Here in the south east, 49% of those of us in employment had to make the shift to working from home, and many have welcomed the change and may be reluctant to return to old working patterns. Homeworking has helped us stay safe during the pandemic, as well as saving money and providing more free time. However, one of the negative effects is that the lines between work and personal life have become blurred.
So, what can you do to switch off from work if you’re working from home?
Create a dedicated workspace
If you have the space in your home, an office can help to create boundaries. At the end of the day, you’re able to shut the door and step away from work.
However, if a home office is out of the question, creating a dedicated space where you always work from can make the transition to a work mindset easier by creating a routine. Having everything you need throughout the working day close to hand can minimise distractions and procrastination too.
Give yourself some time to switch off
One of the challenges of working from home is that you don’t get the downtime between work and personal life that you normally would. Perhaps you used to enjoy reading a book on your commute or played your favourite music on the drive home. These little routines can help you split the day up and transition from work to home mode. So instead why not try a 10-minute activity at the start and end of each working day such as, going for a quick walk, listening to an audiobook, or meditating.
Set normal working hours
One of the benefits of working from home is that your working hours can become more flexible. However, creating a routine can help you separate work and personal life. Set out what your normal working hours will be and stick to them. It’s important that your working hours are well communicated too. Make sure colleagues and clients understand when they’ll be able to get in touch with you and when they can expect a delay in responses. It can help limit miscommunication and ensure collaborative tasks stay on track.
Establish boundaries between work and home
Setting clear boundaries between work and home can be difficult if your home has become your workspace too. But setting boundaries can help create a clear distinction. That means when you finish work, you focus on your personal life and give it your full attention, whether that’s meeting up with friends, pursuing a hobby, or simply relaxing with family.
It’s a process that should go the other way too. Taking time out of your working day to do household chores can blur the lines and you may feel like you need to catch up outside of working hours as a result. Where possible, try to keep home tasks to set times of the day.
Turn off work technology
At the end of the working day, turn off the technology. That includes checking emails on your phone or personal computer. It can be a difficult habit to get into at first, especially if you’re used to keeping up to date with what’s happening. However, even checking your emails for a few minutes can pull you back into work mode and mean that projects or other tasks are on your mind for the rest of the evening.
Contributed by Janette Whitney ACIB MCMI of Multi Award Winning Business Consultants, Janette Whitney & Associates. Janette provides practical strategic advice to businesses from start-ups to £10m turnover companies. Professionally qualified with 40 yrs. business experience and a proven track record of satisfied clients, she helps businesses to grow profitably and achieve their goals. Janette is also an award-winning business author, and media columnist.