The pandemic fundamentally changed how we work, and eroded the boundaries between work and home as hundreds of thousands of workers found themselves answering emails and attending virtual meetings from their kitchen tables and sofas.
With the COVID-19 restrictions being eased, more people getting vaccinated, and the government keen on getting people back to the office, it means that many of us will have to readapt to working from the office again.
We have a look at six tips to maintain a healthy work-life balance back in the workplace.
Take your breaks
A recent study by TotalJobs revealed that 51 per cent of workers never take their full lunch break. While it may seem harmless to take a shorter break, in the long term, you could be risking physical and emotional exhaustion by not being properly rested. To avoid burnout and improve your work-life balance, it is important to ensure your take proper breaks.
In the UK, there are strict rules about the amount of time you can spend working without a break. In general, if your working day is longer than six hours, then you’re entitled to a 20-minute break. Most employers offer a minimum of a 30-minute break for an eight hour day, and many offer longer, up to a full hour.
Log off from your screen at the end of the working day
Working from home and a release on portable devices means that the boundary between work and home has become blurred. During the pandemic, many people thought nothing of spending an extra half hour to finish off a report, or even still be answering emails on smartphones at 9 pm.
As we return to the office and get used to working in a physical environment around other people again, we must rediscover the boundaries that we had between work and domestic life before the pandemic for the sake of our mental health.
The best way to achieve this is to ensure you only work the hours you are contracted for. There may be occasions when you might be needed to work extra, but on a typical workday, there’s no need to work beyond the hours in your contract, and your mental health and productivity will thank you for it.
Lose the martyrdom complex
If you start feeling guilty for taking time off, or finishing on time, instead of prioritising your job, then you are likely suffering from workplace martyrdom.
Business Insider describes this as when someone outs their job first and feels the need to demonstrate to everyone how hardworking they are. Being a workplace martyr will harm your work-life balance by disrupting your free time, and allow the pressures of work to intrude on your domestic life.
It will harm your wellbeing, productivity, and your relationships with others, but you can address this by ensuring there are more defined boundaries between your work and home lives.
Stop being a perfectionist
If you’re not satisfied until something is complete as you envisioned it in your mind, then you might be a perfectionist. It can be a useful trait at times, but it has a darker side that will harm your wellbeing if you’re not careful.
Striving for perfection at work will disrupt the delicate work-life balance, as work hours will encroach into your home life. Toning down your perfectionist streak is a great way to improve your work-life balance.
Here are some tips for curbing the inner perfectionist in you:
- Set more realistic targets and expectations for yourself
- Disrupt your inner critic by not recognising the legitimacy of negative thoughts
- Take regular breaks
- Don’t hold yourself and others to impossible standards
It takes more than just flexing your feet under the desk or having a stretch, you need to get out of your chair and move around more.
When we make a conscious effort to move at work, we essentially reset our brain and remind ourselves that we’re humans rather than just machines that eat and sleep. It’s a form of break and studies have shown that it can work wonders for our mental and physical health.
It is recommended to spend at least ten minutes of every 30 minutes standing, and two minutes of that time moving around.
Don’t eat lunch at your desk
When you’re busy, it can be tempting to eat your lunch at your desk while doing more work. Even if you do down tools for your lunch, staying sat in the same place for eight hours and staring into a screen, even if catching up on social media, can seriously affect your concentration, productivity, and the quality of your work.
Go and use your workplace’s canteen or breakout room, or even go outside and catch some sun!
If you’re looking for a coworking space, come and talk to us today!