for them. Scheduling a call with someone outside of work at 5pm gives you a deadline to finish your work tasks – and a chat with family or friends will quickly switch your brain from work to play mode.
No work weekends
Treat weekends differently, which means zero work time. Use this time to completely switch off, relax and treat yourself. Most of all, make them fun. Whether it’s a long walk, baking or having a Netflix binge, make sure you do something for you.
Create your own workspace
When working from home, if possible, physically separate work from the rest of your home life. This can be difficult with certain living situations, for example if you’re in a one-bedroom flat you might have to get creative. Whether it’s setting up in your kitchen, bedroom or you’re blessed with your own office – try and separate where you work and where you relax.
It’s always good to remember that having a work-life balance does not mean that work and life always represent exactly 50% of your time and energy. There will be times when it is necessary to give more to one than the other. What is important is that you are aware of the need for balance, you are establishing systems and structures to support that, and you are flexible in creating new routines as needed. Flexibility allows you to see short term adjustments in the context of the bigger picture. Being flexible and staying late to make up for it another night helps relieve the concerns of missing work and allows you to meet your personal and professional obligations.
Another serious hindrance to a good work-life balance can be slow connectivity. With hybrid working becoming the norm, it’s clear that homeworkers need great connectivity to enable you and your employees to be productive and collaborate efficiently.
If you're spending time waiting for a file to download, especially whilst sharing connectivity with other family members, or struggling to maintain a good wireless connection to respond to customer queries, this can quickly add up to hours wasted over the course of a week, which will have to be made up when you should be enjoying downtime. A fast and reliable connection means you can get everything done much faster and free up time.
Effective work-life balance requires that you spend your time meaningfully in each of the respective spaces. With hybrid working here to stay, it’s important for you and your employees to make sure that you are successful at getting work done and at maintaining mental wellbeing.
For more information, read our recent whitepaper on 'The impact of COVID-19 and levelling up hybrid working' here.