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How to achieve balance working from home?


By Claire Matthews

Almost a year after Queensland’s first COVID-19 lockdown, researchers are looking into the impacts of working from home and transitioning to a hybrid workspace. 

Peak performance researcher Dr Adam Fraser, together with The E-Lab and Dr John Molineux from Deakin University, completed a targeted survey with respondents who work in all sizes of enterprises, to understand how this transition has impacted them. 

The survey was conducted in January 2021 and interviewed 400 people from various age groups, locations, and backgrounds.

Dr Adam Fraser has updated his bestselling book, The Third Space, to include these recent research findings. Other key findings include:

  • The average Australian is working 5-10 hours more a week
  • 65% of people said that they are finding it difficult to separate work and home
  • 47% of people said they did not have a specific strategy to switch from work mode into home mode
  • 64% of people said that since working from home, they are thinking about work more in their personal time
  • 56% of people said they did not miss having to commute to work, but those that did miss it, said they missed it due to the ability to decompress from the day and that they missed the ‘me-time’

Adam Fraser said the challenge is to set up boundaries between work and home life.

“In the past year, there’s been a big focus on achieving work-life balance if you’re purely working from home, but how do we now master the hybrid? The problem we’re facing is that there is no clear boundary between when our home is a place of work and when it is a place of relaxation and connection.”

Adam recommends people working from home to invent an artificial commute, cut down on virtual meetings, and to compartmentalise and create mental space.

“Without a defined commute, it’s easy to lose all the structure to your day, as you no longer have any pivot points that signal you are moving between the different modes of home and work.

“People report greater levels of tiredness at home, partly due to lack of movement but also due to virtual interactions. Virtual meeting fatigue is a real thing, as it requires increased focus and effort to process non-verbal cues such as body language, and it adds a level of performance pressure.

“Another way to create space is to continue to have distinctive ‘work’ and ‘play’ outfits so that you’re forced to change at the end of the day.”

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