Currently millions of Australians are in lockdown for an uncertain length of time as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread.
Whether you’re working from home alone or with partners or kids, the boundaries between work and life have become increasingly blurred since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Landmark legislation has been introduced to stop this ‘availability creep’ and give workers the ‘right to disconnect’ from their jobs, but as many people also juggle full-time work with helping young children with remote learning, it’s harder than ever to achieve a healthy work-life balance. We spoke to our team of Organisational Psychologists, who have lived and worked through Melbourne’s (now six) lockdowns, for their tips on setting boundaries that stick.
Bri Hallyar, Organisational Psychologist, specialising in empowering people to manage life transitions.
To contend with Melbourne’s winter, I add time to walk to my diary, so I ensure it happens. I even check the weather app so I can see when there is no rain coming. Otherwise, by the time I have finished work the daylight is gone.
Work from one place in the house if possible, and try to avoid working from your bedroom, so you have a clear distinction between work and your resting zone at night.
When one person within your inner circle isn’t flourishing you may need to hold them up. When you’re that person you may need others to recognise that you’re having a bad moment or day. You may need to reset by going for a walk or listening to music or making the space to disconnect or connect, whatever works for you. This all requires communication with those closest to you.
Elizabeth Clancy, Senior Psychologist specialising in organisational wellbeing and stress prevention.
Have some time away from the tech and connect with the real humans in your household. If you need to Zoom for family, try to do it in a different space so that your work boundaries aren’t blurred.
Make some personal rules for what work looks like (e.g. for me, once I have changed out of day clothes and into PJs), then I’m not logging in again for the day.
Keep weekends free of work (if you can) and find ways to get outside, whether that is exercise, walking to a local café for a takeaway coffee, or whatever you need… but get some air on your face each day.
Feyona Lau, Organisational Psychologist specialising in human behaviour on an individual, team, and organisation level.
Carve out focus time in your diary for very important work. This reduces the likelihood of work bleeding into the evening.
Add working hours/days to your email signature, put on out-of-office notifications on slack/email/other channels to indicate clear boundaries, and turn off your work phone after hours.
It helps to establish a ‘start to’ and ‘end to’ daily work routine. Once work is over for the day, access resources like ‘work wind down’ meditations at Smiling Mind to transition out of work mode.
Rachael Palmer, a registered and endorsed Organisational Psychologist who passionately believes that good work is good for us.
In reality, even psychs get it wrong, we contemplate selling our kids on eBay, and we talk to professionals about our own mental health.
Set boundaries one day at a time, and reset every time you don’t live up to your aspirations. Don’t think ‘stuff it” and write off the rest of the day. If you crack the screen of your phone, you don’t go, ‘what the hell’ and jump up and down on it. So if you slip up, just keep going, don’t make it worse.
If all else fails, do what you need to do, put away the home learning for the day, have an extra drink, or go outside with the kids to kick a ball. Put your family’s needs first.
COVID SUPPORT FOR YOUR TEAM
If you are looking for a creative way to connect your team and open up important wellbeing conversations, we recommend our 1-hour COVID-19 Wellness Series delivered by our team. Having delivered over 300 webinars nationally and Internationally since the start of COVID we are well placed to support your people. Click here to contact us and for more on our COVID-Wellness support.