As some of us begin to go back to work, you may be considering whether you are more productive in office or at home. Everyone is different and has their own work preferences but studies have shown that workers who have a hybrid schedule of in person and work from home have higher levels of job and life satisfaction (Sharkey & Caska, 2019). While those with the hybrid schedule had higher life satisfaction, both those who solely worked in person and those who were hybrid had equal levels of perceived stress. What does this mean for you? Whatever works best for you is what you should do, but it seems a hybrid schedule will be the most popular option moving forward.
The most common issue that employees report, whether in person or remote, is long working hours and even the stress of work carrying over into personal time. Many companies have been looking into less formal working hours, with the option of flexible work hours here and there. In the past month, Spain has begun to experiment with a 4 day work week and will measure items such as productivity and reassess at a later date. To read more on this you can click the link here. While America is probably far from cutting back hours or even work days, virtual and hybrid work is the solution for more flexible hours and allows employees to adjust their schedules as necessary to be able to be more active in their own personal lives.
During the pandemic, several companies and leadership within those companies have made company wide efforts to relieve some of the pressure placed on employees who were forced to completely change their lives (Castellanos; 2020, Dec 21). Some of these solutions included:
No meetings between 11 and 1 pm. This allows employees to either take a midday break or have some quiet time to finish up some other projects. The company shared that they did this to give their employees flexibility, not dismiss important meetings. In fact, they take meetings so seriously that if you are late to a meeting you have to sing a song for everyone. This system not only keeps you accountable but also allows for flexibility for real life to happen and maybe even a little break from your screen.
Flexible Fridays. What does this mean? This company made sure that there were no international calls on Fridays and left room for employees to decide if and how much they would work that Friday. This was not to basically give everyone the day off but to actually leave room for their regular life to happen if necessary while also offering a more relaxed work day. The autonomy to choose what and how much one does in a day can really increase motivation.
Breaking boundaries. Another company had leadership who regularly took calls while walking on the treadmill or taking a walk outdoors. They wanted to encourage their employees to take the time they needed to be physically and mentally active while still getting a full work day in. This practice exhibited the fact that not all work has to be done while stuck in your office but fully embraces the beauty of work from home and the ways you can take full advantage of a remote schedule.
On a similar note to the last point stated above, pre-pandemic there was a lot of research starting to look into the blending of business and leisure. This blending has been branded the “bleisure” lifestyle and was on the upward trend before Covid-19 (The Public Record; 2020, Feb 18). Bleisure is defined as a mixing of business and leisure and most commonly refers to people who plan personal travels around business meetings or conferences that require travel. Employees who plan trips around business trips feel more comfortable telling their boss they are taking some time off as well as experiencing higher satisfaction with quality of life, a healthier diet, more exercise, and coming back from a trip feeling more invigorated than an employee who does not do so. As the world slowly goes back to normal, we will have to be on the lookout to see if this trend picks back up or not but it is obvious that there are a lot of benefits to taking time here and there for yourself.
Hopefully you can see which setting works best for you and figure out a way to transition to and from a remote workspace. If you are looking for some tips and tricks on how to create and maintain a work life balance virtually, head over to agl.thinkific.com to learn more.
Thanks for reading!
Castellanos, S. (2020, Dec 21). Less meeting, more meditation; finding the right (remote) work-life balance takes work, CIOs find. Wall Street Journal
Sharkey, J., & Caska, B. (2019). Work-life balance versus work-life merge: A comparative and thematic analysis of workplace well-being. DBS Business Review, 3 doi:http://dx.doi.org.libproxy1.usc.edu/10.22375/dbr.v3i0.59
(2020, Feb 18). More workers find work-life balance by embracing work-life "blending" The Public Record, 46, 1-2.