Work-Life Balance Tips for PR Pros
To say that the COVID pandemic changed the way that we work would be a massive understatement. Companies are now allowing flexible options providing their employees with work-from-home benefits. However, ironically this has made it difficult to achieve work-life balance. According to Forbes, a Harvard Business School survey found that 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said that they worked more than 65 hours per week.
As PR Pros we are also especially prone to burnout, as the assumption is that we must always be available for our clients at all hours. We won’t sugarcoat finding work-life balance in PR and agency work can be trickier than in other jobs, due to the ever-changing news landscape and working with journalists and media across multiple time zones.
In this digital age where our computers and phones keep us connected 24/7, our work and personal lives have become intertwined. So, is work-life balance even achievable these days? Of course, it is, however, we have now entered the era of work-life integration where personal and work responsibilities are going to blend into one another.
Good work-life integration is going to look different for every person. That balance is also going to change from day to day. There might be days where you’ll have to leave work early to go to an appointment, or there might be days where you have to stay later at work to complete an important project. So, you’ll have to find the schedule that works best for you. Here are some overall tips that we have to help achieve the best work-life integration.
Set and manage expectations
Don’t be afraid to tell your manager and leadership team what you need. Being upfront about when you’ll be available, and the flexibility you require will help to alleviate any problems between you and your agency. Say you need to leave at 3 pm for your child’s soccer game on Thursdays. Communicate to your team that this is a priority for you so they can take the necessary steps to help you achieve balance in your life.
Turn off your devices…like really do it
Once your work time for the day is over, turn off your phone, close your work laptop, and really disconnect. With virtual work, we are all guilty of quickly checking our work emails and messages outside of work hours. However, this trains our brain to be in working mode. If we don’t truly unplug, there’s no way that we can recharge and perform at our best for the next work day. If you are spending time with family and friends, really be there with them, and resist the temptation to check in on any work-related activities. I know that this can seem scary to some people, but if your colleagues or boss really need to reach you in an emergency, they will find a way to contact you.
Take advantage of your breaks
Everyone could use a break, and resetting our bodies and minds is essential to our health. Experts recommend getting up every couple of hours to stretch your legs and give those eyes a rest from the computer screen. We also highly recommend fully utilizing your hour-long lunch break and taking that much-needed time. We also know that among its plethora of other benefits, exercise is super helpful for reenergizing us and keeping us focused. Consider taking a short walk around the neighborhood and getting some fresh air on your breaks.