The prospect of returning to work after such a long period of lockdown is daunting for many. It’s easy to forget all about the hustle and bustle of the office as we’ve all slowly adjusted to working from home. For some, the ability to work from home has led to a better work-life balance. I know that I have definitely felt this.
Pre-lockdown, my morning routine was scheduled around my commute to work. I would wake up at 6:30am, hang out some washing if I had time, and call in on my parents at 7:10am. I’d leave there at 7:30 and would be at my desk for around 8, depending on the traffic that morning.
My routine has changed a lot since working from home. It has allowed me more time to do household chores, spend time outside in my garden, and walk my dogs – which I rarely had time to do in the mornings previously. Losing the commute to work has definitely given me more time to myself and more freedom to connect with nature which has been valuable to me.
While I have enjoyed my experience of lockdown and the freedom it gave me, this has not been felt by everyone. Some have found working from home stressful as they have had to juggle work life and home life all at once. Many people have discovered that their daily commute, and the physical distance itself, acted as a barrier between home and work. It has become harder to disentangle the two as some individuals have found themselves unable to stop working outside of regular office hours.
When we go between work and home, we switch the roles and identities that we play. The lack of distinction between the two can affect the mindset you have when you get to work. If you can’t switch between roles effectively, it can create a conflict between your identities which in turn can create conflict in your day-to-day life. So although I’ve been able to find a balance, it can be a lot harder for others.
It’s definitely going to be strange restarting the commute and returning to the office. With time I’ll adjust, but I will undoubtedly be considering working from home regularly in the future. At ASL, we have considered the benefits of working from home and have decided that a blended approach is the way forward. Once we have been fully released from lockdown, we will be working more flexibly with our staff to allow for a better work-life balance.