While Singapore is entering Phase Two today, many of us are going to continue working from home to some extent.

For the past almost three months of constantly working from home, many of us would have noticed that one of the biggest day-to-day challenges of this arrangement is achieving balance. Perhaps, many of us may also feel that we lack control of our time.

Thankfully, a new research from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) reveals that there are in fact some proactive steps we can take to help us feel more in control of our time.

According to Dr Rebecca Hewett, Assistant Professor in the department of Organisation and Personnel Management: “If we want to operate at our best, human beings need to have their three basic psychological needs satisfied. The first is autonomy, which is a sense of choice and control about how you go about your day. The second is competence, a sense of achievement in your day-to-day activities. And the third is relatedness, a feeling of connection with important people in your life."

She explains that when these basic needs are satisfied, we thrive - at home and at work. But, the opposite is true when these needs are not met.

“For many of us right now, the uncertainty and lack of control in the world around us is threatening to undermine how we satisfy our basic needs,” she said.

In line with that, Hewett has come up with four ways to help craft our work and combat a perceived loss of control.

1) Do a needs audit

If you're finding things difficult, identify why. Perhaps you're not satisfying your basic psychological needs.  

Are you getting plenty of things done but not connecting with people enough? Your need for relatedness likely isn’t satisfied. Maybe you feel you don’t have any control about things that are happening around you? Then it's probably autonomy that’s lacking. Or perhaps you feel that despite your best efforts you are struggling to get anything done? If that's the case, your need for competence is the issue.

Identifying the source of your frustrations is the first step because then you know what gap you need to fill.

2) Craft your day

There are lots of ways that you can craft both your work and non-work time and changes don’t need to be big.

If you feel you’re not making any progress during your working day, taking 15 minutes out to watch a video or read some articles you find interesting could help satisfy your need for competence. Or taking time to call or video chat with a colleague about a non-work-related activity could help you to feel greater relatedness.

Crafting helps you get things done more effectively, so don't be afraid to set some time aside to do so.

3) Focus on your achievements across the whole day

Don't think of your work and non-work time separately. Instead, think about your day as a whole and celebrate small wins. For instance, if you've had a frustrating day of work, make up for it by celebrating achievements in your personal life, and vice versa. Focus on the tasks you have completed. It will give you a sense of competence.

4) Ask for help

There's nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact, one of the most effective ways to gain the resources you need to get through your day successfully is to ask for help. This could be help from your boss, partner, or other family and friends. Likewise, people are more likely to successfully craft their home life if they feel that they have autonomy.

The researchers believe work and non-work time are not separate, and we can harness energy from one to help us thrive in the other. Don’t let work be your only priority. Life is about balance. It might seem strange to mix our two worlds but this is the ‘new normal’ and change is already here.

Photo / iStock