The face of work changed for many during COVID-19, which could be a wonderful thing for ongoing work-life balance, particularly for healthcare workers.Most healthcare workers would agree they have chosen a highly pressurised professional calling, with little ability to navigate a healthy work-life balance.
This brings with it ramifications for both personal and mental health.
The challenge of COVID-19 has exacerbated this. Various reports state that up to half of the healthcare workforce believe their mental health has declined during the pandemic. This will surprise no one working in the sector given the extra pressure healthcare workers have faced. And this pressure is not just in terms of the amazing efforts of healthcare workers in managing the pandemic but also for dealing with a range of other challenges, such as a shift in work practices (eg the increase in telehealth), although this could have more positives than negatives in terms of patient outcomes.
The silver lining to COVID-19 is that remote and flexible work is now being considered as a permanent structural shift in many industries and workplaces, so we must ask: Could healthcare workers hope for the same?
Studies Urge Better Work-life Balance
Back in 2010, this AJN study looked into the stresses that nurses face in the workplace and offered a range of tips for moving towards a healthier work-life balance.
Some tips it offered included:
- Attitude adjustments when at work eg be solutions-oriented rather than problem-focussed
- Be more organised at home to take pressure off familiar requirements there
- Improve personal health and nutrition
- Pursue education or training opportunities
- Seek professional help if overwhelmed
A BMJ-published study from 2018 found work-life balance behaviours were a key determinant of burnout, playing a significant role in the safety culture of healthcare workplaces. Crucially, it points to the fact that interventions targeting burnout should be considered at a workplace level rather than on individuals.
All good and well, but the very concept of healthcare workers finding work-life balance has been questioned. Pointing to studies that show most workers struggle with this, Dr Nor Anisa Hanan addresses the key problem healthcare workers face as being the inability to separate work from personal lives.
How Can You Change Your Work-Life Balance?
As we all search for quality of life and greater work-life balance, remuneration is playing second fiddle to having a more flexible work life. Not that we’re suggesting anyone on the search for a healthcare job shouldn’t negotiate a great rate of pay! But there is nothing wrong during negotiations with exploring the options around a slight change in pay matched up against a more flexible work arrangement.
And, despite the negative aspects of COVID-19, the pandemic has also led to the opening up of discussions about using tech more in the healthcare industry to facilitate remote and flexible working.
If you have questions around looking for healthcare jobs and how to manage negotiations when you find the role for you, Gorilla Jobs’ consultants are happy to chat, so contact us now and let us help you find your ideal future healthcare role.
Take care of yourself & mental health!