Employee & Organizational Development and Benefits & Employee Wellness have partnered to give you some strategies on balancing Work + Life
Between closed schools, no gym time, new work procedures, zero social events, and uncertainty and worry about a pandemic, you may be feeling the work-from-home demands are larger than ever.
Well-being and Working from Home: Can They Coexist?
Employee Organizational Development and Benefits & Employee Wellness have partnered to give you some strategies on balancing Work + Life.
In addition to closed schools, no gym time, new work procedures, zero social events, uncertainty and worry about a pandemic, many of you may be feeling the work-from-home demands are larger than ever. It’s a recipe for overwhelm.
A recent article from Harvard Business School confirms what many people have been feeling. In their study of 3 million individuals, researchers found that since the pandemic began, people are working longer hours, attending more meetings, and sending more emails. Specifically, the research shows:
- Employees sent 5.2 percent more emails a day.
- About 8.3 percent more emails were sent after business hours.
- People attended 13 percent more meetings.
- The average workday lasted 8.2 percent longer, an extra 48.5 minutes.
Working from home does have its benefits, such as less commute time and the convenience of home cooking. Remote work statistics indicate that simply not showing up to an office saves an employee between $2500 and $6000 dollars a year.
But even with the benefits, we must be careful, since working remotely puts us at risk of becoming never “off the clock.” Research also shows extended sitting can be harmful, something we may be experiencing. And working more than ten hours per day is linked to a higher risk of stroke.
Given current national projections, it is estimated 25-30 percent of the workforce will be working at home on a multiple-days-a-week basis by the end of 2021. We are in for the long hall.
Hear are a few strategies to incorporate into your daily work-from-home routine to boost your well-being and prepare for that long haul:
Prioritize Your Day: Schedule your top priorities into your calendar first, and let other demands, such as email and phone calls, fill in the spaces around these priorities. Researchers at Franklin Covey found that connecting to our most important priorities, and making room in our calendars for those priorities first, yields a high return on investment for our time and energy.
Repurpose Your Morning Commute Time: Relax and take time for a self-care routine
Add Movement Breaks: Schedule it into your days at regular intervals
Consume Good Nutrition: Fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins, limit caffeine
Seek Social Connection: Virtually connect, get out of the house by going for a neighborhood walk or hike
Get Rest: Have a night time routine that includes a digital detox before bed
Monitor Your Mental Health: Meditate, Vitamin D, mental wellness days off
Reallocate Your Evening Commute Time: Be Grateful! Journal it, show kindness to others, meditate about it
Managers and supervisors are in an impactful position to support employees during these challenging times. Raffaella Sadun, professor of business administration in the Harvard Business School Strategy Unit, suggests the following:
- Empathize with the unique circumstances of employees. Managers need to know what their employees are juggling to provide the right professional support.
- Focus on output, not hours. It’s virtually impossible to track how employees are actually using their time. Instead, managers should focus on the quality of their employee’s work.
- Expect wide differences in productivity across employees, for now. While some people will find working from home energizing, many employees probably won’t be able to be as effective as they normally are. Rely on UNM resources such as EOD, Employee Wellness, CARS, and Ombuds (Staff and Faculty) for techniques to help you remain productive.
Additionally, leadership strategies that are effective in face-to-face environments take on increased importance when working remotely. Experts at Franklin Covey suggest the following best practices for connecting with employees:
- Schedule regular one-on-ones with your team. This is an effective strategy to check in not just on professional matters, but to check in on how your employees are faring emotionally.
- Truly Listen. Empathic listening takes some practice, but it makes a huge difference in how we communicate. This type of listening helps us understand others on our team by listening with curiosity and the intent to learn more about what someone is experiencing and how it makes them feel.
- Be a change cheerleader for your team. Often, managers and supervisors feel they must control change for their team, when a more effective approach is to champion change collaboratively with their team.
Remember, making your health, wellness, and happiness a priority while working remotely takes some effort. Strive to create balance by sticking to habits that help improve your well-being while also setting clear boundaries.