Have you found your perfect balance?
I’ve been reading a lot about those who are working from home and still trying to find that perfect work-life balance. As children head back to school, many of us are hoping for some sense of normality to kick in. Can we have a completely uninterrupted day on our laptops? Revel in the quiet, sip our cups of tea and have a productive 8-10 hour stretch? Or are we hoping for the impossible?
We can drown in the advice we see on social media and in the press. Tips include: dress for work, stay on a schedule, pre-prepare your meals, establish boundaries and create the perfect workspace. It makes me feel exhausted just reading that back. What overachiever put that list together - and do people actually listen?? I say this as I write this blog on my sofa wearing an old t-shirt and jeans. Surely I’m not the only one that eats cereal for lunch and scrambles to put on an acceptable shirt before the Zoom calls begin?
Having worked from home running a successful business for 10 years with my husband, I’d like to make an announcement: there is no magic formula. Shocker, I know. But I have learned to embrace that walk on the tightrope - and even thrive because of it.
Obviously there’s different strokes for different folks, and the way some handle working from home is very different from others. Take my husband as an example. He is much more disciplined than I am. He is currently sitting at his desk with his noise cancelling headphones on and only comes out of the office for lunch or to put the kettle on. He has it down to a fine science and likes to put in a regular work day.
He very kindly set up a lovely office for both of us. I have a desk, a large monitor and everything I could want to work in an office environment. But much to his disappointment, I shun that space. I prefer to put on my joggers and curl up on the sofa where I can work in comfort. I often get restless throughout the day and down tools to do a bit of laundry, get lost in social media or head out to meet a friend for a coffee. But that doesn’t mean I’m not productive. Often I start work again in the evening after the kids have gone to bed while my husband gets to relax in front of the television.
How to be successful
The moral of the story is that everyone’s perfect balance will look slightly different. I wish I could provide those magical ‘top tips’ that have helped me along the way. But they don’t exist. What I can say is that our business has thrived because our entire team has embraced this flexible style. We are all scattered throughout the UK and US and each of us have found our own way of working that best suits our lifestyle. We have never put limitations on our team or created ‘office hours’. We only ask that everyone is accessible (or tell us when they’re not) and that they hit their deadlines.
What we found is that our team is loyal, fun, productive and hard working. They are more likely to go the extra mile because they know we trust them - to not only do the work, but to put in the extra time when needed.
So feel free to read those lists on how to succeed at home. But please take them with a grain of salt. It’s up to you to find your own way of working that feels right. That could be behind a desk, at the kitchen table or curled up on the sofa. Now.. what to have for lunch??
Executive Producer, Northam Media