During the last eighteen months, teams have been more disconnected than ever, with no in-person meetings and dodgy Zoom connections. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that at the start of the pandemic in April 2020, working from home had risen to 46.6%, an increase from 26.7% in 2019.
Given the post-pandemic world we now live in and the taster we have experienced of remote working, how can we navigate the new complexities of our work life? This Work Life Week, we want to highlight how you can prioritise your and your teams’ wellbeing at work as well as ensure you establish a good work-life balance, by delving into the different measures you can take to nurture a happy and engaged workforce, alongside our Hey Me team’s top tips for a positive work/life balance:
Set clear boundaries
If you work remotely, as we do at Hey Me, make sure to set clear boundaries between your work and home life. Keep work separate at a specified desk or office in your home or if you don’t have a dedicated space, put your laptop, files and so on away at the end of the workday. In his book Deep Work, Cal Newport suggests that at the end of the day creating a to-do list of your uncompleted tasks to help you feel in control and ensure your mind won’t keep returning to the pile of upcoming work. Doing these small tasks will contribute to the sense of a strong boundary between work and life and help you to switch off.
Within the workday take clearly defined breaks, perhaps going out for a walk in nature or sitting down with a cup of tea and a good book. Even taking a minute to avert your eyes from the screen by looking out of the window can help avoid eye strain. Don’t forget that excessive exposure to blue light from screens can cause an array of problems, from poorer memory to a bad night’s sleep. Implementing techniques, such as the Pomodoro Method where you work for 25 minutes and take a break for 5 minutes, can help if you struggle with concentration.
Be mindful of others
Keep an eye on those in your team. Provide assistance and listen when team members have a problem, be that within or outside of work. This will ultimately strengthen your bond as a team and create a positive work environment where everyone feels heard. We have another blog about why we should all become better listeners which you can read here. Even creating a mentoring scheme within your company has been shown to improve mental health significantly. It allows you to lend a listening ear and direct colleagues to specialised support if needed.
Act as a role model for your team
One of the best things you can do is focus on your own work-life balance and wellbeing, and lead by example. Show your team that it’s ok to take time for yourself, to actively counter burnout.
Creating a positive culture surrounding mental health and wellbeing at work is pivotal, especially one that encourages employees to balance productivity with wellbeing. To highlight this, we asked the Hey Me team about how they support wellbeing at work for themselves and the team, and any tips they may have:
Gemma, PR and Communications Manager:
“It’s important to me that we have a culture of supporting each other in this team. We constantly look out for one another, making sure we’re all OK. We regularly check in on each other, both professionally and personally, which is fantastic for team morale, especially as we all work remotely from one another.
“Working from home makes it a lot easier to keep a good work life balance. I love that I am able to be here when my children get home from school and because I can get little things done during the day, I can spend more quality time with them in the evenings.”
Emma, PR and Communications Manager:
“A supported employee is a happy colleague, and this is an ethos we thrive on at Hey Me. Our small but mighty team care about each other, both personally and professionally, and always take the time to check in with each other to ensure we are happy, healthy, and thriving.
“Having a work-life balance is so important, which it is great to see so many businesses recognising. I feel I can still be ‘me’ at work, writing and championing fantastic client work, and still have the time to spend with my child thanks to the supportive and nurturing Hey Me team.”
Amelia, Communications Executive:
“As we work remotely, checking in with the team is important be that through online meetings, emails or messages. Having colleagues who you know will be there to support you and who can offer advice or help with projects is wonderful.
“Definitely having clear boundaries helps me create a good work-life balance. After reading Deep Work by Cal Newport, I have tried to make sure I have sessions of clear, focused work and then breaks where I can switch off. This helps me keep on top of work but means I don’t feel to worn out.”
Katie, Business Support Manager:
“We operate as a supportive and close-knit team, and regularly check in with each other from both a professional and personal perspective.
“The holy grail of work-life balance – this is a challenging one, there is not necessarily a ‘one size’ fits all approach to this. Time management is important, as well as expectation management and boundary setting. It is also a valuable exercise to re-evaluate your priorities, both professional and personal, at regular intervals to make sure you are working toward your goals and staying true to yourself. That and do something you believe in, whether that is your role or the organisation you work for.
“I am in the very fortunate position to be part of an inspiring, fun, and supportive team, and as a result, one of the favourite parts of my work life is the people that I work with. Working effectively in my role as their Business Support Manager, I aim to facilitate them, as the client facing part of the Hey Me Ltd team, to drive forward our clients’ communications agenda and help them differentiate themselves in their sector at this challenging time.”
If you’d like to hear more from the Hey Me team explore the rest of our blog. We also offer toolkits that help with wellbeing at work, including the ‘Foundations for engaging interactions toolkit’, designed to help you with effective internal communications.