By Ashley K. Taylor, D.B.A.
Faculty Member, School of Business, American Public University
We are used to going into the office, sitting at a desk, and working and collaborating with our colleagues. The social distancing restrictions, however, have curtailed much of that interaction because many of us are working from home.
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While teleworking has become somewhat commonplace in recent years, we are faced with additional challenges in maintaining a work-life balance. These challenges might include a house full of children who are no longer in school; spouses and partners who are no longer working or, like you, are working from home; and pets that are very excited to have the company of the family all day.
Achieving a Work-Life Balance from Home
How can we achieve a work-life balance when these challenges have seemingly begun to meld together? Here are some suggestions that might help:
1) Designate a specific workspace. Have the tools you need for work easily accessible in a specified place in your home. Many of us do not have a separate room in which to work, but it is important to create a clear line of demarcation between where you work and where you rest and interact with your family. Specify where work ends and life resumes.
2) Designate specific work hours. It is easy to fall into the trap of working nonstop all day when you’re working from home. You get up and even before you dress, you’re at your computer.
This is a recipe for burnout. Limit your work time to a specific number of hours a day. Some positions allow you to decide when you will work. Other jobs are restricted to certain hours during a specific span of time to accommodate others in the company in a different time zone.
3) Disconnect and recharge. Make sure you take time to disconnect from work. Meditate, exercise or do some deep breathing before you transition from work to family life. Try to leave the stress of work at your designated workspace so the job doesn’t trickle into your family interactions.
It’s a challenge to navigate through a global ordeal that may very well induce stress on top of the stresses we routinely experience at work and at home. However, it is important to create clear boundaries between your work life and your home life to protect your mental health and peace.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given us an opportunity to learn how to quickly and efficiently transition to a new way to work and interact with one another. As we all become acclimated to this current work landscape, let’s implement the basic tools that have proven to be effective to achieve a proper work-life balance.
About the Author
Dr. Ashley Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the School of Business at American Public University. She has a D.B.A. from Northcentral University and a M.B.A. from University of Phoenix. She has been a full-time faculty member at American Public University since 2008 and has spent over 14 years in higher education administration and management.
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