6 ways to maintain your work-life balance as the working world evolves

Week three of Stress Awareness Month is about working habits. Prevention Lead Gosia Bowling and Head of Emotional Wellbeing Brendan Street discuss ‘leavism’, ‘bedmin’ and how we can adapt to hybrid working.

With restrictions continuing to ease, and more businesses deciding to adopt a hybrid work environment, there’s likely to be a shift in your working situation in the near future.

Many companies already allow flexible working, but some will implement a permanent blended working model, with employees continuing to work from home a few days a week.

But what does this mean for us in terms of stress? And how can we retain or regain control as we adjust to working in new ways or hybrid working environments?

Challenges of continued remote working

Some of us may have struggled to switch off after work due to blurred boundaries between work and relaxation. Others may have found themselves catching up on work outside of contractual hours or even using annual leave to complete work tasks – so called ‘leavism’. All of these can impact on your sleep, increasing the chance of stress, burnout and health problems.

An added complication is that our bedroom has sometimes doubled-up as a workspace, with some of us also engaging in ‘bedmin’ (doing admin in bed). These combined factors can result in disturbed body clocks, interrupted sleep and further stress.

With working from home likely to form part of the working week for the foreseeable future, it’s important we find ways to manage these challenges.

Things to consider as we head back to the office

Many companies have recognized the positives of working from home, such as less time spent commuting, more flexibility and better work-life balance. Indeed, many of us many have taken advantage of the extra time to pick up habits and hobbies that can help to reduce stress, such as running, yoga and gardening.

As hybrid working begins, we’ll start to spend more time away from home, so maintaining these healthy habits should also be our focus.

There may be some apprehension about returning to an office if you’ve been working from home for over a year. However, once we get over the initial awkwardness and get used to new procedures, working in the office again may reverse many of our remote working difficulties, giving us the best of both working worlds.

6 ways to maintain a good work-life balance

  1. Establish clear boundaries: Take a look at our Leaving work at work checklist.
  2. Maintain good sleep habits: Here’s are some Practical tips for a good night’s sleep.
  3. Plan non-negotiables into your diary: Good habits you’ve developed over lockdown are just as important as that 3:30pm meeting with Sharon from Human Resources – set a reminder for your daily walk or meditation and stick to it.
  4. Create a healthy meal plan: Use your extra time on working from home days to plan and prepare lunches ahead of time so your healthy eating doesn’t suffer.
  5. Take regular screen breaks: Wherever you work, it’s important to get up and move around. Think about NEATS (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) – this is energy expended for everything we do that isn’t sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It includes the energy expended when typing, fidgeting or wandering from room to room. NEATS play a role in reducing stress and maintaining a healthy body weight.
  6. Clear out or reorganise your bedroom: Create and respect healthy borders between work and home. Even if you work from this room, ban bedmin!

How will you maintain your work-life balance?

This week you could pledge to do any of the above. Once you’ve decided, let us know on Instagram or Facebook.

And keep an eye out for next week’s article where we’ll be exploring the ways we can improve our physical health, in order to support our mental health.

Last updated Wednesday 21 April 2021

First published on Wednesday 21 April 2021