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Work / Life Balance in the time of COVID-19

Blog by Dr Emily Anhalt. Dr Anhalt is delivering a session at the SFHA's virtual HR and People Conference, which is taking place over two half-day sessions on 12 and 13 August. 

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Work/life balance. What does this mean, exactly?

This concept was already confusing to me as my work is such an important part of my identity that I am not sure where I would draw the line between my personal and work life.

But now? In the time of Covid-19? It is more confusing than ever. How do we set boundaries between work and home, now that we are all working from our homes?

This is something that everyone is struggling with in one way or another right now. Since there is no physical separation of space between work and home, we must create a theoretical separation.

The following are a few suggestions about how to do this:

  • Get dressed for work, rather than leaving your PJs on (do wear your most comfortable work clothes, though). Change back into lounge clothes at the end of your workday.
  • Tidy your workspace, make sure you have everything you need within reach, and do not have any negative items where you work that will distract you (like bills).
  • Block off time for meals and sleep into your calendar and make it impossible to schedule over them. Eating and sleeping should be non-negotiable. Exercise, too.
  • Keep one spot in your house sacred for relaxation. Do not work there.There really is a Pavlovian response here – you want to train yourself to unclench the second you sit in that seat.
  • Create and stick to 'work hours', even when you feel pulled not to. Some of us are channelling our anxiety into work and should be careful about how much we allow ourselves to do this.
  • Recreate a daily 'commute'. Go outside in the mornings or evenings for a short walk and listen to your favourite podcasts or books on tape.
  • Get on the same page with people you live with. Tell your family or roommates to text you rather than barging into your space if they need something. Name the work areas in your house and create a shared calendar where you book them, so you are not fighting over spaces.
  • Plan tight, hang loose. There is a lot of compassion for people’s lives intertwining with work right now – it is a nice opportunity to see the human side of our colleagues. Be understanding as others navigate this.  

How are you creating separation between your work and home life?

Dr Emily Anhalt is a psychologist, emotional fitness consultant, and the Co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer of Coa, a mental fitness community with therapist-led classes available online now.

She attained Masters and Doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology in Berkeley, California. For the past 10 years, Dr Anhalt has been working clinically with executives, founders, and tech employees, and has conducted extensive research with prominent psychologists and entrepreneurs about how leaders can improve their emotional fitness. Dr Anhalt has matched more than 500 people into therapy and has collaborated with some of the fastest-growing technology companies and VC firms in the world, including Google, Asana, TEDx, Github, NASDAQ, Unilever, Bloomberg, and True Ventures.

Book now: SFHA Live! HR and People Virtual Conference

Dr Anhalt is delivering a session, 'Weaving mental health into the DNA of your organisation', on the second day of the SFHA Live! HR and People Conference on Thursday 13 August. 

Covid-19 has turned our workplaces, as we know them, upside down, but our HR and People Conference, will help your organisation to respond to the challenges and plan for the future.

View the full conference programme and book your place by visiting the SFHA Live!, our new programme of virtual events, section today.


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