Hybrid Work-Life: 6 Ways to Improve Your Health, Time and Energy When You WFH

I get it. We’re all exhausted. The pandemic has taken a lot from us… our time, energy, hopes, dreams, and plans. We’ve learned that the worst can happen, and can keep happening. But we’ve also learned that when our boundaries and expectations are stretched, we find a way to adapt.

Enter the concept of hybrid work-life. We’re now in a world where companies are paying for unused office space while employees are appreciating the time savings and flexibility of working from home. During the past 2 years, many of us upgraded our homes and are enjoying the bigger space with our families. We love the feeling of rolling out of bed and into our office chairs a few minutes later… and avoiding the monotonous routine of rush hour traffic.

Unless employers can find a way to make going into the office worth it *cough* free food, gym, and services *cough*, I don’t see hybrid work-life ever going away.

So how can you make the most of hybrid work-life?

Figure out which days you WFH (home) vs. WFO (office)

Determine which days you will go into the office vs. which days you plan to work from home. I personally prefer going into the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays because that is when my team has meetings (so there’s a higher chance that I’ll see my peers). I also like staying home on Mondays and Fridays because they’re closest to the weekends and I also find a lot of people don’t go in on these days anyways.

Once you have an idea of your office vs. home days, you know when to schedule your in-person vs. remote meetings. You can also add a note to your email signature that tells your peers when they can expect you in the office (which can be helpful for future meetings that they wish to set up with you).

Tips for working from home

Create an ergonimic WFH set-up

You can only work from your kitchen table or living room sofa for so long. If you don’t want to lose motivation or focus while WFH, make sure you create a dedicated workspace for WORK! Take the time to make it aesthetically pleasing so that you’ll enjoy being there (after all, it is where you’ll be spending 8+ hours a day).

Also, remember the essentials of ergonomics! I suggest getting a motorized standing desk (I have the Upside Sit-to-Stand from Haworth) that allows you to switch it up throughout the workday. I try to stand after I eat a meal because I find that it helps with my digestion.

Redirect any time savings towards your wellbeing

Traditionally, we have been making excuses for not prioritizing our health and wellbeing because “we are too busy”. Now, we can save a lot of time on the days that we don’t need to get ready and commute to work.

On the days that you WFH, take advantage of the hour or two that you save. Reward yourself by hitting the snooze button or getting a morning workout out of the way. In the afternoons, try taking a power nap or going on a walk around the block.

Eat smaller meals throughout the day

When we WFH, it is very easy to access the kitchen. This can be a curse or a blessing 🙃

Instead of a hearty breakfast and big lunch before dinner, I like to take mini breaks and eat smaller meals throughout the day. I do this because 1) I know that I get hungry easily 2) I don’t want to over-eat and gain extra weight 3) it’s better for my digestion and metabolism.

Plus, eating smaller meals gives you some lenience for those times when you are feeling snacky because you are technically not over-eating.

Take micro breaks

I am a huge fan of the Pomodoro technique—which hasn’t failed me since university. When it comes to getting sh*t done, I try to schedule 25-minute work blocks and then take a 5-minute break in between.

During the micro-breaks, I do any of these activities:

  • Watch Netflix
  • Read a news article
  • Scroll through social media
  • Check my personal emails (avoid checking your work emails because you’ll get sucked back into work)
  • Play with my dog (when I lived back home)
  • Fix myself a snack or mini meal
  • Meditate or mindfulness (this is rare but one of my goals is to do this more)

These micro-breaks give me something to look forward to all day long. They also give me bursts of energy that sustain me throughout the work blocks.

Take real breaks too

Frankly, I struggle with this and feel guilty for taking breaks when I WFH. It’s too easy to feel like I need to “overwork” because I am “unsupervised”… but I also don’t want to burn myself out.

So let’s try to remember that we also deserve a proper lunch break! It’s up to you whether you choose to do it all at once while binging an episode of your favourite show or having a smaller lunch and taking a power nap later on. Either way, try to stay away from your inbox (though I will admit that this is very hard to do).

Block personal time in your calendar

Don’t feel the need to have to explain every personal appointment or event that you need to attend throughout the work day. Simply block it off so people know you’re unavailable and update your Teams status to specify whether you will be monitoring IM or how to get a hold of you if urgent.

When sending a calendar invite to notify your peers that you’re out-of-office, try to send an all-day invite that specifies which time-slot you are out instead of a specific time block. This way, your personal appointment simply shows up at the top of their calendar’s daily view and instead of disruptively in the middle of their schedule.

You got this!

Hopefully, you found a tip or two that you can try out in the coming week. For those of you who are parents, I am wishing you even more luck as you balance your work with screaming kids in the background… much respect.

Stay tuned for a related post on hybrid work-life, WFO edition.

Hi, I’m Karen and I am passionate about sharing my learnings, experiences, and perspectives through the #kkarenism platform. Most of the time it’s career and development related; other times I am simply curious and want to write about different topics. You’ll find a mix-mash of content on here from paying off student loans to creating a career walking deck, so enjoy whatever you find, subscribe, and share with others. 

P.S. I do this mainly for fun and out of passion, with a hint of hope that I can retire off this one day. Thanks for checking my blog out and have an awesome day!