Covid-19 impact: How to strike a perfect work-life balance

As many people work out of home, the lines between work and family time are blurring. Can people still maintain work-life balance?

I had just sat down with my cup of coffee when the doorbell rang, which made my dog start barking uncontrollably, followed by a call on
my phone, a WhatsApp message and a Skype call alert chiming on my computer.

That day I was supposed to have delivered my project and it seemed like the whole world was going mad.

Working from home (WFH as it is now officially called) is likely to elevate the demands on our time, as we are exposed to a variety of situations that are contrary to our normal working environment, so we have to learn how to manage ourselves.

Work is supposed to be enjoyable, and you will perform really well in an environment where you feel productive and valuable.

In order to create a great work-life balance it is essential that you figure out how your work fits into your life. Too many people give their work more importance than it should have, automatically upsetting the balance.

By creating house rules when you are working from home, you increase the probability of keeping work in its perspective.

1. Create your own list of rules for how you are going to work before you start sharing them with your family or co-habitants.
2. Set up fixed working hours with start and end times, pretty much like you would when you go to work. Remember you have a lunch break to schedule – you can make that a fun family time within your frame of work. Normally at work you spend time for coffee breaks –
factor those in too. Create a clear separation between work and family so that everyone knows what to expect from you.
3. Stick to the times that you have set.
4. Figure out your workspace. You have to have a separate area dedicated to work. This allows those at home to know when you are not to be disturbed.
5. Give yourself the latitude to go with the flow. Time comes to us only once, use it wisely.

Many who end up losing the work-life balance war are personally responsible for where they find themselves. By merely agreeing to work on something outside of your working hours, you have created a new norm. Your manager can now begin to expect that in a similar situation, you will respond in the same way. It is essential that you are clear that your work runs for the period of time that you are contracted.

Work is wonderful, and sometimes a place to which you can even escape, but that is not what it is all about. Your work expects that you give 100 per cent of your time and energy and passion, during the time that it has paid you to do so. It may call upon you on occasions to give outside of your working time, which is fine, providing you manage those situations wisely.

Taking a powerful and positive approach to managing your work-life balance will pay off at home and any other place you decide to conduct your work. Start integrating these ideas into your life, or at least whatever you think applies to you, and you will be well on your way to balance.

Creating inspirational banners around you, on your desk, on your screen saver, or on your calendar about what you want to achieve in life will cause you to think about your life more. As we think, so we become, so create signposts for your mind to follow so that you spend more time thinking about the things that you want rather than just thinking about what others want.

If you are experiencing stress through angry outbursts, irritability, binge eating/drinking, aggressive behaviour, or you are imagining or making up negative or harmful unreal scenarios then you are experiencing an imbalance. It’s okay to feel this way, but what is not okay is not to do anything about it.

You get what you focus on, so focus on what you want.

Mark Dickinson is a Gulf Business Academy trainer