Coronavirus: Balance is key to well-being while working from home, expert says

As thousands of people work from home across Canada to prevent the spread of COVID-19, one expert says work-life balance is vital to ensuring well-being.

Jackie Chow has spent the past week at home because of the virus-containment efforts. She leads the user experience team for the Toronto-based smart home company Ecobee, which hasn’t been easy from home, she said with a laugh.

“I think I lose track of time and I sometimes forget what day it is.”

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With each day, Chow said she is getting used to it.

“I’ve been trying to wake up at 5 every morning,” she said. “I connect with my coworkers during lunch — so there is that social aspect — and then I make sure I end work at 5.”

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Chow explained she tries to set boundaries between her work and personal life and maintain routine, something Michael Halinski, an assistant professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, said is critical at times like this.

“Individuals that create and maintain boundaries between work and family have increased work-life balance,” Halinski said. “They have improved performance within each of the work and family activities as well as fewer distractions and disruptions when they’re performing those duties.”

Halinski advised keeping a normal routine is key.

“You get up, you eat breakfast, you get dressed in work attire.”

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READ MORE: Employer still not letting you work from home? How to navigate coronavirus office upheaval

Nicole McCance, a clinical psychologist in Toronto, told Global News in uncertain times such as with the COVID-19 pandemic, people can lose a sense of control. She said they must instead focus on aspects of their lives they can control.

“What are you putting in your body in terms of food? What time are you going to bed? You have a choice over that,” she said. “Are you moving your body and getting exercise as best you can indoors or close to home?”

Listing off her at-home, condo-sized exercise equipment, Chow said she uses fitness to ensure balance in her life, as well as frequent virtual get-togethers with friends and colleagues.

Reflecting on all the time spent at home in recent days, she said, “I’m thinking about my parents and grandparents. It’s a small sacrifice for something much larger in the bigger picture.”

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