Finnish tips for finding the perfect work-life balance while working from home

Back in 2019, Helsinki was named the number one city for work-life balance. The decision was based on 20 different factors in Finnish life, such as work intensity, society in general and city livability.

Unsurprisingly, Helsinki also aced the happiness test by scoring a perfect 100. But 2019 was a different time, and COVID 19 has changed our working lives drastically. Today, teleworking is the norm. In the UK, for example, a whopping 46 % work from home. 86% of them do so because of the pandemic.

Still, it seems the Finnish still have a few things to teach us about finding a perfect work-life balance, even when many of them haven't seen their office in months. At present, an estimated 1 million Finns are working from home, and they've seemed to adjust to their new situation rather well. The Finnish workforce has been noted as one of the most COVID-19 resilient workforces in the world.

Meanwhile, mental health charities in many other countries have had to publish advice on how to cope with the challenges of working from home.

Of course, subjects like this are complex. If you're fed up with being stuck in the house, that's ok! We're all just waiting for life to get back to normal, so let's support each other as best we can.

But if you're alright about the idea of homeworking, and are looking for some handy tips, here are a few good ones from Finland.

1. Define your work time

Balancing family and work life is easier in Finland than in many other countries. Even before so many Finns began working from home, working hours were flexible to enable more opportunities to spend time with loved ones. We mustn't forget that the importance of work-life balance isn't reduced just because we're working from home. Yet many workers around the world report putting in more hours since COVID. If you're one of these people, remember to switch off when your working day ends. If your working day ends at 5 pm, then 5 pm is when you should stop working.

2. Take holidays

Just because you're working from home, that doesn't mean you have an easy experience. In fact, many people are getting more stressed. Travel restrictions may mean that we can't spend our holidays in a foreign land, but holiday days are worth taking to separate home from work for a while. When this is all over, the last thing you want is to attribute your comfy sofa or favourite chair to your typical 9 to 5. Some doctors even say taking annual leave while working from home is essential for our mental health.

3. Get some exercise

In the old days, many of us got exercise on our daily commute to work. Many people in cities like Helsinki cycle or walk to work, and a whopping 80% of Finns exercise regularly. But with the commute now gone, we have to find other ways to keep fit. A good way to do this is by creating a "commute" before and after work. If it takes you twenty minutes to walk to the train station, get your twenty minutes of exercise by walking around the local area. Or why not buy some exercise equipment secondhand. Buying secondhand goods has always been in vogue in Finland. Today, Finns even visit giant secondhand supermarkets. So take a tip from the Finns, buy a secondhand treadmill and get those legs moving. You'll be surprised how quick people want to get rid of gym equipment.

4. Take a walk in nature

In Finland, there's a whopping 4,500 trees for every one person. It's a little wonder Finns are famously happy, as research shows spending just 15 minutes amongst trees makes us chirpy, more energetic and less stressed. So if you're getting a touch of cabin fever while working from home, go for a woodland ramble and melt away the stress.

5. Drink good coffee

Finns are officially the world's biggest coffee drinkers and chug down a few cups on any given workday to keep themselves perky. So, If you love coffee, why not do a Facetime meeting with your colleagues and get jolly with java like old times. Even if you drink it alone, you'll find your concentration improves and your pandemic blues easing for a while.

Whether you love or loathe working from home, it's evident that Finns tend to get the whole work-life balance thing right in every situation. So why not give it a go.

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