Engineers have always been in-demand professionals because of the many possibilities they can unravel. We have engineers to thank for the rise of infrastructures, apps, and other technological advancements. However, being in demand comes at a cost, such as extended work hours and a lack of personal time. So if you often feel that you’re not achieving work/life balance as an engineer, you’re not alone in experiencing this.
However, it’s still possible to be at your most productive inside your workspaces and spend quality time off work freely. A sound work/life balance for engineers means you’re fulfilled both in and out of the office, and you know the boundaries between being an engineer on duty and off duty. Take a look at how this can be achieved.
Break down your goals into smaller short-term milestones.
It’s no secret that engineers are often part of grand projects that sometimes could take years to complete. On the other hand, an engineer can be asked to work on multiple tasks at once, especially in a workplace highly dependent on technology. In the middle of all these responsibilities, engineers may feel overwhelmed. Such negative feelings may snowball into anxiety and even burnout. But as an engineer, you can help yourself stay in perspective and choose to count victories instead of hurdles.
Try to identify minor goals within your projects. These goals may not necessarily mean something to your supervisor or coworkers. However, putting a pin on multiple small tasks not only helps you map your progress but also acts as a checklist of what aspects of a project you have to prioritize.
Also, these short-term milestones will give you an idea of when to take a break, relax, and recollect. At the end of the day, you can look at your list of accomplishments, and go home with a kindled feeling of accomplishment, even if the day was excruciatingly tiresome. Celebrating small wins leads to a positive outlook on how to tackle your projects as they come.
Lobby a four-day workweek to your supervisor.
There has been a clear shift into a four-day workweek among companies, as seen on Google Trends. In fact, a good number of organizations across the globe have adapted to the 32-hour workweek, which proves effective for software engineers, data analysts, marketing executives, and product managers.1
For engineers, an additional day to rest and recharge will be helpful to stock up again on creativity, gain more inspiration, and cut back on the fast pace of the operations floor. Yes, it is worth recognizing that suggesting a four-day workweek to your boss may be a rather bold imposition, but there is nothing to lose in simply discussing its benefits.
While it’s worth arguing that an extended weekend will bode well for work/life balance for engineers, be clear that your productivity will not diminish. Take a look at your weekly responsibilities, then recalibrate strategies to show your supervisors that you can achieve week-long goals in just four days.
Furthermore, a four-day workweek does not mean eight hours less office time. Some companies follow a 10-hour office day to complete the 40-hour workweek. In other words, the company still gets what they’re paying you for as their engineer.
Inquire if a WFH arrangement is possible.
While the pandemic has pushed institutions to create a work-from-home structure, freelancers have been using this arrangement even before COVID19 wreaked havoc. Coincidentally, a lot of these freelancers are engineers. Software engineers, who rely on the balance of technical and creative thinking, may find better inspiration in their own homes than in an office’s too formal atmosphere.
Like with the four-day work week, there’s no loss in simply asking about it. You can argue that you have been at your most productive when you worked from home, then back that claim with numbers showing how much you’ve accomplished in the WFH setup.
With COVID cases waning in number, it’s been noticeable that companies are gearing up to go back to the office, but another argument you can point out is that there are organizations who would like to make WFH a norm. For example, Mark Zuckerberg has considered letting Facebook employees work in the office 50% of the time.2 Yes, a WFH-office hybrid setup can also work for you and your company.
Be more proactive in planning out your off-office hours.
Are you the type of person who still thinks of work even after you’ve clocked out? This is inevitable, especially for those who really are passionate about what they do. Conversely, the danger here is that you can’t get real rest if you let thoughts about your engineering tasks flood your mind, even on a Saturday. It pays to have more ownership on time that’s truly yours.
Here are just a few ideas on how you can make your weekend or holidays more worthwhile and truly achieve work/life balance for engineers
- Take your vacation leaves. Sure, some institutions will convert unused vacation leaves into pay. However, if you refuse to go on a holiday, you deprive yourself of the actual time the company has set for you to enjoy yourself. Why not make it a goal to take a vacation leave once a month? Your vacation need not be in a fancy location like a beach or hotel. A peaceful day at home with some Netflix and chill will do.
- Pursue a hobby. Taking an interest in something unrelated to your engineering responsibilities helps you take your mind off work. Additionally, letting your brain work its wonders on another topic gives it a good exercise, which will help your mind break off from the stagnation it may be experiencing from too much troubleshooting in the office. A hobby also gives you a reason to put the engineering tools down at exactly 5 PM and look forward to honing a new skill.
- Get a side project. Yes, we just talked about not doing work stuff outside the office. But a side project can be viewed as a means to practice your talents and skills in a new environment, engineering-related or not, and be paid for it, too. Be careful, though, that the side project you will choose is something you will have fun with and not put any more pressure on you on top of your engineering role. Also, ask human resources if there are policies on getting work outside of your contract, as some companies are strict with that.
LET AGILE WPS HELP KICKSTART YOUR WORK/LIFE BALANCE.
After everything has been said and done, work/life balance for engineers starts with having the right set of responsibilities and being with the right company. For engineers like yourself in search of the best institution to work with, Agile WPS can be your ticket to a fulfilling career.
With partnerships with various small, mid, and large businesses across various engineering fields, Agile WPS is equipped with the right tools and strategies to match you with the best job opportunities. Specialized recruiters from Agile WPS are here to recommend only the finest companies within the engineering industry. Rest assured that you will land that job to help you hit the ground running towards success.
Achieve a work/life balance through the right career decisions. Contact Agile WPS today.