Working in publicity, my job is truly 24-7. When a major story breaks or a client has a crisis, or news needs to get pushed out, it doesn’t matter if it’s midnight, a weekend, or you’re in the middle of a beach vacation. The job still needs to get done.
Now try adding COVID and a WFH situation with lack of childcare … and stress levels for myself, and many shot through the roof. It also meant actually working even more hours each day, trying but failing to juggle everything. That work-life balance seemed to become even more elusive.
But try, we must, to continue to chase that balance. Without it, everything suffers, including our health, our family, and even the quality of our work. It sounds counter-intuitive, but working more hours under duress does not equate to working smarter or more efficiently.
Early on in the pandemic, it was evident that certain boundaries would need to be set to have a semblance of a work-life balance while working remotely. Of course, putting my physical and mental health first and that of my staff is of the utmost importance. So we created a few fixtures within our organization that has worked well and hopefully will continue to work well as we all transition back to office life.
- Make Time For Physical Exercise. While not something any company can mandate, the power of even a 20-minute daily workout cannot be underestimated. After a quick Peloton ride or taking a call while walking around the neighborhood, I immediately feel a boost in my mood. As we transition back to working in the office two days a week, we’re moving our daily morning meeting to mid-day, which will allow for those who enjoy an early morning workout to squeeze it in before the workday begins.
- One “No Call / Zoom Day” Per Week. Zoom fatigue is real. It seems like we’re spending 1,000% more time every day in virtual meetings. It’s a lot. So as a company, we decided to implement each Wednesday as a “no call or Zoom day.” We had to move around a few standing client meetings, but everyone understood. A small change like this can make a difference in setting you up for success the rest of the week. And giving you one day a week to actually be head down in your work to feel like you can get ahead.
- Summer Fridays May Be Year-round. As a company, we’ve always implemented Summer Fridays, with the workday ending at 1 pm. What’s better than four free hours a week to do what makes you feel good? It’s worked so well; we may consider doing this year-round as a perk for our employees and built-in time to concentrate on their physical well-being.
- Meditation On The House. I try to take time each day for meditation, even if it’s just five minutes. My team knows that the company is so happy to pay for an upgraded account to Calm or any other service that would help them create time to meditate efficiently. And with proven research that shows meditation enables you to sleep better AND be more efficient at work, why wouldn’t you add this into your day-to-day routine?
Many of these changes have become and will remain permanent fixtures to my lifestyle. But one final note- no one is perfect. If you can’t get to all of these aspects every single day, that’s OK, too. Just do your best. But remember that when you make time for mental + physical health … you will be at your best, naturally.