Mother working at home and helping daughter with special needs tying shoelaces

How to Prioritize Work-Life Balance in the New Normal  

The pandemic prompted the biggest shift in the workforce in modern history. The flexibility and savings generated from remote working arrangements have opened doors to new possibilities for workers and companies.  

While remote working arrangements first seemed temporary, now they may be more permanent for some as the threat of the coronavirus continues to pose a risk across the U.S. At first, it might have been easy for workers to accommodate long hours, late-night emails or an uncomfortable chair at the kitchen table given the urgency of the situation.   

But the reality is, the longer you accept uncomfortable or stressful conditions, the more they could affect your mental and physical health. It’s important to take stock of your work-life balance and make adjustments.  

Are You Overworking?  

Working from home – even some of the time – frees you from the rigidity of the 9-to-5 workday and from the time suck of the commute to and from the office. But for some, that could mean all that extra time – and flexible hours – mean you’re putting in more hours in the day than you should.  

Millennial workers are particularly vulnerable to this – especially in their first jobs or at startup companies with a less traditional structure.  

Clock yourself to see how many hours you’re putting in. Do you have time to eat healthy, exercise, take a break for lunch? Is your sleep schedule on track or is it inconsistent? Are you more stressed, anxious or depressed? Have you gained extra weight? Are your relationships suffering? Depending on your answers, these could all be signs that you’re investing too many hours in work and may need to try a different routine in your day.    

Balance Your Life 

Separating your work life and your home life may feel impossible, but it’s critical to draw lines between the two. Here are some habits to try to make sure you can balance your work and your home lives:  

  • Dedicate a workspace to help you concentrate  
  • If you’re a hybrid worker, use your time in the office to schedule meetings and to complete small tasks; save bigger, more intensive tasks for your time at home  
  • Make time for casual conversations and connections  
  • Seek support for home tasks to lessen the burden: grocery delivery, cleaning services and childcare can make a big difference in how you spend your free time and reduce your stress 
  • Set a regular schedule for your work hours and communicate it to your family, coworkers and manager  
  • Set aside a time to do something for yourself every day, like a hobby or exercise  
  • Take breaks during your workday like going for a walk, having a casual phone call or making a healthy snack 

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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