When I wrote the first blog entry for 2020, declaring it to be the year we rethink how we balance work with the rest of life, I was unaware of how prescient that post would be. I doubt anyone foresaw the upheaval and change this year would bring.
Most people’s lives are made up of brief periods of major change that intersperse longer periods of stability. We’re familiar with these transition periods: leaving education to enter the adult world or becoming parents, for example. We anticipate and prepare for these changes, experiencing a period of disorientation as we navigate our way towards the next stage of our lives. For most of us 2020 has been different. We’ve had little choice but to face unprecedented change to both the way we live and work; and the way we think about combining these two.
When it comes to rethinking work-life balance we’ve made a few gains; and experienced some losses. On the plus side many more employers found that remote working was possible. The evidence is mounting and can no longer be refuted. There’s also growing interest among employees to continue with a hybrid arrangement that allows some remote working once the pandemic is over. On the minus side we’ve come to understand how precarious current work-life balance arrangements are; particularly for working mothers. Without a rethink by employers women’s progress in the workplace will continue to suffer major setbacks. Supporting those employers to upgrade working practices will be a prime focus for me in 2021.
Approaching the end of 2020 we have a further opportunity to rethink our work-life balance and build on the lessons learnt this year. When I review this year’s blog posts I feel that at the moment I’ve nothing new to add. I’ve said it all already; particularly when I:
- Talked about the importance of setting and managing boundaries.
- Pointed out that #AlwaysOn working is not balance. (And there’s plenty of evidence that #AlwaysOn increased during the pandemic.)
- Asked you to rethink the way you play your work and home roles to reduce conflict and build a more enriching life.
- Encouraged you to be a Creator not a Reactor.
I trust my guidance has been helpful in 2020; and wish you a more fulfilling and balanced 2021.
I’ll be spending the next few days reviewing and reconsidering how I want my life anc work to look next year. I’m planning some changes for this blog; and I’ll be shring those in January.