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The Thinning Line Between Work And Home

The Thinning Line Between Work And Home

Posted on 18th Apr, 2020

The Thinning Line Between Work And Home

A lockdown can be a difficult and complex time, as nobody is used to isolation. Staying home day after day, and having to work as you would at office, is particularly challenging for a large number of office-goers, for whom work-from-home has never been an option before.

While it is natural to correlate home with relaxation and free-time, and be rather dis-inclined to work full-time from one’s sanctuary; with the changing times and the need of the hour being as they are, adapting to this new reality is essential, to be as productive as one would be at work.

Work-life balance - the delicate art of managing one’s time between personal and professional commitments - has particularly taken a hit in these trying times. With the house-help the more privileged of us are accustomed to, taking the work from home mandate seriously; these times find not only the underlings, but the heads of departments, verticals, or even companies rolling up their sleeves and picking up mops and dustpans, washing the dishes, cooking, and managing their kids!

Drawing a line between work hours and personal hours, while ideal, is rather unrealistic in the days of work from home during quarantine, considering that all the members of the family are home, necessitating every person in the household having to don multiple hats at once, rather than being afforded the time to switch hats on the commute from home to work, or vice-versa.

Your boss giving you instructions, while your kid is throwing a hissy fit because he didn’t get the candy he wanted? Your team is having a Skype meeting while your mother-in-law insists on you fetching her, her hot water bottle? Your grandfather’s fading sense of hearing has the news channel blaring, when you have an important client call to make? The vegetable vendor is downstairs for his hour-long permitted weekly visit but you just have to send that email?

Here are some quick tips for you to manage yourself, when you simply want to tear your hair out:

  • Take a deep breath. Breathe in, hold, and let your breath out with a smile. You have a job, and you have your family safe and sound under your roof. The birds are chirping, and the sun is peeking through the clouds
  • Remember - the world is going on, the best it can manage; and everyone is going through similar troubles
  • Designate a specific space to work from, and encourage family to interrupt you quietly, if needed, whilst you are in the work chair/area
  • Dress for work. It’s important for you to give your brain cues to indicate that you’re at work. Whilst the physical office space can’t be provided, you can simulation work hours through your office attire, your posture etc.
  • Connect with people, regularly communicate with your office colleagues so you get a sense of working in a team (do so even if your task does not require you to!)
  • Physical isolation does not require your to mentally isolate with colleagues, friends or family - reach out and commiserate with struggles, seek and offer advice, celebrate events. Technology has made distances shorter even through isolation
  • Empathise with your colleagues/family members when they need you to be there for them
  • Explain yourself when an unavoidable interruption comes your way
  • Create a plan for your day, and try to achieve all you have on your list. It’d be a good idea to work with your children to create an activity or study plan for them too, to minimise interruptions when either of you are engrossed in work
  • Acknowledge that the times are difficult, and we all need to do our best
  • Cut yourself some slack when an urgent personal task interrupts your work; but do not slack on work itself
  • Forgive yourself for snapping at someone when your juggling multiple tasks - but be sure to apologise and make it up to the person you snapped at too
  • Accept that the line between work and home is thinner than it has ever been, and that inadvertently crossing over the line is going to continue till the situation improves