The coronavirus pandemic has seen more people than ever before working from home. According to a recent study by ONS, adults stated work-life balance was the greatest positive offered by this move away from the office. This is excellent news, but how are you really finding it and how do you feel about the possibility of being back in an office full-time?
Businesses and, in some cases, individuals are being faced with decisions about the future environmental landscape of work. Back in the office, stay at home, hybrid – there are several possibilities and when there is choice, it is unlikely that one answer is going to work for everyone.
So, before you rush into a decision about what is best for you and your colleagues, have you taken stock of your and their new working life? Are you providing some balance in your day or are you the person whose day may look a bit like this: wake up, computer on, computer off, go to bed? Have you replaced your morning walk to the station or cycle into work with some other form of physical activity or have you waved goodbye to exercise? Do you find that, all of a sudden, it is three in the afternoon and you have missed lunch (let alone had any breakfast)? Do you work right up to the time dinner is ready and fail to interact with the kids when they return from school or are going to bed? Has work become ‘the easy option’? You may well be trying ‘to get ahead of the week’ at work but you are getting behind when it comes to your health, your relationships, your family, and maybe a whole host of other things that are important to you.
Here is an exercise to consider. Simply draw out the three columns below and populate each column with content that is relevant to you and reflects the last week of your life.
Most people will heavily populate the first column (in fact some are capable of writing a dissertation here!), the middle column outlines what you have done for family, friends and community; whilst the third column provides an opportunity to articulate what you have done just for yourself. Now I am not suggesting that each column should be evenly populated but I do think it is important to have something present in the ‘Me’ list.
I don’t know what you want to achieve in life, and there is not a right or wrong, but if balance is something you strive for but feel you are falling short of, do take a moment to reflect. Work and all the things that go with it are important, but maybe there are one or two other things that also merit a bit of attention…not least yourself!
For more reading on this, have a look at Simon’s book – The Battle for Balance.