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How the Pandemic Eliminated Work/Life Balance

Even before we were all working from the comfort of our homes, establishing a work/life balance was a tough needle to thread.

By Pam JannesPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
How the Pandemic Eliminated Work/Life Balance
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Even before we were all working from the comfort of our homes, establishing a work/life balance was a tough needle to thread. In an age where all you need to do your job is a laptop and a wi-fi connection, working from home was already an option for most professionals. It was already easy to get sucked into the habit of re-opening your work accounts at home and working on miscellaneous things after hours. But now, with working from home as the norm, it’s become even more prevalent for employees to work long before and after hours to get things done.

There are a few factors that go into a lack of work/life balance, and if you fall under any of these categories, now is a good time to consider how you can approach establishing boundaries between home and work when your home has become your workplace. With any luck, 2021 will not only be a time we can all go back to the office, but it will also give us back a little more free time.

Fear of Losing Your Job

We all went through the terrifying time of layoffs at the beginning of the pandemic and it hasn’t really calmed down since. The fear of losing your income can inspire you to focus on going way above and beyond at all times, even in the face of burnout. Proving that you are the employee who will pull all-nighters, work late, and work early is a very natural way to try to prove your worth to management. But it also means you ignore your own needs and let the boundaries between the working day and your personal time blur.

Adjusting to Working from Home

Not everyone has had the freedom to work from home before 2020 and it’s not a quick and easy adjustment. Learning how to stay focused, take breaks, and turn off your working brain at the end of the day when you’re in your own environment is difficult. It’s easy to look up and realize you’ve worked a 12 hour day just because you were buried in work and didn’t think to stop.

Company Culture

Company culture plays a huge role in how you develop working habits. If you see most of your coworkers online for hours after times up for the day, you’ll likely feel pressure to get back online to show that you aren’t slacking off. In fact, almost 1 in 4 people say company culture is a major impediment to their work/life balance according to a study done on what affects people’s home life. If you find that the only acceptable way to work at your current job is to run yourself completely ragged to prove you’re committed, then you might need to reconsider if where you are is right for you. In fact, according to the same study, nearly half of respondents have considered leaving their job due to a lack of work-life balance but have not gone through with it.

While some people might say that it’s your own responsibility to set boundaries and create a work/life balance that works for you, it’s short-sighted to think that you don’t need help from your company to feel okay about taking time off, logging off at closing time, or not working weekends. Employers need to understand and facilitate work/life balance to ensure that their employees don’t suffer from burnout after spending too much time trying to prove that they are fully committed to their jobs.

The pandemic has changed everything but it has also made the boundary between home and work almost indistinguishable, and in order to stay healthy and happy, it’s important that we draw that line clearly again going into 2021.


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