Working from home? Here’s how to get the work life balance right in the holidays

By Jenna Paulin | 23 Dec 2020 View comments

The notion of working from home was once considered to be a luxury for some. Fast forward to 2020 and it became  mandatory for many. Now that the economy is reopening we are slowly being allowed back into the workplace. The situation is fickle; we have some people shouting from the rooftop with excitement and others who want to work from home permanently. What is the solution? It is a scenario that many businesses will need to evaluate.

Whether you love working from home or not, separating work life from home life has never been harder. The majority of people working from home are working harder than they ever have. There are several factors that can contribute to this.  

It might be the need to “be on” as there isn’t a separate living and work space. There might be team members working alternative hours as they are home schooling. You might be home schooling. For those you have traditionally not worked from home, there is a real mindset shift to be able to do this and maintain productivity.  

With the holiday season in Australia upon us a good portion of businesses are closed for a well-deserved break. It is critical during this time that people feel like they have had a chance to switch off. 

That means as a business owner or manager putting boundaries in place when it comes to separating work life to home life; the culture and expectations are set from management.   

Having defined boundaries are crucial so colleagues understand and respect when people are on and offline. This might come in the form of shared working calendar, or simply a Monday email to the team communicating when you are available for that forthcoming week.  

No one could ever have predicted what occurred in 2020, as a rule of thumb come summer everyone is ready for a break. This year it will be more important than ever to switch off. We have had to adapt in so many ways throughout 2020, the next step is to unlearn some of these behaviours so we can truly have some time off.

So what can you do to make sure work and life don’t get merged into one? 

Work to a structure 

Have dedicated times in the week when you are working and when you are not – don’t blur the lines otherwise you will never feel like you have had a break. 

Time for yourself 

Make sure you focus on you, allow yourself to have the freedom you deserve after a tough year. Arrange gatherings with friends and family that make you happy. Get out of the house, have a change of scenery with a new environment. 

Switch off

Turn your mobile phone off when you aren’t required to be on, disable email notifications or delete work emails from your phone and lock your laptop away if you really need to. 

Speak up

If you are struggling after such an isolated year make sure you speak up and utilise the support networks around you. That may be speaking to friends and family, colleagues, utilising your company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or seeking professional support. Don’t bottle your feelings up. 

Heading into 2021 it is a great time to reflect on the year and determine if there is anything that you need to put in place to support you in the workplace. Working from home during 2020 was not planned or a choice for most people, so it is time to take control back and create a work environment that you benefit from.