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Maintaining a Work-Life Balance

Ever wondered how to achieve a better work-life balance? ShopTalk’s new Account Director, Ellie Bissett, has some ideas that you can implement in your day-to-day life that can help you to get started.
Have you ever had the Sunday evening fear for work the next morning? Do you sometimes feel like all you do is work without having time for yourself? Thankfully that’s not case for me with ShopTalk 🙂 but we’ve all been there at some point in our careers. Statistics show that we spend 1/3 of our life at work, and it’s safe to say that what happens at work also has an impact on our mood, wellbeing, and personal life. So, what can we be doing more of – or less of – to make sure that we are keeping a good work-life balance?
Make the Most of That ‘Commute’
The pandemic has given people the chance to work from home, and it’s made us realise just how much time we’ve been spending commuting. The average commute time per day in the UK is around 58 minutes. For some it’s longer (mine is 3 hours a day!) but however long it takes, it’s still a chunk of time out of our day. So, on the days we’re back in the office, or even on the days we’re not, what can we be doing to make the most of 58 minutes a day? I’ve listed some starting points below:
– Listen to a podcast – I am currently into ‘OutofHours’ and ‘Happy Place’
– Watch a series – I’ve just finished ‘Manifest’ Season 3, and need something new!
– Read a book – I’d recommend ‘Ghosts’ by Dolly Alderton
– Do that life admin that you’ve been putting off!
Ultimately, whatever is going to encourage you to feel relaxed and get set up for the day is a good use of commute time. Since the pandemic, we’re in the office two days, and at home three. On the days I’m in the office, I’ve found that it’s tempting for me to open my laptop the moment I get on the train and work all the way there and back. However, it’s so important to take this time for yourself and use it wisely.
Take Your Lunch Break
How many times have you made your lunch and taken it back to your desk to eat whilst working? Shockingly but perhaps not unsurprisingly, only 24% of office workers in the UK take their lunch. A lunch break is there to be taken…so take it!
If you’re stuck for ideas on what to do in your lunch break, here are some thought starters:
– Call a friend or family member – this is so important and gives your mind a well earned break from work
– Go for a walk – I can’t think of a time where I’ve gone out for air and not felt better when I’ve got back!
– If you’re WFH, cook a nice meal – burrito bowls and tuna salad have become my go-to
For me; if I am in the office, I always try to take a walk, and if I’m at home I’ve found watching Loose Women has become a bit of a lunchtime ritual!
Have a Productive 9-5
It’s so important to stay focused throughout your working day, so when you come home you can have a chance to switch off. How can we help ourselves to be as efficient as possible in our 9-5, so that when 5:30 comes around, we can shut our laptops without any stress?
– Put headphones in – I find this can help if I am getting a presentation ready and need an hour or two of solid focus
– Use your team – you’re all in this together! Use the people around you to ask questions and get help when you need it
– Have breakfast – we all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I find when I don’t have it, I cannot focus as well
To be blunt, if you’re constantly working overtime, you will burn out. It’s important to be as efficient as you can throughout your day to avoid having to work after hours. If you are still finding that you regularly work overtime, it would be worth speaking to your manager about your capacity.
Stay Positive
Remember that energy in the workplace passes freely around the team (even over Zoom)! and can unnecessarily cause you & others to feel stressed and tense. It’s so easily done and, in many cases, can be so easily avoided. Where you can, try and keep the energy levels in the office (or on Zoom) as upbeat as possible. Good vibes travel fast too.
Here are some ideas on how:
– Get to know your team – if you know your team on a personal level it becomes so much easier to be open with them and talk about your feelings. So, if you are feeling a bit low, you can speak to someone who knows you and cares
– Think about how you’d like to be spoken to – if you’re having a bad day (which we all experience!) it can be easy to be short tempered with people. Try and apply how you’d like to be spoken to with members of your team
– Unwind – if you unwind in the evenings and on the days you’re in have a relaxing commute, your mood will likely be a lot better when you get to work as you’ll feel refreshed and energised
2 in 3 people feel like work stress follows them home, and 2 in 3 employees are looking for a better work-life balance in new roles. This needs to change. There are measures that companies can put in place to encourage a better work-life balance – for example, here at ShopTalk we recently had a Wellness Day, inviting everyone to take an additional day’s holiday to focus on themselves. However, it’s also important that as individual employees, we also do as much as we can to maintain a good balance so that we don’t burn out. So, before you start work today, have a think about what small changes you can make to help your day be that bit more enjoyable, a bit less stressful and give yourself a whole lot more time for you.
By Ellie Bissett