How to Maintain Work-Life Balance During These Difficult Times

Working from home may have seemed like the dream situation for many people; however, that was probably before they were forced into it with no end in sight. Now, it seems that the lines between work and leisure are starting to blur. Thanks to social distancing, creating a healthy work-life balance has become even more challenging and has many of us feeling like it’s harder to actually take a break on the weekends.

But reclaiming some balance to your days and weeks isn’t just good for your mental health—it’s good for your productivity, too.

Here are four tips that are sure to help you maintain a healthy work-life balance, even when it feels like you haven’t left your house (and office) in months.

Play Dress Up

Dress for work. No, I don’t mean you should throw on 10 pounds of makeup, a pink boa and your fanciest outfit. But it’s important to use the wardrobe you have to differentiate between “work days” and “off days.” Don’t just throw on a new pair of pajamas when you roll out of bed. Instead, create a manageable morning routine that fits your new normal. Dulling down the hair gel and face makeup is a benefit of virtual work meetings, but don’t abandon all your old habits. Freshening up in the morning can set the tone for the rest of your day!

Move Your Body

Don’t get stuck in the work-from-home hamster wheel of waking up and logging on to work or checking emails right away. I’m aware that this is easier said than done. It’s key to hold yourself accountable to at least 30 minutes of movement each day. This can be anything from walking or running to yoga, Pilates and/or weight-lifting. Getting in some movement in the mornings before work can give you that extra jolt of energy that coffee just isn’t providing.

 Prioritize What Matters

In order to create work-life balance, you need to figure out what’s most important to you—and then prioritize those things. Utilize quarantine as a time to write down your goals, both short-term and long-term. Then figure out the best plan of action for achieving these goals, but be realistic with your approach. When you have time to focus on the things that matter most to you, you’ll be more motivated and productive and happier overall. 

 Block Out the Noise

“There’s an app for that” has never been truer. We’re constantly connected to the world around us through social media, and sometimes it can seem overwhelming. Even though social distancing can have you feeling disconnected, it’s crucial to put your phone down every so often. Turn off notifications for unimportant apps that only distract you during the day. You can also try using the “do not disturb” feature on your phone to your advantage. This is something I have on all the time. My phone is on “bedtime” at night and almost always on silent mode, and notifications for all my apps are turned off. This helps me avoid constantly looking at my phone every two seconds. Pro tip: If you’re serious about unplugging, delete apps like Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Pinterest during the workweek to curb the urge to mindlessly scroll. 

The steps to achieving work-life balance will look different for everyone. However, the end goal  tends to look the same—to create an atmosphere that leaves you feeling productive but also refreshed, giving  structure to your day! 

Kids and the Battle for Work-Life Balance in the Age of COVID-19

According to the 2017 U.S. Census, only about 5.2% of American adults—some 8 million people—regularly worked from home three years ago. 

In the past two months, since the novel coronavirus has swept across the globe and upended business as usual, many more Americans have found themselves rapidly setting up and settling into a new work-from-home situation. How many? Some experts put the figure as high as 50% of the U.S. workforce—that’s 60 or 70 million Americans. 

Bospar is—and has been—an all-virtual agency since it opened for business in 2015. So, most Bospar team members are finding their work life not very different from what it was before the crisis. 

Bospar parents, on the other hand, are having to make some adjustments while retaining their focus on providing excellent client service and generating invaluable results at a time when great PR and communication have never been more important.

New Work-Life Balance Is Tricky

For Bospartans with kids—and millions of other parents struggling to work from home with cooped-up children—the home office has become a bit more chaotic than usual.

“The biggest challenge for me is toddler-generated noise, which can sometimes go on for long stretches,” said Mick Emmett, VP of content and parent of an almost 3-year-old son. “We’ve got a small house, so there’s nowhere to hide. It sometimes makes focusing on calls and work sessions challenging.”

“My husband and I are both trying to work while keeping our 7-year-old healthy, happy and educated. It’s difficult,” said Stacey Grimsrud, Senior Account Manager. “While others report feeling calm and bored during this time of sheltering in place, I feel the opposite. We wake up and hit the ground running.”

Creativity and Adaptability Are Key

Luckily, the struggle isn’t the whole story. While work schedules have had to adapt, Bospartans with kids are finding creative ways to get work done while managing childcare. 

“We’re really fortunate in that our son loves remote learning. The three of us sit around a big dining room table and work alongside one another,” added Grimsrud. “We think one day we’ll look back and see this family time as a gift, even though parts of it have been challenging.”

“I watch the kids for the first half of the day, and my husband watches them until bedtime. It means he’s up early, and I often work well into the evening, but we both get in an 8-hour day, which is pretty amazing,” said Rachel Thomas, senior content associate and mother of a 3-year-old daughter and a 9-month-old son. “We also have a cute new daily ritual. While my son naps, my daughter likes to sit next to me to do ‘homework’—use learning apps—while I work. It’s my favorite part of the day.”

Some Relish the Unexpected Family Time

Some Bospartan parents—in particular, those with older children and childcare—are relishing the unexpected quality time with their families.  

“My 17-year-old daughter misses seeing her friends but has actually seemed less stressed with the break from school. She’s been practicing her driving on nearly empty roads, running in the neighborhood, and studying for her upcoming AP exams and SAT test.  We’ve been having some really good conversations about healthcare, our political system and infectious diseases,” said Bospar VP Sara Black. 

As for me, I have two sons—one 5 years old and one 2 years old. I am homeschooling my older son; I created a super flexible schedule for us so that we don’t end up watching The Sandlot over and over again, which my sons would happily do if I let them. In addition, we’re getting help from  my mother-in-law, who is sheltering in place with us!

Meanwhile, my husband’s been working at home for the first time ever. We’re sharing an office, and he’s actually been using an ironing board as his desk, so it’s definitely more inconvenient for him than for me. But we’re making the best of it.

In fact, I can honestly say that all Bospartan parents are truly making the best of a challenging situation. And our clients would agree. They continue to get the best of Bospar!