6 tips to help you switch off when working from home
Although for many of the Fish4jobs audience there is still no end in sight for remote working, some of us continue to struggle to clock off at the end of the day. Here’s 6 tips to help you learn how to switch off when working from home.
Dressing casually every day, dodging the daily commute, saving money: remote working does come with some brilliant benefits. However, if you’re one of the 72% of our audience currently working from home due to the Coronavirus lockdown, you may have already realised that maintaining a healthy work/life balance can be difficult when the line between the personal and professional has become more blurred than ever.
With fear of redundancy causing some individuals to work longer hours than usual and a perceived expectation to always be available, many UK professionals are struggling to switch off at the end of the day and risk suffering from burnout - a condition of stress-induced physical, emotional and mental exhaustion.
As restrictions continue to be reimposed and working from home looks set to stay, it’s essential to learn how to switch your work brain on and off at the right times. If you find yourself doing “just one more thing” when you should have stopped working already, checking emails in bed or worrying about work when you’re trying to relax, these 6 tips can help you to switch off when working from home.
Not everyone has a dedicated office in their home, so many remote workers are having to get creative with their workspace setups. If you have space for a desk in the corner then that’s great, but if you have to work at the dining table you can help yourself to switch off by packing away all your work equipment and tech at the end of the day. You need to create physical, spatial boundaries that keep work and rest spaces as separated as possible. If you can, avoid working in your bedroom, on your sofa or any other place that you associate with resting and relaxing.
Set a routine and stick to it
If you haven’t already got into a daily working from home routine, it’s not too late to get into one and stick to it. Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast and start work at the same time every day and you’re more likely to slow down and wrap up on time, meaning you’ll be able to switch off and spend your evening however you like without thinking about tomorrow’s meeting.
Take regular breaks
Regular breaks throughout the day should be part of your routine. Think about it: you wouldn’t sit at your desk in the workplace all day without getting up to stretch your legs or make tea, so why should this be any different at home? For every hour or two of work that you do, take a 10-15 minute breather. Even though Autumn is drawing in, we still recommend getting outside at lunchtime as a short walk away from the work environment can help you to relax and return invigorated.
Switch off - literally
At the end of the day, physically switch off your computer or laptop. If you have an office at home, leave your work equipment there overnight. If not, pack all your work things away until tomorrow. You’re much less likely to read emails or check how a project is coming along out of hours if your computer isn’t switched on and in front of you. Likewise, if you have a work phone then turn it off overnight, or if you have work apps on your personal mobile, turn off notifications outside of working hours.
Make a plan for tomorrow
Spend the last few minutes of your day planning your top priorities and identifying your key work for tomorrow. By acknowledging your outstanding tasks and their importance, you’ll be sure that nothing has been forgotten about, meaning you can spend your evening relaxing and unwinding.
Schedule an activity after work
In the workplace, things like saying goodbye to colleagues and running for the earlier train help to signal to your brain that the working day is over. At home these mental signposts are erased, making it all too easy to work much later than required. To let your mind and body know that work is over, try having something scheduled each evening. Going for a walk, calling a friend or playing a board game with your family are just a few examples of activities you could plan in to help you unplug. By committing to plans - especially ones where others need you to show up - you’re much more likely to switch off successfully and finish work on time.