Fragile limits of work and private space
More than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, the borderline between professional and private life has become blurry – almost imperceptible. Living rooms have become our offices. Children jumping and singing in the back of a lecturer delivering a Zoom presentation are not rare. Even though there are evident benefits in working from home such as saving time travelling to the office, our work-life balance seems to be redefined – not necessarily in a beneficial or controllable manner.
Setting your own boundaries is essential both in private and professional life. Having an awareness of your limits, as well as having clear communication with your coworkers and supervisors is important in order to maintain your body and mind well-being. Countries as Sweden are testing whether shorter working hours could increase intensity of work, and general productivity. Many countries, as France or Germany, have recently banned companies from reaching their employees outside of working hours and gave freedom to their workers not to be available at all times, which seems as a significant step forward. As our mobile phones need some time to recharge, so do we. Occasional unplugging from our career life brings us back even stronger, refreshed and full of novel ideas.
The importance of setting a clearly defined priority list.
Having a clearly defined priority list makes it easier to make an important decision. For example, having young kids at home may not be the best time to accept a raise at work, that also possibly means greater responsibility and extended working hours. On the other hand, it would bring more of a financial ease to the family. Rarely does an ultimately good or bad decision exist, only one that is in accordance with our priorities at the given moment – or not. One must remain truthful to one’s own goals, while not jeopardizing other aspects of life in the meanwhile. It is a balance that is not easy to achieve, and it is being continuously redefined during work life, or even earlier – while studying.
There is nothing wrong with being ambitious, as long as it does not diminish our complexity as human beings – people with social, psychological and physical needs. Having relaxing activities and doing things we are passionate about in our free time is healthy and makes us better in doing our jobs – whether those are easy evening walks around the neighborhood, some artistic hobby or picnic with friends. Instead of frequent lectures on sustainability of our businesses, we should start talking about sustainability of our lifestyles as well. Those conversations are encouraged at VSS with the notion that behind prominent and influential companies stand proactive, motivated, happy and fulfilled people.