Gone are the days when your friends in Facebook, Google and the likes told you they are working from home and that meant they’re out running errands or just playing online Catan. Work from home(WFH) is the new normal. For majority of the industries. And that has changed the outlook of what work life balance in WFH means.
Personally, I feel that working from home can lead to a more balanced life, but is bound to make the traditional solid line of work and life blurry.
Flexible hours or working around the clock?
This is a half empty half full glass situation.
Working from home often means taking calls at odd hours or working through midnight sometimes. It can mean that there is no stop button – only play or pause. Folks with OCD who love to compartmentalise things are bound to find this a half empty glass.
But WFH can also mean spending time with family on low work load days. You can run errands in the middle of the day knowing you can work later in the day. And better still, you can do ANYTHING you like when there are no meetings or work in your calendar for a couple of hours. I used to spend all such hours in useless office gossip gulping down coffees. But now, I use that time to workout, or cook a meal, or read for leisure, etc.
Limited non-essential communication – good and bad
Good that I won’t have to attend a meeting without a legit enough and proper agenda. Good that unless everyone does enough research, we will not need the time of 20 people in the team to discuss a futile random idea. And lastly, good that the high priority projects will get their due undivided attention. This way I can focus more on my personal life outside of work as I will have more hours!
But, honestly, I miss the non-essential conversations. How else would I know if penguins can walk backwards? or the logic behind naming cyclones? The explorer in me is thirsty for new fun facts – and isn’t that a part of one’s personal life too? On a serious note though, many times the most breakthrough ideas come out of such conversations and communications. A Eureka! moment can’t happen in a watertight meeting agenda – which will effect the quality of your work even if you manage to maintain a balance.
Work Life Balance will be a lost phrase.
Bold statement. But we all know that we are moving towards a new normal in the post Corona times. That has meant letting go of old notions, and adapting to the new rules. Hence, here’s my argument. If you work where you live, and you live where you work – what balance are you looking for exactly?
Rather, Work Life Schedule should be a more talked about concept (Someone pay me royalty, if this does pick up). A personal schedule that lets you change the mix of work and personal life on a per-hour basis, through the week. This can include Baking Thursdays or Wine Wednesdays or Grocery Mondays. And this can also mean working extra hours for the Tuesday morning meeting, or walking the dog while taking some calls.
In conclusion – I know I don’t have a strong view on this issue, and that is because my own experience with working from home is evolving. What I know for sure is that the entirety or a part of WFH will be the new normal. And finding your own work life schedule will be the key to a balanced life!