Do you have a Flexible or remote position? There are immense benefits to having the opportunity to choose or change when and where you work. However, it also brings up some unique challenges. This blog shares three job demands specific to flexible work arrangements and six ways to balance them better.
Flexible Work Arrangements aka Remote Work
There are lots of ways to work these days.
Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA) refer to flexibility in when and where to work.
This includes working remotely, hybrid work design, compressed work weeks, and flexible scheduling. An FWA can look different for every workplace and every individual! While we are all familiar with (and likely love) the perks of telecommuting or being hybrid, FWAs do come with some unique challenges and demands from the workplace.
Some demands specific to Flexible Work Arrangements include:
- High nonwork or home life interference
- Difficulty maintaining work-nonwork boundaries
- Zoom fatigue
Let’s dive deeper into these challenging demands and how to combat them.
Balancing FWA Job Demands
First, let’s revisit what we discussed in our work-life (work-nonwork) balance blog. Each of us has responsibilities both in our personal lives and work lives. When we work remotely or on a hybrid schedule, the lines between those two environments get blurred. Hence, high nonwork or home life interference is one of the most challenging demands in a flexible work arrangement. Along with difficulty managing work-nonwork boundaries. Here are three tips for balancing those two demands:
1. Determine your priorities
Whenever there is a high chance of work-nonwork interference, we must gauge our priorities. Ask yourself, “Is it work that is interfering with nonwork? Is nonwork interfering with work? Or both?” Reflecting and answering these questions can help you determine where you may want to focus your energy and start taking action toward change.
2. Know your limits
One of the most challenging aspects of FWAs is having constant access to your work life. As discussed in the work-nonwork balance blog, everyone’s idea of “the perfect balance” differs. So, for some, this closer proximity might be great and increase their productivity. For most, however, the constant access to work is an extraordinarily stressful and invasive demand. Knowing your limits and your idea of “the perfect balance” is the first step toward identifying your limitations and building habits that support them.
3. Communicate and collaborate with your team
If you feel that your work-nonwork boundaries are being violated and negatively impacted by challenges with your work structure, communicate it with your team members. You might be surprised how much a simple conversation on boundaries can affect your work experience. Perhaps you might inspire even larger conversations among your team or your organization!
Ah, Zoom fatigue. We assume you’re familiar with the term? Zoom fatigue was one of the most surprising demands that emerged from flexible work arrangements, specifically remote work. It’s characterized by exhaustion related to continual exposure to video chats like Zoom meetings.
A few causes include:
- Constantly seeing and monitoring yourself during virtual meetings – Many of us are often hyper-critical of our reflection. When we’re on Zoom for hours of the day, we are analyzing, monitoring, and critiquing ourselves. This becomes exhausting very quickly.
- Your brain is working harder to decipher nonverbal communication – It takes effort to communicate over the screen. It is unnatural and difficult to interpret nonverbal communication, like body language.
- Home life interference – Zoom meetings can invade privacy which may feel overwhelming or embarrassing. While at home, you are unable to control the random dog bark or arguing children. In addition, you are opening up your home for those to view and judge.
Here are some ways to combat Zoom fatigue:
4. “Hide Self-View” Feature
Consider using the “hide self-view” feature on Zoom. You can access this feature by right-clicking your photo. You won’t have to look at your own image during meetings when utilized.
5. Take an on-screen break – go old school, audio-only
For meetings that allow it, remove your video and take time to look away from the camera or move around a bit.
6. Change your background
Consider using the “blur” or “background” features on Zoom. This allows you to blur or replace your background, so your home life is not directly on display.
Moving Forward with Job Demands
Balancing job demands can be tricky because there is no copy-and-paste solution to achieve the perfect work-life balance. The best way to move forward with balancing job demands as we continue to navigate flexible work environments is by practicing and implementing new habits. Check out our Workplace Well-being series for more tips and best practices.
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