By Jane Sparrow
The old adage of work-life balance (a term I hate, by the way, read more about that here) was largely based on the concept that most of us would actually go to our place of work and then the life bit largely happened at home. So what happens when we’re all working from home and everything gets mashed together (metaphorically and literally, as our kitchen table doubles up as our daily work space)?
Managing our remote working human bank balance
Many of you will be familiar with our Bank of Me™ philosophy. The Bank of Me is based on the idea that our personal capacity is a quantifiable resource that we each need to effectively manage. It’s our very own human bank account and how much we deposit and withdraw from our human bank balance has a direct impact on both our wellbeing and how effectively we are able to perform.
This becomes even more critical in a remote working scenario because if we’re not intentional about how we live and work (and how we manage the two in the same space), we can become disconnected and distracted, burned out with work encroaching into every space – we can end up with a human bank account constantly ‘in the red’.
The battle to unplug
The battle to disconnect from our digital devices is nothing new – in fact, there’s a great piece on how to have a digital detox our colleague Jo wrote last year here. However, there’s no doubt that the pandemic has compounded the challenge, particularly where work is concerned as the lines between work and home have become so blurred.
With 38% of British workers who are currently working full-time from home stating that an inability to unplug from the “always on” virtual working day is the main reason for their increased anxiety levels, it’s a topic that’s present in every leadership development session we run, every panel I appear on and, of course, our wellbeing and performance Bank of Me Programmes.
Staying in the black in a remote working world
A key part of keeping a high human bank balance is to be aware of the things that send us into the ‘red’ with our levels of energy, emotions and enthusiasm, and those that keep us in the black and feeling healthy, energised and positive. The shape and structure of a day to ensure we stay in the black working from home, looks very different to one where we’re travelling to an office or other place of work.
On the one hand there may be more possibilities for actions to invest in our human bank balance (e.g. using the commute time to focus on some personal growth or do some exercise). Equally, there’s a much higher risk of ‘always on’ habits, digital burnout and a lack of focus and personal motivation.
A balanced remote working day
We’ve created thousands of ‘days in the black’ for leaders and organisations we’ve worked with over the years to support people in managing their working days in a way that boosts creativity, productivity and wellbeing. The last few months have seen us do many more but they’re all looking a bit different with the challenges of the pandemic and a remote working world.
We’ve created a typical ‘day in the black’ in our current reality – this is a mixture of lots of things we know are helping people right now throughout their day from wake to bed – we hope there’s just one thing in there that sparks a thought for you, a small action you could take to invest in your human bank balance and have a positive impact on your day.