MONTHLY BAROMETER – WELLNESS EDITION
The pandemic has magnified the macro challenge of social inequalities by laying bare the shocking disparities in the degree of risk to which different social classes are exposed. In much of the world, a pattern has emerged: The wealthiest have escaped to their holiday homes; the middle class hunkers down at home to telework and homeschool; while the working class (those who still have a job) are not at home but at the front line, working to help save lives (albeit indirectly) and the economy—cleaning hospitals, manning the grocery store checkouts, transporting essentials, and ensuring our security.
Telework has put the issue of Working From Home (WFH) and its wellbeing consequences at the core of many people’s preoccupations.
WFH has blurred the frontier between work and non-work, with the result that many people now struggle to preserve the healthy boundaries (so important for our mental wellbeing) that exist between our personal and professional lives.
In the academic literature (summarized in a recent article published in the Harvard Business Review), three things are deemed essential to avoid WHF burnout:
(1) Maintain physical and social boundaries (by replacing, for example, the morning commute with a walk).
(2) Set intentional work-time boundaries as much as possible. A 9-to-5 schedule may prove unrealistic when people are balancing child- and elder-care responsibilities, but clear temporal boundaries are crucial.
(3) Focus on your most important work, not busy-work—carving out non-work time and mental space is essential.
As the lines between work and non-work blur in unusual ways with the new WFH realities, read the Harvard Business Review on how to compartmentalize and keep your sanity.