Like the students heading back to school this fall, busy professionals are experiencing their own kind of post-summer blues. As vaccination rates increase, schools and businesses alike are expected to welcome the general public back into their institutions and co-working spaces as we once knew them. However, many of us have become accustomed to the workplace environment we’ve created for ourselves during the pandemic. As a result, organizations have been receiving some push-back regarding re-integration into the workforce.
Reports of employees experiencing post-pandemic anxiety, threats of the “Great Resignation,” among other things, are forcing more employers to adopt a hybrid work/life model for their staff. “Hybrid” here meaning to work part-time in-office and part-time remotely. Employers certainly see its value as it relates to job satisfaction and employee retention. In fact, in Zoom’s April 2021 survey of 1,500 remote workers, 65% of respondents said a hybrid work/life is their ideal work model, and only 15% said they’d prefer working from home all the time.
So, what are some key ways busy professionals can optimize a hybrid work/life and effectively create a sustainable work/life balance?
Establishing clear boundaries between your work life and your downtime will be a crucial part of creating a practical hybrid work life. You’ll want to be mindful of how much time you’re spending on work-related tasks outside of regular working hours. One way you can approach this is with your relationship to technology, which will inevitably become a huge part of your life if it hasn’t already.
To get the most out of your hybrid work model, try to limit the amount of time you use your devices so that they don’t wind up controlling your life. For example, consider shutting off notifications from work-related apps or setting them to Do Not Disturb during your off-hours. Depending on the importance of your position, you may even go so far as installing apps like Offtime or Forest that lock work apps so that they are not accessible during specified times.
Separate Your Workload
When it comes to splitting up your work life, you’ll want to determine with your employer what kind of model works best for you and the organization. Hybrid models tend to include three different options:
- Flex: In-office one to three days a week for collaboration, meetings, and presentations.
- Fully Remote: 100% work from anywhere. Usually reserved for employees who live far from offices or have roles that don’t require their physical presence.
- Office-Based: Work from an office four to five days a week.
Once you establish what model works best for you, it’s essential to separate your workload accordingly. At times you’ll be met with tasks you can more efficiently take care of at home, while others you’ll prefer to do in the office. Despite the popularization of video conferencing during the pandemic, meetings and creative sessions are still better to do in person if at all possible. Coordinate with your team to be in-office for these meetings. Schedule other tasks such as emails and reports for the days you’ll be at home.
Spend Time Outdoors
Spending all your time working at home and the office will eventually begin to feel like you’re constantly trapped within four walls. It’s important to allow yourself some time to breathe and experience some fresh air. Rather than using your downtime to binge Netflix or even spend it all at the gym, it’s critical to spend some time outdoors. Coordinate outdoor activities with friends or take a walk home along a different route. Give your body – and mind – some time to ground itself. This will especially help facilitate a smoother transition as you re-integrate into society.