To save some reading time: yes. It absolutely can. For those on this journey with us, here’s how:
We’ll start with a mantra we really believe in at Moonalabs. Wherever you are, be present. Whatever you’re doing, do it fully.
Work-life balance in the modern world has always created a struggle against that mantra. And often it feels like we’re losing that fight. Commutes to and from work in the wee morning hours and the black-of-night can drain our spirits and fill our hearts with dread. Mobile phones keep us connected to the incessant dings and buzzes of notifications, email alerts, and phone calls that spill-over into after-hours. Some of us work seemingly from the moment our eyes open to the moment we crawl into bed, exhausted (and some actually continue to work, in bed!).
This was reality even before quarantines and remote-work became realities of life in a pandemic. Overnight, we had to adjust to a new type of balance, where we lost the commute but also lost the social environment of an office. The spill-over of connectivity entered our physical realms and invaded the spaces we cook and eat and relax.
Conversely, some beautiful rays of normal life – like spending time with loved ones – can spill-over now into the working environment too. Just watch any heart-warming clips from the pandemic, such as reporters being interrupted by their little ones while live on air.
All of this spill-over has obvious implications on what we mean by “balance” and what it means for work and life, respectively. Balance is not just nailing down a ratio of hours and minutes we want to spend on specific aspects of our life; it requires structure, organisation, and design.
We asked ourselves: How can we help people to be present and focused, so they can do – whatever they are doing, for work or family life – with intent and purpose? These questions drive the inspiration and design for all Moonalabs furniture to fuel purposeful space-making in the home. We’re curating dedicated environments to help bring physical balance to daily life.
For example, our flagship home working pod – Alcove - isn’t just an organised, separate space to retreat and focus; it is also moderately soundproofed to minimize distractions without creating total isolation. If there is a desire to bring family life into the space, a comfy quiet space is included for the little ones to read or play while mum or dad works at the desk. What matters is having the dedicated space to set your own intention, we’ve just designed it elegantly enough to give you the flexibility to support your own soul’s needs.
Of course, even the makers of transformative furniture and home-spaces must acknowledge that we are only part of the solution. You have to come along on the journey to overcome many of the struggles we face. Furniture alone can’t rid you of all work-from-home woes, which is why we support work-life balance with ideas and tips, too. All remote-workers deserve the autonomy to find the balance that’s right for them; here are few good ways to do it:
Establish a schedule. Determine working hours throughout the day, including breaks to get up and stretch, to have lunch, and even exercise. Schedules change and work priorities shift, but you can start with the right intention and add physical blocks of time to your calendar.
Communicate your needs with your employer and colleagues. We can better help each other if we have some awareness of our colleagues’ intentions. Build a supportive community and keep each other accountable for taking breaks physically and mentally.
Don’t apologize for childcare! You are heroic to work and raise children while so much is happening in the world. Just make sure your childcare is part of the schedule you establish and communicate with your employer and colleagues around any changes or flexibility needed.
Depending on the age of the kids, you can use this as a teachable moment of timing and patience and understanding responsibilities. Try setting a timer for ~45 minutes of productive time, after which you take a break to play with them or go for a walk.
Reflect semi-regularly on happiness and fulfilment. A schedule is only as good as your intentions. Even when organised well, it can feel like soul-sucking blocks of time, and your mental wellness and fulfilment may suffer. Find what brings you joy and make time for it, too.
Have a cup of tea and a biscuit in the afternoon. Sure, it may boost your energy and focus, but more importantly it’s good for the soul. You’ve earned it.
Announce your endpoint. Declaring the day is complete will help make it a reality so you can transition into the evening and recharge.
If you have vacation or holiday time, use it. We need daily structure but also extended breaks. Don’t feel guilty about planning and using the time that is yours.
All of this advice is only as powerful as your intention. We have a remarkable ability to pushback and design a lifestyle that is more suitable to our needs as people, but without intention it is impossible. Intent gives us the ability to identify what we value most, to prioritize and structure our goals in support of those values, and to find the focus and determination to act on our aspirations.
So, can a piece of well-designed furniture like Alcove really revolutionize work-life balance? 100% We’ve built it to equip and support anyone with the intent to strike that perfect balance for them. After all, our purpose is to support yours.
Wherever you are, be present. Whatever you’re doing, do it fully. If you aren’t already, start today.