It’s summertime and the living is easy — or so they say. The kids are home from school; vacations are planned; cold drinks and ice cream are flowing freely; and the calendar is packed with pool parties, summer camps, and activities with friends and families.
But what about the job you’re (still) responsible for 40 hours per week? Unfortunately, it doesn’t disappear in light of the longer days and the summer festivities — and the show must go on.
As we navigate the complexities of today’s hybrid workplace, it’s now more important than ever to maintain a healthy work-life balance. It is possible to have it all, and by following these tips, you’ll be well on your way from office window gazing to summertime lazing in no time.
The best ways to navigate hybrid workplace challenges in the summertime
1. Get organized & manage your time
In order to maximize your time, create a detailed day-to-day calendar that carves out personal time, as well as meetings and “heads down” time for work projects. It’s important to routinely update your calendar, schedule every meeting, and stay on track so you can have ample out-of-the-office time — and enjoy all the summer activities!
Do you find yourself skipping your morning workout to make a meeting? Or rushing through a project for time to make the kids lunch? Create a few calendar boundaries to designate time each day to complete assignments, honor your morning routine, tend to your inbox, or enjoy lunch with the family. It can be as simple as one hour every morning or two hours in the afternoon with an appointment that says “busy” or “block”. Clock out, sign off, and leave work at work.
Clocking out or signing off — both physically and mentally — is important for not only enjoying the summer months but also for remaining positive, stress-free, and focused. Reclaiming your evenings and weekends allows you to recharge, reconnect with loved ones and friends, and avoid burnout on the job.
Now, more than ever, the work-life lines are blurred and it’s important to plan, prepare, and prioritize your time. Practice the skill of mentally preparing to enter work mode, and also mentally preparing to log off for the day. Find a productive rhythm that works for you and stick to it to see yourself make improvements. No matter what season it is, creating a sustainable work-life balance requires being intentional, focused, and diligent in task management during your designated work times.
2. Honor your PTO. No, really.
Don’t leave your paid vacation days on the table. Take advantage of your time off and actually use it. Make a detailed plan, hand off your work, set your “out of office” message, and turn off your work-related notifications. Enjoy the well-deserved time away from the screen!
Employees often feel guilty for actually taking paid time off. Switching out of this mindset is key to invigorating your work-life balance. Time off is crucial to rest, recharge, connect with friends and family, and invest in hobbies that bring you joy. Taking time away from work — even if it’s just for a long weekend — can give you the space to return with better energy, mood, and focus.
As a leader, boost well-being improvement in the summer and let your team know it’s not just okay, but necessary, to take time off. Be sure to encourage staff to take their well-earned time off and model the behavior by stepping away for a break yourself.
3. Make afternoon and weekend plans
Just because we live in a world where we can be accessed at all times doesn’t mean that we should be. If you find yourself having difficulty prying yourself away from work tasks, try scheduling after-work plans to help create that physical division between work and personal life.
Find activities or things you like to do in the afternoon, such as joining a sports team, taking a yoga class, walking with friends, or having afternoon picnics with the family. And don’t forget to treat yourself to that ice cream!
In anticipation of your big summer trip, consider taking advantage of the weekends and getting out of town. Sometimes a weekend getaway is just the thing needed to switch things up and reset your mind with a fresh perspective on the ordinary. After all, you’re working nine-to-five — that doesn’t mean you can’t make time to feel the summer vibes each day!
4. Be present, mindful, and practice self-care
We wouldn’t skip a meeting if a coworker or your boss scheduled one with us ahead of time, so why is it so easy for us to cancel “meetings” with ourselves? Skipping a doctor’s appointment, foregoing physical activity, or staying up past your bedtime is detrimental to your well-being, your productivity, and your mental and physical health.
When we’re busy, it can be commonplace that seemingly non-urgent, non-work blocks of time are the first to take a backseat in an effort to maximize our time. Make sure to carve out the time needed to be present by journaling, meditating, exercising, connecting with friends and family, or pouring yourself a summer spritz to celebrate that work win.
We know it’s all too easy to get sucked into sitting and staring at the computer all day. If your meeting does not require you to be at your desk, take a walk. Investing time into yourself allows you to show up as your best self feeling refreshed and ready to better take on whatever challenges come your way. Sunshine is healing and rejuvenating. Take advantage of nature and go outside and enjoy some fresh air!
Have a conversation to ensure your work/life priorities are aligned and understood by all
We know it’s easier said than done, but sometimes you have to literally make the time when it comes to having a work-life balance. The hybrid workplace is designed to allow flexibility of working in a blended environment — so maximize your flexibility by saying “yes/and no” to work-life integration.
As the summer months welcome longer and brighter days, poolside meetings, and an overwhelm of activities, we hope these tips help you spend the heatwave your way — while continuing to maximize productivity at work, keep yourself healthy, and eliminating as much stress and burnout as possible.