A phenomena of the covid remote working experiment has been the increasing tendency to cram the diary, removing all possibilities to take a break, process and refresh. This is resulting in an increase in employee fatigue that needs to be dealt with as we now move into the hybrid working era.
Back in the office we would have automatically created mini breaks in the day. Often times they would have occured in conjunction with movement around the building that we work in. Typically, one meeting would finish and you would take a walk; down a stairwell, across to another building, from the boardroom to the office etc. These were necessary evils, but we now discover they served a very important purpose. These little breaks gave us space to process. Just a few minutes in-between spurts of activity, engagement and contribution, but moments in time that added to our personal wellbeing.
In the new world we are in distinct danger of feeling increasingly stressed, overwhelmed and fatigued because we no longer have this processing time. Injecting mini breaks into your hybrid working day are not a ‘nice to have’, but an important element of staying connected, alert, creative and energised.
Find ways to put those 5 minutes of space back into your working day. Try and avoid the possibility of going from one to another meeting, without even lifting your bum from your seat.
Also consider how you might create a longer period of reflection at the end of each day.
The 3rd Space
Many people have begun introduce a 3rd space into their day. Typically this occurs at the end of the afternoon as you ‘leave’ work and switch to home. Simply it’s a way to stop you moving directly from your laptop (professional) to your kitchen sink (domestic) without a pause.
The 3rd space technique provides some process time in a way rather similar to the old commute used to do.
To design your 3rd space, think about what you would have done when you used to commute. Did you listen to the radio, read a book, listen to a podcast, day dream? Now think about what you are going do, to introduce a third space between work and home life? It could be as simple as taking 20 minutes to listen to the radio, or replicate your old commute unwind habit. It may however need you to introduce something new to your routine. Perhaps you might take a walk around the block, pick up a guitar, pull a few weeds in the garden or something else that you find helpful and enjoyable.
We are discovering that this micro down time is in fact a substantial contributor to your sense of wellbeing. Both during the day, but significantly as you transition from professional to homemaker. It’s an easy thing to introduce and as we extend remote working into hybrid working we should consider the long game and introduce coping strategies like this to ensure our long term capability and health.