Navigating Remote Work-Life Balance in 2024

These days, juggling our professional and personal lives can feel like a tightrope walk. As we pursue our career goals, we must prioritize our well-being and find a balance that sustains us long-term. 

The onset of the pandemic shook things up in the corporate world, but worker fatigue was an issue even before COVID-19 came along.  The World Health Organization defined burnout as a syndrome that arises from unmanaged workplace stress. It manifests in three key ways: feeling drained of energy or constantly exhausted, growing emotionally distant from your job or developing negative attitudes toward it, and experiencing a decline in your productivity. 

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In fact, Industry leaders cite burnout as a top risk for the workforce in 2024, as it can lead to high rates of turnover

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Remote Work-Life 

Following government-mandated lockdowns and the adoption of hybrid working arrangements, the boundaries between work and personal life have blurred for many people. The convenience of working from home can easily lead to the temptation to extend work hours into our personal time.

With hybrid and remote work becoming more common, how do Nigerians maintain a healthy work-life balance?

“Remote work has its advantages, but it can creep into personal time if not managed properly,” notes Alex*, a remote software developer. “I’m on my couch, my desk is in the corner of the room. The lack of physical separation between workspace and living space makes it easy to slip into the habit of checking emails late into the evening.”

“Setting boundaries is essential,” says Sarah, a marketing executive. “I used to think saying ‘yes’ to every request would get me ahead, but it led to burnout. Learning to say ‘no’ when necessary has been liberating.”

However, finding this balance isn’t just about saying no to work; it’s also about saying yes to self-care. “Prioritizing self-care isn’t selfish; it’s necessary,” insists Maya, a freelance writer. “Whether taking a walk, reading a book, or simply unplugging from technology, carving out time for myself rejuvenates me and enhances my productivity.”

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The Right to Disconnect

This isn’t isolated; it’s a global trend. Recognizing the need to safeguard workers’ rights and promote a healthier work-life balance, some countries have implemented legislation to address this issue.

For instance, in France, Kenya, and Portugal, the “right to disconnect”  law grants employees the right to ignore work-related communications outside designated working hours.  Portugal introduced measures to protect remote workers’ rights, including the right to digital disconnection and the regulation of teleworking conditions.

In addition to legal safeguards, companies can play a pivotal role in promoting work-life harmony among remote employees. Implementing policies such as flexible work hours, encouraging regular breaks, and fostering open communication about workload expectations can help mitigate the risk of burnout and improve overall well-being.

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