The Leader’s Guide to Work-Life Integration
A healthy approach to work-life integration is always important — and it’s essential when the coronavirus pandemic is changing everything about the way we work and live. As we’ve seen, this can easily lead to burnout:
According to a Thrive Sciences survey of 5,000 American employees, 70% found the pandemic has negatively impacted their day-to-day performance and productivity.
Another Thrive survey found that more than 82% of individuals feel that the current environmental, health, and sociopolitical climate and state of affairs have had a bigger negative impact on their rates of stress than any other time in their lives.
Many are struggling to be productive: Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom predicts productivity drops within companies of 5–10%.
Working parents with children at home are interrupted 15 times per hour, with an average length of three minutes and 24 seconds of uninterrupted work time.
The coronavirus pandemic has obliterated the boundaries that once brought structure and variety to our days. For many of us, work, home, and even school are all happening in the same place. That can result in a kind of boundaryless permawork, which turns into real burnout and can take a toll on our physical and mental health.
This guide includes Microsteps from Thrive Global, the behaviour change technology company founded by Arianna Huffington. Microsteps are small, science-backed actions we can start taking immediately to build habits that can be transformative. When we’re all facing disruptions in life, work, and the intersection of the two, Microsteps can help us manage the change with less stress and more joy.
Empower yourself and your team to set boundaries and take a healthy approach to work-life integration using the Microsteps included in this guide.
Tip #1: Set boundaries.
Setting boundaries can be challenging. We’ve been conditioned to equate success with being “always on.” Many of us tell ourselves that we have to be everything to everyone, or that we have to address everyone else’s needs before our own.
These limiting beliefs end up having a negative impact on nearly every aspect of our lives, from our sleep and nutrition to our ability to do good work and connect with people we care about.
But we can shift our mindset: By setting boundaries throughout the day, we protect ourselves and our time, and create opportunities to recharge and reset ourselves.
Start by setting one boundary in your life. If you’re not sure what boundary to set, think back to a moment recently when you were resentful. Feeling resentment is often a sign that we are pushing past our limits in a way that doesn’t serve us. Did back-to-back emails and Zoom calls prevent you from actually sitting down to eat dinner or getting to bed on time? Did you look up at the end of a long workday to realise you didn’t leave the room or move your body at all? Once you’ve identified those moments, try a Microstep that helps you set boundaries and minimise feelings of resentment.
Tip #2: Set priorities.
Many of us have found that working from home doesn’t necessarily make it easier to get the sleep and exercise we need, disconnect from technology, and reduce stress — especially when we have our children at home, too.
We are experiencing an entirely new challenge: Our three most important domains, family life, school, and work are all under one roof for so many of us.
Whether we are working from home or in the office, homeschooling our children, or sending them to school with shuffled schedules, we find ourselves trying to take on the role of partner, parent, and employee all at the same time. And doing justice to all of these important responsibilities can be completely overwhelming.
It’s more important than ever to identify the things that really matter — and to truly prioritise them.
Tip #3: Invest time in what matters most.
With your priorities set, now it’s time for the payoff: taking time for the people and activities that really mean something to you.
If we live according to the limiting beliefs discussed earlier, we may convince ourselves that we don’t have time for this, or even that we don’t deserve it. That’s why a mindset shift is so important: Recharging our mental batteries in this way isn’t just essential for our own wellbeing, it helps us to show up as our best selves — at home, at work, and in our relationships with others.
Give yourself and your team permission to prioritise these values in the same way you’d prioritise an important work appointment or deadline.
Investing in your health and wellbeing starts with micro-moments. Encourage your teams to take the assessment above and find a Microstep that helps you thrive.
Continue your journey and help your teams take the next step in their health and wellbeing journeys with The Leader's Guide to Employee Wellbeing and The Leader's Guide to Building Resilient Teams.
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