First of all, doing a digital map over my online activity was somewhat of a wake-up because I never consider myself as someone who is very active online, but as the four squares of the map started to fill up with lots and lots of online activities, both in residential and visitors mode, as a professional and a civilian, I had to reconsider my previous perception (White 2011). I have Instagram, Whatsapp, Linkedin, e-mail, a blog, online shopping, web pages connected to my institution, participation in pod casts and the list goes on. For some reason I have previously thought about online activities as posting stuff on Facebook and Twitter, for which I am not active at all.  

Secondly, it also got me thinking about my own online boundaries and barriers. I have a very clear cut line between professional online activities and personal online activities. For instance, I have a private Instagram account which is only visible to closest friends and family. Here I would never share things related to my work, like a paper I published. Such information I would instead post on my Linkedin page, were I in turn never would think about posting something personal. I have a separate e-mail for work and one for personal use which I don’t like to mix up. This reflects a strong voice constantly heard in my head (with a very negative tone) saying “who would be interested in reading/knowing about this!!?”. Concluding that, I don’t think that my family would be really interested to read my published papers (it is a bit far from their reality) and I don’t think that my co-worker goes on Linkedin to hear about my latest physical activity or my baby’s new tooth. 

Interestingly, the way I act online is in complete contrast to my everyday life for the past six months where I work from home, sometimes with not-so-sick kids around. I alternate my day between doing a puzzle with a three-year-old, analyzing some field data, playing a board game and writing e-mails. Recently, I simultaneously was comforting a screaming baby, discussing the latest lab results with a PhD-student on the phone and helped my oldest with her technical problems with a tablet. No boundaries there! According to numerous studies such as Kadir et al 2020 and Fontinha et al 2019, this is not an advisable way to create a good work-life balance. However during these past six months the game plan has changed and some concepts may need re-evaluation in a post-pandemic perspective.

David S. White and Alison Le Cornu (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement, First Monday, vol 16, num 9 – 5

Fontinha, R., Easton, S., and Van Laar, D. (2019). Overtime and quality of working life in academics and nonacademics: The role of perceived work-life balance. International Journal of Stress Management, 26(2), 173–183 

A Abdul Kadir and F Ismail, (2020). The role of job performance towards flexible working hour and work life; Balance among women academician, Journal of critical reviews, 2020, vol 7, issue 04

Balancing personal and professional activities On-line and In-life