The benefits of hybrid working have been touted for some time, but that doesn’t mean that making the switch is easy. Adam Johnson, sales director at Zendbox explains.
This challenge has long plagued me as a father to a five-year-old daughter and another little girl on the way, not to mention a devoted partner to my full-time working wife. In the last few years, I’ve taken some important steps to change my working routine to avoid bringing the office home with me and vice versa. This is how I do it.
My household runs on two calendars: one for work and the other for home. These calendars are synced so that my family understands when I need quiet time for things like video calls. Equally, my wife and I can keep track of the day-to-day tasks we’re charged with, which – in my case – can include picking my daughter up from nursery in the afternoons or taking her to weekly horse-riding lessons.
I maintain a zero-inbox mentality, meaning that before I clock off from work for the day, I make sure any emails I’ve received are dealt with. This could be in the form of actioning a task, following up on a task, or simply acknowledging emails I haven’t yet replied to. Doing this ensures that whether I’m at home or in the office, I can put work away without worrying about emails I need to pick up the next day.
I built my own office four years ago, which is home to my Batman, Captain America, and Lego memorabilia – alongside an expensive bottle of whisky that often draws attention on video calls. My home office is not only a space I can retreat to for work purposes, but also provides a physical means of shutting the door on that part of my days, which is vital for me to maintain the right work-life balance.
Before joining Zendbox, I was a business owner and sadly, the success of this endeavour came at a cost of time with my then new-born daughter. Now, I make no compromises with her – every night between the hours of 6.30pm and 8.30pm, I put my daughter to bed, read her a book and give her any medicine she needs. Even if I’m on a video call, I’ll end the call at 6pm on the dot to make sure I can spend time with my daughter. I adopt the same approach to weekends, which are devoted entirely to me and my family. This is incredibly important to my health, happiness and productivity as a senior team member.
I used to think that if clients contacted me, I’d have to respond immediately. With age, I’ve realised that it’s more important to manage expectations. If, for instance, an issue is raised by a client over the weekend and it’s beyond my control to resolve until Monday, I’ll simply advise the client of this fact. Managing expectations ultimately enables me to separate work from home life. Moreover, colleagues and clients appreciate my honesty and transparency when it comes to the time I give them beyond scheduled work hours.
When you have the freedom to work whenever and wherever you want, there can often be less clarity on what constitutes “work” and what constitutes “life”. However, by making small but impactful steps to prevent work from eating into my personal time, it has become much more achievable to put work aside at 6pm and focus on what matters most to me: family.