The last two years have been challenging for the world – the pandemic has consumed our news outlets, disrupted our community, family and social lives, as well as affected the way our employers have had to think about “business as usual.” Our schools have had to create alternative ways for educating our children. Hospitality, hotels and restaurants had had to be very creative in finding ways to continue to serve consumers and keep their businesses from going under. What does this all boil down to? Work/life balance; yes, the way to keeping everything in check, carrying on with life and all that it means to each and every one of us.
Over the last two years, businesses have had to think about work/life balance as parents scrambled to ensure their children could still get an education in light of schools implementing virtual and/or at home instruction. This was problematic for parents who had young children or which did not have daycare as they depended on full, in-school days for care and education of their children. Many parents had to leave jobs or depend on their employers to understand their situation. For those progressive employers, working at home sprang alive – for the masses across the country!
The “new normal” started to take on meaning as “hybrid” and “work at home” became the new buzz words. Employers began to equip their employees with the technology to be able to complete their work assignments at home; business as usual continued. Employers ensured their employees that things were going to be alright, delivering messages of unity, collaboration and motivation, in light of a dismal outlook within our communities. Now, two years later, some companies are starting to bring people back to the workplace; while, many are finding that the hybrid method has worked well for getting the job done.
Hybrid and/or remote work is not going away. Employers found that while the work landscape had changed, there were cost savings and benefits for them and their employees in remote or hybrid work. Employers are still able to achieve company goals and even surpass their vision of what the work/life balance means for their organization and career professionals. Having a choice in work environment is a key factor for people searching for new career opportunities and that all-important work/life balance.
Here are some interesting work statistics from Findstack.com for 2022:
- 16% of companies worldwide are 100% remote
- 77% of remote workers are more productive when working from home
- 85% of managers say that having remote workers is the “new normal”
For more information on the statistics from this study, see:
Over the last six months, I made a career change and am working in the conference and event management industry for a local insurance company. My position is considered hybrid, so I work remotely at home and periodically also in the office. This is a new experience for me, and it does take some getting used to. Within the first week of my employ, I was remote, so I learned early on that to be successful, it takes discipline. Discipline in the fact that you have to establish a routine for being online the number of specified hours for the terms of the position hired for; discipline in the fact that, just as if you were working in the office, while at home, scheduling yourself for lunch and/or break.
At first, I felt guilty walking away from the computer for a lunch or other break. However, if you do not schedule this time in, at the end of the day, you are mentally drained. Looking at a computer screen for eight hours or more without a break is exhausting. So, I began to discipline myself and get into a routine. I am enjoying being a hybrid employee; I accomplish a lot during the course of my work day. Our company uses Teams as its platform for virtual meetings, which works well. It is nice to convene virtually, and contrary to all the rumors of people who are remote working in their pajamas, that is not me – nor would I ever do so.
This is a professional career assignment, and to be successful, to feel empowered, I dress for success. The world has changed to a very casual environment; however, for my work/life balance, I like to dress professionally – whether at home or in the office. Do not get me wrong, I do occasionally dress down, jeans, a bit more casual; but pajamas has never been part of my work wardrobe; nor ever will be. Another perk of working at home, is when I take a break, I can go for a walk clear my mind or refocus, prep for dinner, take a walk on the treadmill, or just relax without having to be tied to technology for a bit. This is how I keep the work/life balance.
Incorporating a work/life balance is important to one’s health and wellbeing. Employers want to retain great talent so they understand this. They are cognizant of the importance of a healthy work environment, and keeping their career professionals happy means offering work/life balance opportunities. Employees who have these benefits will be more productive and will more often stay with the company for a longer period of time, if not until retirement. If you love what you are doing, it does not feel like work. That is where I am in my career adventure, and I wish this for everyone.
For parents, working in a hybrid environment, having flexibility in one’s schedule is essential as children experience virtual learning and/or are involved in many different activities such as team sports, arts and culture, music/choir, etc. Having that work /life scenario helps parents to be able to take an active role in attending their children’s life events.
If you are considering a career change and hybrid or remote work is offered, consider these questions before accepting the position. How disciplined are you? What are the dynamics of your family needs? Is it purposeful for you to work in a remote or hybrid work environment? Can you still gain professional development and growth within this environment? If it is going to be a win-win for you and your employer; if the benefits of working remotely or in a hybrid environment appeal to you; if you can be productive and accomplish your goals and will feel fulfillment in your career, then consider the opportunity. It may be a fantastic opportunity and the best move you ever make.