The boundary between work and home life is more blurred than ever and is having a profound effect on us emotionally and professionally, new research finds.
After 18 months of living in a global pandemic, stopping and starting closed closings, and switching to work-from-home and mixed-office environments, new research highlights the mental health cost this has taken on Australians.
Exclusive data for news.com.au de Allianz reported that an alarming 69 percent of Australian employees are avoiding crucial mental health discussions with the workplace.
The inability to separate personal and professional boundaries when working from home is affecting your emotional well-being and professional ability. The research showed that 45 percent of employees and managers said the line between work and personal life had blurred, and more than three-quarters of those surveyed said they had to work some form of overtime to complete established tasks.
Peak performance researcher and author of The Third Space, Dr. Adam Fraser, said that reduced productivity and the impact on well-being in the workplace are largely affected by the loss of crucial transition time. between professional and personal spaces.
“We need the third space between work and home to leave the working day behind and be more present. When people use this effectively, the mood at home improves and their boundaries are strengthened, ”he said.
Without this transition period, the researcher noted that the stress of the day could negatively spill over into someone’s home life. The ability to distinguish between work and home space is also “incredibly important” when working from home, whether it’s from a dedicated office, a guest bedroom, or even a kitchen table.
“Our brains only have a certain amount of energy and capacity and we do not turn off at the end of the day, which is the period when the brain disconnects, refreshes itself and restarts for the next day,” he said.
“So their brains are in this kind of exhausted and tired state and when they try to work, they don’t have the resources or the brain power that leads them to have to work longer.”
This comes as the insurer reports an increase in the number of workplace psychological injury claims, and its personal injury CEO Julie Mitchell claims the pandemic has played a role in this over the past 18 months. .
Although most people no longer commute to work, there are similar activities that people can do to reflect on the work day, rest and calm their brain, and reset their mindset, which Dr. Fraser pointed out as the three key aspects. of the use of your third space.
Some of the most ingenious solutions seen by Dr. Fraser include a client who starts his work day by driving to the cafeteria for coffee and drives to the park after work where he listens to a podcast or walks for 45 minutes.
Another household struggling with homeschooling commitments adopted a rule where the whole family ‘dresses’ for the day, packs their lunches, and goes for a walk around the block in the morning. In the evening, they take another walk together before changing into casual clothes to signal the end of the day.
The third space can also be taking time to participate in a hobby, go for a walk, meditate, listen to a podcast, or even watch TV or surf the Internet on your phone. Another simple action could be to pack your work gear, so that you are not “reminded to send an email” when looking at your laptop, for example.
However, Dr. Fraser said it is preferable to “avoid interacting with another screen and do something completely different.”
“Ideally, we want to do something active. Something like being in nature that is deeply important to our mental health and revitalizes and refreshes us, “he added.
When it comes to talking about mental health in the workplace, the job market, SEEK identified the need for conversations between colleagues and managers. Their research reported that two in three Australians agreed that COVID-19 has made them more aware of their mental health, and three in 10 Australians admitted that their workplace did not offer any form of wellness support.
SEEK Resident Psychologist, Sabina Read agreed that Covid has blurred the boundaries of work-life balance for employees and, in some cases, between people, their managers and colleagues. When ignored, this tension between personal and work time can leave people feeling empty, resentful, fearful or frustrated, Ms. Read said.
When it comes to negotiating boundaries with your boss or manager, she shares these four tips to ensure an effective work environment is created for both parties.
1. Identify your values
“When your boundaries are in line with your values, the benefits include a sense of agency and well-being,” said Ms. Read. “You are more likely to feel that you are in the driver’s seat and that what you are doing aligns with who you are, how you think and how you want to behave.”
2. Communicate your limits
While it can be difficult to have this conversation with your boss, Ms. Read suggested that people focus on the strategies that will best prepare you to “meet the requirements of your job,” rather than what you are “taking off.” .
“What will having fewer meetings during the week or feeling more rested bring to your offering?” she said. “This could include increased productivity and passion, or more focus. These are results that your manager and colleagues would like as well. “
3. Focus on shared goals
“A shared goal may be to have more energy so that you can be more effective in your work or meet the needs of your stakeholders,” added the psychologist. “These goals will likely depend on a level of your own well-being.”
4. Take practical steps to make sure you can meet your limits.
Lastly, think about what you need to do to ensure you achieve work-life balance and respect your limits.
“It’s not about walking away from a life you don’t want, it’s about supporting a life you do want,” Read said.
“You may want to change the settings to turn off notifications and emails at certain times, or block the timeout on your calendar when you are not available for meetings. That time can be used to focus on what really energizes you. “
This article was created in sponsorship with SEEK