Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, roughly 1.7 million people in the UK worked from home. It is now estimated that 20 million people have switched to remote working.
Celebrated from the 12th October, Work Life Week is an annual wellbeing event that encourages employers and employees to have conversations about wellbeing at work and raise awareness of healthy work-life balance.
Without question, this year’s event will be unlike any before. With many of the UK and Ireland’s workforce working from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for a healthy work-life balance has never been stronger.
What is work-life balance?
In short, work-life balance is a term used to summarise how an individual balances the demands of their career and home life. If the scales tip too much in favour of work, this can be considered as a poor or unhealthy work-life balance and in serious cases, can result in the individual developing mental health issues.
Signs of a poor work-life balance
With millions of employees adapting to remote working for the first time, many have discovered that the boundaries between work and home life can easily become blurred. To make a healthy balance between work and personal life, it’s important for you to be aware of what signs to look out for in yourself and others.
- Lack of sleep: A stressed and over-worked mind can find it difficult to shut-off at night. This can result in exhaustion, heightened anxiety and risk of becoming burnt out.
- Short temper: If the pressures of work become unmanaged, they may affect a person’s home life as well. Stressed individuals can become impatient and snap at their loved ones or colleagues.
- Physical wellbeing: Increased stress can lead to frequent headaches, aches and pains. Exercise routines can often become neglected, as work commitments are prioritised instead.
- Social connection: Relationships are important in maintaining our mental health. An individual with a poor work-life balance may miss social engagements in favour of work commitments.
Tips for better work-life balance during COVID-19
- Routine: If you are working from home, sticking to regular routine can help you keep in control of your day. This can include a consistent time for your morning alarm, lunch break and exercise routine.
- Be organised: The pandemic has affected numerous areas of our lives, focus your attention on your weekly work schedule and make any necessary adjustments. For example, if you use public transport, factor in any potential delays e.g. reduced services, or any changes to your childcare responsibilities e.g. nursery operating times.
- Fresh air: At the end of your working day, go for a short walk outside. Getting some fresh air will help you finish the day on a positive note and transition from work to personal time.
- Social time: Whether you work from home or at the workplace, prioritising your relationships is vital. Arrange a call with a friend or loved one in the week. This will help you set a deadline to finish any outstanding work and help your mind switch from work to home mode.
The pandemic has likely shifted many of our work-life balances slightly. This Work Life Week, take a moment to review your balance, and look to make improvements where necessary.
If you need to access our services to discuss any wellbeing concerns you may have, our confidential helpline is available 24/7, 365.
Alternatively, if you have access the My Healthy Advantage app (iOS & Android) you can view a variety of wellbeing resources including articles, videos, mini health checks and 4-week programmes, all aimed at improving your physical and mental wellbeing.