All in a day’s work

All in a day’s work

In the past, there was little distinction between work and relaxation. Fortunately, as time has progressed people have recognised that time spent recharging is time well spent – allowing for an increase in mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. As the Germans say, it’s better to take time out to sharpen the saw before heading into the forest. But just how does one maintain a healthy work-life balance? In a world of constant connectivity, how do you disconnect? How do you find your balance?

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Do not disturb

The boundary of work should be easy to define for most people. Walking into the office and settling into your surroundings for the day: it’s a morning ritual that marks the start of your work. Likewise, the sliding doors don’t just mark the exit, they also act as an invisible boundary – one that work shouldn’t cross. However, the magic of mobile technology means that your boss is never more than a tap away. For some, the temptation is to pick up from home is all too real.

As of 2017, French companies were banned from sending emails to their employees after work hours, freeing them from the ‘electronic leash’ that had so long kept them tied to their work. This so-called ‘right to disconnect’ is one of the most popular measures passed in recent memory, with many German companies deciding to follow suit. It’s a move that helps to address the ‘always-on’ culture fostered by many businesses, drawing a crucial line that allows the work-half of your brain to get some much-deserved rest. In the UK, there are encouraging signs of a shift towards this culture, with many companies implementing small but significant measures like blocking email access while on holiday. Until then, it is your individual responsibility to make sure your work phone clocks out when you do.

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You are the captain

It’s something people naturally do. Somebody asks you a favour and you’ll likely say yes; after all, it’s nice to be nice. On the other hand, when it comes to work, being careful about what you agree to do can work wonders for your productivity and wellbeing. The power lies in two small letters, admittedly letters that don’t come naturally to the typical Brit… the power lies in saying “no”. A helpful tip is to take a few hours to think about a request (if the task is not urgent), saying you’ll get back to the person in due course. Not only does this prevent a misguided split-second decision from being made, it also helps take the load off. If you can do it, great! If not, don’t worry. It’s better to do one job well than leave two half-done.

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Work smart

Work smart not hard, so the old adage goes. While it’s best to do both, it’s possible to work too hard, burning out and carrying excess tiredness into your life. The key is to find out where energy can be saved. For example, online grocery shopping can save an hour of time and physical exertion. Planning out the week in advance, highlighting how long tasks take – alongside how important they are – is a quick and easy way of prioritising work. Another benefit is the perspective it brings. Breaking down a seemingly endless mountain into small manageable steps comes with the promise of a fantastic view, just waiting for you at the end.

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Take time for yourself

Sometimes you just need five minutes to pause and take a breath, bringing everything back into focus. Practising mindfulness in the workforce can bring about a whole array of benefits; decreasing stress, improving productivity and helping to increase emotional intelligence. The mind is a powerful tool. But like all tools, it runs better when the batteries are on full charge. Consider taking a few minutes of reflection every hour, or simply take a short walk away from the desk to reset. You’ll start feeling the difference within days.

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Be more flexible

Many companies offer flexible working, alongside the opportunity to work remotely. This can be a great way of shifting the work-life balance, cutting out the time spent commuting and replacing it with social time, or simply enabling you to catch up on sleep. More homely surroundings can make some people perform better too, creating a sense of ease.

As long as the work is completed, most companies are happy to consider it for at least a few days a week. It’s important to dedicate a separate space for remote working, however, as the last thing you want is to make the home feel like the office. Whether it’s a dedicated study, a coffee shop or the local library, all that matters is that you are comfortable and productive.

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One thing at a time

Multi-tasking seems like a good way of getting lots done. But in the long term, it can simply mean that everything takes much longer, leading to unnecessary stress. Instead, focus all of your attention on whatever is at hand. If it’s a report, writing emails can take a backseat. If it’s a family dinner, the conversation and the laughter are more important than the thought of Monday’s meeting.

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Don’t think of work as work

The work-life balance should be a misnomer. Working to live or simply living to work. There’s no reason for such a divisive categorization between the two facets of our day-to-day lives. The perfect job shouldn’t feel like work: it should be a role where people are more friends than colleagues, teammates rather than bosses and managers. At Uncommon, we recognise that not everyone has their dream job… not yet anyway. However, working in an environment that actively feels as enjoyable as ours goes a long way to changing the work-life balance for the better. Bringing work to life, so to speak. If you’d like to experience one of Uncommon’s amazing collaborative workspaces in London, get in touch. Just because you shouldn’t bring work home doesn’t mean you can’t bring a little home to work.

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Uncommon takes pride in helping businesses thrive. Our workspaces are designed with your wellbeing in mind. Every single detail helps create an environment in which you can feel good about where and how you work. Visit our locations in Borough, Highbury & Islington, Fulham, and Liverpool Street to experience our unique vision of working life across London.

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