Working from home usually is a perk that companies across different industries like to tout as part of their benefits package, but under COVID-19, working remotely can throw a wrench into work-life balance. Now more than ever, employees are facing the pressures of always being present. It’s tempting to work beyond work hours, simply because there isn’t any separation and boundaries between work and home environments. It’s no wonder many of us are putting in longer hours. An April 2020 survey by Blue Jeans found that remote workers are tacking on an additional 3.13 hours per day while working from home. At Glassdoor, we’re trying to remedy the threat of burnout among our employees by launching Summer Fridays, which gives our workforce ample time off, striving to apply the feedback from our employees that the main challenge is unplugging at home.
Most employees usually associate PTO days with a planned vacation away from home and time out of the office to recharge. Now, with a pandemic forcing employees to use their homes as a workplace and prioritize social distancing, traveling isn’t an option. Although traditional vacation might not be in the cards, you still can take a break by leveraging your PTO days. Taking time away from your work, whether that means logging off a few hours earlier, taking a half-day, or embracing a full-blown “staycation,” can help us tune into ourselves, foster creativity, and delve back into our work with greater motivation and focus.
Being able to recharge our batteries to produce impactful but intentional work is essential. A 2018 American Psychological Association survey on work and well-being found that nearly 70% of workers experienced an increase in positive mood and energy after taking vacation time, and about 60% felt more productive. Merely taking breaks throughout the workday, or psychologically detaching from work tasks in the evening, have also been shown to boost employees’ mood, morale, and ability to meet work demands. “Organizations that understand their role in facilitating employee recovery, and that encourage their employees to leverage work breaks to recharge and unwind, will benefit from a workforce that is healthy, energized, and ready to work,” Charlotte Fritz, Ph.D., and her research team write in Organizational Dynamics.
Please take a look at our tips to help you make moments of recovery, both long and short, to provide a staple in your team’s remote work routine.
Let your team know how you’re taking care of yourself.
If you step away from your computer each afternoon for a walk, do yoga, or plan to take a day off to unplug and recharge, sharing your plans, will normalize these critical breaks and open up the conversation for your colleagues and direct reports to share what they’re doing to prioritize their well-being.
Reflect on your mental health and well-being and choose an upcoming date to take PTO.
Utilize your PTO, and don’t let it go to waste! Taking time away from “the office” can boost your energy, mood, and productivity when you return.
Identify a date within the next week when you can sign off early and commit to it.
It’ll allow you to recharge, while also normalizing the practice among your reports.
Declare an end to the day, even if you haven’t completed your to-do list.
It’s almost impossible to do all you could have done in any one day. Effectively prioritizing means being comfortable with incompletions and taking the time to recharge, so you’ll return to work the next day, ready to seize opportunities. You’ll also set the example that it’s ok to set boundaries.
Whenever a call ends early, or when you get up to use the restroom, take an extra two minutes for a stretch break.
You can use that time productively by reinvigorating yourself with movement and taking a few moments to reset.