top of page

Working 9 to 5 Debunked: Maintaining a Work-Life balance while Working From Home

It is without a doubt that COVID-19 has thrown a massive spanner in the ways of working this year. As a new starter in working 9 to 5, you may have had the mindset and mental preparation of waking up and going into the office 5 times a week. You may have mentally built up the confidence to network and build industry connections. You may have just gotten your bearing around the office. Then all of a sudden, you were working from home. Your many days (or weeks) of mental preparation feels like it has gone to waste and you’re feeling quite isolated. You may feel unsure about how the future office workplace looks. Now, you are preparing for an unknown workplace setting and are unsure on where to even start 😕.

As of present, most companies have adopted the 3-2-2 model while they are executing continuity and business as usual planning. The 3-2-2 model is a workplace schedule where employees have the flexibility to work two or three days in the office, followed by two or three days working from home. This model also increases work life balance and is shown to boost productivity. No more travelling into the office five days a week, and more time catching up on that much needed sleep!

Other offices may call this the A team B team model, the blue team green team model, working part time model, but they all reflect the 3-2-2 model.

There are various pros and cons on how this model plays out:

Pros of a 3-2-2 Model:

  • Minimal distractions from office small talk and noisy neighbours - so you can at least knock through your work much more effectively.

  • Encourages flexibility to care for personal appointments, errands and other competing priorities.

  • One can show their diligence and reliability working independently in a non-traditional office setting.

  • Boosted productivity on getting those tedious tasks complete.

  • You will become tech savvy - it’s time to brush up on your IT skills before the old case of “my laptop froze” happens again.

Cons of a 3-2-2 Model:

  • There is no physical and mental separation between work and leisure. One may forget to ‘clock out’ of work.

  • Effort is required when seeking change of scenery (e.g. morning walk to the bus VS walking from your bedroom to your desk; walks to the coffee shop VS walks to the kitchen).

  • Online communications can be misinterpreted.

  • One may not have full access to technology required to work from home.

  • One may suffer distractions while working from the lack of formal structure.

Such changes in workplace structure has created domino effects in how people now approach work and plan their days. Working professionally now has a new meaning. With every invitation to an online meeting, we find ourselves more aware of the personal lives our colleagues and managers have outside of work. This unprecedented visibility has cleared the pressures of putting on a face at work and has normalised, as are simply ‘being human’.

Okay, I now understand what the 3-2-2 model is! But how do I effectively work from home?

  • Set boundaries- Find a space in your home to call your office, preferably a spot that is quiet and off limits to other people and pets. Set it up in a professional manner, just how you would in the office. Shut off that space during your lunch break to strengthen the physical and mental separation from work and leisure. At the end of the day, try to avoid or pack up that area to further separate work from leisure. We sometimes may feel obliged to continue working even after our usual working hours so setting boundaries is crucial to maintain a balance to your mental health as well.

  • Be professional- Remember, just because you are working from home, it does not mean you can stop being a professional. Dress for your day, turn your facetime camera on, have a clean camera background (or if you can’t, blur it). Don’t Netflix and work at the same time. There is nothing worse than working at home in your pyjamas only for an important work call to pop up!

  • Be active- Working from home significantly reduces your exercise rate. You are no longer walking to the train station in the morning, walking a few hundred meters to get your lunch, even that afternoon walk to the breakroom for a pick-me-up coffee. What may have been 3km of walking just around the office now may be less than 1km a day.

Instead of snoozing your alarm in the morning, wake up as per normal and go for a walk. Go for a 10 minute walk at lunch to reduce the effects of the afternoon slump. Or go for a run in the afternoon when the weather cools. Anything that will get your heart rate up and those legs moving.

  • Be responsive- Working from home does not mean your team and manager don’t know what you are up to. The worst outcome is to be accused of not working while WFH, so the best way to avoid that is to be responsive. Reply to that email, message to your team to see how they are and what they are working on, be available for calls.

With all of this in mind, the big question is: Will the future workplace see a 3-2-2 model? The lockdown enforced in March this year has enforced the working from home notion and it has now become synonymous to working in the office. It is foreseen that many companies will continue with the 3-2-2 model until working full time in the office makes a comeback.

But what if the 3-2-2 model is not for me?

If you are struggling to adapt to the 3-2-2 model, have a talk to your manager to seek other alternatives, which may include getting approval to work five days in the office, working from a friends house, or adopting mechanisms to make WFH easier. Check with your organisation to see whether they can provide you with the equipment you need to effectively work from home.

Also, do not be afraid to reach out to your workplace counsellor or employee support systems. They are voluntary and confidential sessions to help guide you through workplace changes or challenges.

We hope you enjoyed this blog post of ours, stay tuned for more coming your way in the new year!

In the meantime, if you have any further tips, questions, a relevant interview experience that you want to share with us or blog posts that you want to see from our team, reach out to us by commenting it down below or send it through to!


Author: Olivia Fong


Aug 7, 2019

Currently a Graduate at QBE, UTS Alumni and former Career Services Associate, Olivia is a driven individual who is passionate about making a positive impact on those around her.

Speciality: Cover Letters (ALL).

We hope you enjoyed this blog post of ours, stay tuned for more coming your way in the new year!

In the meantime, if you have any further tips, questions, a relevant interview experience that you want to share with us or blog posts that you want to see from our team, reach out to us by commenting it down below or send it through to!

33 views0 comments
bottom of page