There’s no doubt that the pandemic has completely reshaped the way we work, with over five million Brits now working mainly from home. Whilst the benefits of working from home speak for themselves, from more flexible working to being able to stay in our pyjamas all day (don’t act like you’ve never done it). However, there are some negatives to this. Whilst productivity is up, expectation is higher, with many working long past their contracted hours, and an expectation to always be ‘online’. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and under pressure, it’s ok – there’s changes you can make to ensure your work stays simply as that. Here are our top tips on how to improve your work-life balance.
Turn off your notifications
As we rely more and more on technology, many of us have not only our work emails on our mobile, but also instant messaging/co-working platform like Teams and Slack, meaning we can be contacted at any point. Preferably, you won’t have any of these apps on your phone, however if you really need them, ensure you turn off your notifications, especially out of work hours and during weekends and holidays. By setting those boundaries for yourself, people will respect and understand when you can and should be contacted, so the pressures of feeling like you have to respond are eliminated.
Consciously plan opportunities to get out and about
Whilst working from home can be more convenient as we eat, work and sleep in the same place, it can be easy to get stuck into a rut of spending more time in the house, and less enjoying the great outdoors and the world around us. If you’re a social butterfly, try and get a couple of plans in during the week, whether it’s a quick coffee in the park or a working lunch with a friend, or a mid-week dinner and trip to the cinema. By having things to look forward to you’ll find yourself with other priorities, and remember that work doesn’t rule all (even if it does sometimes seem that way!)
Ensure you’re taking all of your annual leave
It may seem like an obvious statement, yet since remote working became a part of our lives and travel has become more difficult, many of us are taking less of our annual leave, worrying it may be a ‘waste’. However, taking a break is so important, and whether that’s a long weekend or a whole two weeks off, there’s no doubt you’ll feel refreshed and newly invigorated, perhaps even with some new, exciting ideas. Plus, if you hoard your annual leave for too long, your company has every right to force you to take your holiday at a time that may be inconvenient to you – so be sure to take matters into your own hands.
Make your to-do list manageable
Keeping on top of your to-do list can sometimes feel like an impossible challenge, especially during busy times. Rather than letting it get you bogged down, simply treat and remember your to-do list is a moving product, which should be updated and reprioritised as every task comes in. Ensure you’re communicating work expectations with your team and manager, and if you’re truly feeling overwhelmed, know when it’s time to ask for help, rather than rushing through task after task, potentially not giving them your all.
Remember that some times will be busier than others – and use that to your advantage
Whilst many job adverts have specific contracted hours, more often than not your actual contract will say that some overtime could be included. Whilst sometimes that can be inevitable, it doesn’t mean that this should be happening all of the time. When that occasion does arise, be sure to showcase some flexibility in your working time to reflect yourself well on your team. However, in times where things are calmer, make the most of being able to finish on time, and have your evenings for yourself.
Consider that your job may be the problem
Implemented all of the above yet still feeling like it’s all too much? Your problem may be the job you’re doing itself. Whilst few love every aspect of their job, if you find yourself hating literally every single thing about it, it may be time to consider something else.