How to maintain a work life balance as we gear up to return to the office

Whoever you are and whatever your role, it’s going to be a significant adjustment moving back to an office setting after working remotely for more than a year, whether it be full time or a hybrid approach. I know for me, I’m going to need to make a conscious effort to ensure it doesn’t overwhelm me and I keep the work life balance I’ve managed to create over the last year.

Seeing as it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, I thought I’d share some ideas on how to cope with these changes and protect and maintain a healthy work/ life balance.

Daily walks 
Whilst we haven’t had a lot to do, some of us have become used to going out for daily walks. I think I will miss these a bit, so I am going to make sure I try and continue to take a walk either on my lunch break or after work – especially whilst it’s still light outside. A quick 30-minute walk can do wonders for both your physical and mental health.

Lunch breaks 
As we all know, lunch breaks are important as they help increase our productivity. Make sure you take yours, whether that be to go on a walk, grab lunch or chat with your office friends that you’ve missed whilst working from home. Everyone needs a break in order to be able to start fresh in the afternoon.

Digital time
Minimise it! We all spend a lot of time on screens throughout the day, so when you get home try not to go straight to the TV or your phone. I use App Limits on my phone and limit myself to specific hours on certain apps, and turn off notifications when I get home.

Physical exercise                                                                                                                                                                                                         Gyms have been closed for a long time and I’m really looking forward to getting back – make sure you try and make time for exercise when we are back in an office routine. You could even make use of gyms on your lunch break if possible. If you’re not into the gym, then think of other forms of exercise that you enjoy.

Use them wisely. Spend time with your friends and family that you haven’t seen in a while due to the restrictions. Restaurants, pubs, and shops will be reopening fully, so make sure you enjoy yourself. We’ve all had a really hard year, so enjoy this time because you’ve earned it!

I’ve really enjoyed cooking and having some extra time after work to make meals I usually wouldn’t have. I am definitely going to make an effort to plan ahead and try and batch cook so I can make the most of my time in the evenings and continue to enjoy preparing and eating nice meals.

I would usually have an hour-long commute to work, which is something I haven’t had to do whilst working from home. I’ve enjoyed the extra time in the morning to get myself ready for the day so when we return to commuting, I plan on listening to an audiobook or a playlist in the car to get me ready to start the day.

Lastly, we have all had a very strange and tough time working from home, so please be kind to yourself. It will be a significant adjustment for everyone, but this last year has shown many that we perhaps didn’t have the best work/ life balance before, so it’s important that we don’t all rush back to our old ways. These are all little things you can do to make sure that you keep time for yourself, which is so important.