The pandemic has forced us to embrace new habits, activities are being limited to prevent the spread of the virus. We are all being forced to shift all communications to digital, doing online shopping instead of offline, as well as shifting from working at the office to remote working. Global Workplace Analytics found that 88% of global office workers are working from home since the pandemic hit. Remote working at the current scale was never a choice, but a necessity

In May 2020, Twitter and Facebook announced that their employees will be allowed to work remotely permanently, while Google has declared a hybrid workweek, where employees spend only 3 days out of the workweek at the office. According to Accenture’s research, 72% of the global workforce also prefer to work remotely, mostly part of the time. In short, remote working or hybrid work is here to stay, because of these 3 reasons:

  1. Desirable: most employees prefer remote/hybrid work
  2. Feasible: most employers are able to shift most of their work and workforce to remote and hybrid work setup
  3. Viable: employers save cost from shifting work remotely. Research has shown that employers typically save USD 11,000 for every person who works 50% remotely.

In Indonesia, especially in Jakarta, 75% of companies are forced to apply remote working. Employers are accelerating digitalization of work processes such as using video conferencing, project management tools, file sharing and communications.

Taking care of yourself and your work

One of the most common problem during remote working is that the boundaries between work and personal space and time become blurred. Prior to the pandemic, the boundaries between personal and professional life are clear. You go to work in the morning, work in the office, and when you get home after work, you can unwind from work and do what you need to and enjoy personal time with your family.

This blurring of work and life boundaries can exhaust both physical and mental state of a person. Indonesia’s Ministry of Health data shows that 1 in 13 people aged 15 years old and older in Indonesia suffer from mental health issues. During the pandemic, mental health problems are noticeably increasing, Perhimpunan Dokter Spesialis Kedokteran Jiwa Indonesia stated that 69% of people feel that they have psychological issues during pandemic.

Having said that, as employees, we still need to be responsible for our job, but then our wellbeing is still a priority. There are 4 important tips in taking care of yourself in this situation:

  1. To exercise. Remote work or not, exercise helps our body to function at its best. Studies suggests 80 executives who exercised regularly for 3 months saw their cognitive ability and complex decision making improve by 70%.
  2. Healthy food and enough sleep are also important. Medical reports show how significant both of them are in keeping your mental state healthy.
  3. Take a bit of your time around 5-10 minutes to meditate daily, bringing in positivity in your life, this can contribute to the reduction of stress hormones – if available, utilize your company’s provided mental wellbeing support when you feel like talking to a professional.

Working from home should not have to adversely affect your work performance. As a matter of fact, If you can develop new habits and practices, hybrid or remote work can bring the work-life balance that we all have been looking for. Developing new habits and practices could be challenging at first, but maintaining a healthy balanced lifestyle will affect your performance and doing your job optimally.

Another aspect that is important is how do you make time for your home/family responsibilities with all the work that needs to be done? In order to do this effectively and make sure you have quality time with your loved ones, do these 3 things:

  1. Create your home office. Choose a dedicated space for you to work, make sure that there is enough natural light and comfortable to work. Separate work area from your personal space.
  2. Maintain your work and personal schedule. Set a daily routine, including schedule for breaks and communicate these to your team. Slot specific times to engage with your children or family members
  3. Get out of your home office and energize. Stretch your legs and take a small break every hour. Enjoy healthy lunch away from your laptop screen. End your workday (disconnecting yourself from work-related channels and pursue your hobbies)

In summary, hybrid work is here to stay. In order to reap the benefits and avoid the pitfalls from working remotely, you need to develop new practices and habits. Communicate with your family members and team at work how you organize your work and personal responsibilities. Seek support at work or personally when you encounter challenges in shifting your new work practices. When you are successful at doing so, you can enjoy the fulfillment of work-life balance that you have been seeking for.

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Source: Accenture Research, Global Workplace Analytics

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