How to Achieve Work-Life Balance in the New Normal
October 22, 2020 by Alexis Babiarz
For many people, attaining the right work-life balance was hard enough before the coronavirus hit. But now that so many of us are working from home full-time (and there’s scant reason to think we’ll head back to the office anytime soon), it seems unlikely we’ll ever re-establish a firm division between our professional and personal lives.
On the one hand, now that there’s no commute and many kids are home for at least the fall semester, we’re working more than ever; on the other hand, did we mention there’s no commute and many kids are home for at least the fall semester? That means stressed-out knowledge workers are getting a lot less alone time these days.
How’s a working-from-home professional to get back some semblance of the balance they had pre-COVID-19? Below, we give our top three tips.
Make Time for Exercise
In one study of professionals, “individuals who exercised regularly were more confident they could handle the interaction of their work and home life and were less likely to be stressed at work,” Russell Clayton, assistant professor of management at Saint Leo University and lead author of the paper on the survey’s findings, said. “The idea sounds counterintuitive. How is it that adding something else to our work day helps to alleviate stress and empower us to deal with work-family issues? We think exercise is a way to psychologically detach from work — you’re not there physically and you’re not thinking about it either — and, furthermore, it can help us feel good about ourselves.”
Your workout doesn’t have to be professional-athlete-inspired to be effective. Just aim for about 30 minutes a day of some activity that raises your heart rate; fast walking, yoga, dancing, even a robust gardening session all count.
Not only is coworking still alive, it’s going strong. Perhaps more than ever before in recent memory, professionals need clean, comfortable, well-appointed spaces where they can get work done — free of the distraction that tends to accompany working from home. Need some further impetus? Those who use coworking spaces are more productive and more likely to see their work as meaningful than non-coworking peers, according to researchers at the University of Michigan.
Add to that the affordability and flexibility of the membership options at Metro Offices (as well as our nine convenient locations), and you’re probably already out your front door, laptop under arm.
Get Some Help
“We’re in this together.” It’s been said a lot in the past six months but frequently (and particularly for parents trying to both earn a living and act as full-time caregivers and/or educators), the ‘new normal’ can be isolating.
For some support that needs no face mask, try a thousands-of-members-strong online support group. In need of some three-dimensional, hands-on aid? Consider posting an ad on a caregiver-finding site, such as Care.com or Sitter.com. By creating your own posting for experienced professionals caregivers to read, you’ll be able to specify your family’s requirements and comfort level vis-a-vis virus-protection measures, such as mask-wearing and recent history of general-population interaction. That way you can rest easy should you choose to hire someone to watch the kids, an elderly relative, etc.
For something a bit less formal (and perhaps easier on the wallet), think about forming your own ‘pandemic pod.’ For working parents, this might involve a paid educator coming to your home or the home of a family friend to help your kids and a handful of others with their online learning a few times a week.
With a well-vetted group in your pod, you’ll get some relief without having to worry too much about virus exposure. “Pods (or “bubbles” or “containers” or “quaranteams”) aren’t just ways for people to have social within a pandemic,” Jeremy Adam Smith and William Winters write in a piece on the phenomenon for UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine. “They also serve an important epidemiological purpose—they help limit the size and spread of outbreaks.”
Recalibrate your work-life scale today. Click here to compare what it costs to run your own office with simply letting Metro Offices do the work for you.
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