The story below is a part of YMyHealth’s Making a Healthy Office Comeback series. As more millennials return to the office or transition to hybrid work schedules in 2022, we will be highlighting the concerns and health challenges Generation Y tells us they are facing and feature advice from millennial experts on how to maintain your healthy habits.
What a year it has been! For so many of us in our 20s, 30s, and now newly minted 40, we have not yet made a return to the normal work and personal life we were hoping for. Yet, there are many silver linings that have come from our ‘new normal’ of spending more time at home and making our home office, a mainstay in our professional lives.
As Jason Phillips, LCWS, tells us, there is a lot millennials can look back on and be proud of in navigating these challenging times. The lessons we’ve learned in the long run may actually give us a greater ability to shape the life and career we have been searching for.
Phillips, who is a mental health therapist, life coach, and fellow millennial at age 37, has worked with his clients on how to take the opportunities our new environment has provided us with and capitalize on them. He shares with us some of the advantages, millennials’ have discovered in spending more time at home and how this is changing our vision of what our daily lives can be like from now on.
Being More Productive
For some of us, we have found that we can actually get more done in a shorter amount of time, Phillips says. After cutting out the commute and those “water cooler” conversations, despite being on our own and having to sometimes find our own motivation to get work done, we are seeing that we can still be productive. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that we can structure our time in a way that’s actually an asset to our companies, all in the midst of our home life.
Millennials have long been champions of having a work-life balance. The pandemic has given us new insight into the reality of what that can be like. For some, being at home with family allows them a glimpse into what we do every day. Meanwhile at the same time, our employer knows that even if you work a hybrid schedule (for example, working from home two days a week and three days a week at the office), you are still really productive, Phillips says.
Reprioritizing What’s Important
Before the pandemic, some of us were taking on too many projects and saying “yes” to way too many things, Phillips says. The downtime gained from working at home has been very beneficial for millennials’ mental health. It has given us more balance and slowed us down. Most significantly, it has led us to reprioritize what’s most important in our lives, Phillips finds.
A renewed focus on our most prized relationships and on our personal, physical health, are two areas that for many millennials has topped the priority list. Phillips has found that working from home has strengthened and even improved relationships for his clients. Instead of having a 30 minute or an hour commute to work, working from home has given people that time back to use in spending time with their loved ones, partners, and/or children. People can do that and not feel like they are taking away from something else that they were already trying to do.
In our ‘new normal,’ it’s all about thinking about: “How do you manage this time?”
Improving Physical Health
Phillips has talked with several clients about trying to figure out not only how we work out from home, if we are not comfortable going to the gym, but also how do we make that happen within your routine when our job is now at home as well. When clients do implement exercise into their routines after discussing with Phillips how to best fit it in with the demands of work, his clients have told him that they feel more physically fit and more energized.
There is a huge connection between mental health and physical health, as Phillips points out, and the value of that should not be underestimated.
To learn more about the health challenges millennials have faced during the pandemic and ways they have continued to triumphed to overcome them, visit YMyHealth’s Making a Healthy Office Comeback page.