New Year’s resolutions about clear work/life boundaries – proceed with caution!
After two and a half years of remote working, most companies have finally cracked the whip and ordered staff back to the office. Citing the need to reinstate clear work/life boundaries and to plug into the benefits of face-to-face interactions – namely increased productivity, creativity and inter-departmental collaboration – back-to-office is very much the order of the day. And workers, keen to once again separate their working lives from their home lives, are falling into line.
If resurrecting a clear work/life boundary features on your New Year’s Resolutions list, however, you should be mindful of at least one voice that begs to differ. The Wall Street Journal invites readers to take a moment to consider all the advantages that come from the fuzzing of the line between our working and home lives. Apparently, the benefits greatly outweigh the (perceived) inconveniences, and we should try to hang onto them for as long as possible. Here’s why:
– When WFH, it’s not the home/working life juggle that’s exhausting, but hiding the fact that you’re sprinkling your working day with home chores, exercise classes and childcare responsibilities. The article argues that we should forget about the traditional 9 to 5 working day. It takes no account of life’s distractions or levels of creativity that change throughout the day. Instead, plan your day to take advantage of your spikes in creativity and productivity to work, and use your downtime for your supermarket dash and your favourite yoga class. And don’t create stress by trying to hide it!
– If you embrace the above approach, to stay on top of your work, you may need to play catch-up a little over the weekend or at either end of your official working day. This flexibility will enable you to be more productive, focused and energised when you’re on-task. Taking care of non-work tasks during official work time will cease to be stressful. Everyone benefits from the fallout, including your boss who wakes up on a Monday morning to find your report already in their Inbox. Nice!
– It’s not just about being flexible about when we work, but also where we work. If colleagues who live nearby meet in a local coffee shop or go to one another’s houses to brainstorm a new project, that reduces commute time, increases collaboration and promotes trust.
– A clear line between work and home simply doesn’t exist. By trying to create one, we only generate stress and work inefficiencies. We’re the same people between 5 pm and 9 am as we are between 9 am and 5 pm, with highs and lows in our creativity and productivity. The article concludes that we should leave it to individuals to identify which windows of time lend themselves best to home life, and which to work. So if you’re thinking of ditching flexibility and blurring in favour of a return to a strict 9 to 5, proceed with caution.
Whichever approach you opt for, we wish you all the best in finding the perfect solution. If you’d like any help sourcing job opportunities that match all your preferences and needs, including the flexibility element, please get in touch. ABL Recruitment is the UK’s leading language recruitment agency and we are here to help! Please give us a call on +44 (0)20 7092 39 39 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to brainstorm the options.