Our recent working from home survey found that 14% of our audience are struggling to work and live in the same place, while another 14% have been taking fewer breaks during the day. For many of us, working remotely has caused a major disruption to our daily routines, so we’re struggling to get a normal structure back to our working days, resulting in us taking fewer breaks and working longer hours.
Now we’ve entered the second national lockdown and it’s looking likely that remote working will be more long-term than anticipated, it’s vital to learn how to switch off when working remotely for your mental wellbeing and to avoid burning out. GAAPweb has come up with six steps to help you understand how to switch off when working from home.
Unplug and turn off
Our first tip is to literally turn off your laptop or computer at the end of the day. By physically unplugging or switching off your device, you’re making it more difficult for yourself to pop back to your computer whenever you have an idea or thought about work. Yes, this means your work phone too. If you don’t have a dedicated work phone, silence or turn off your email notifications until the next day to prevent any temptation.
Write a to do list for the next day
Writing a to do list is a really nice way to visually understand what the next day will hold. It can be difficult to both physically and mentally switch off when you’ve left something unfinished, so writing it down on your to do list will help reassure you that this outstanding task will be dealt with tomorrow. We recommend treating this as a winding down exercise - writing your to do list around 10 minutes before you turn off your computer for the end of the day will help you to unconsciously start to relax and transition into home mode.
Separate your living and working space
Having a separate work area is pivotal to creating boundaries between your professional and home lives. Try working in a room that you do not tend to spend much time in during the evening. By doing so, you will make yourself have to physically move to a different space at the end of the day, helping you transition between home and work mode. If it’s not possible to have a completely separate work area, then try creating a dedicated work space. Set up a desk in the corner of the room or create a formal set up at your kitchen table.
If working in the same room that you relax in, make sure you put everything away at the end of the day so your laptop, notebook and other work items are not visible in the evening. Removing all visual reminders of work will allow you to relax and unwind better at the end of the day.
Create a routine
Establishing a routine before lockdown was relatively easy as most of us had set start and finish times, caught a specific train or bus in the morning and maybe even had a specific time for lunch everyday. Now that our days are more flexible it’s easy to lose your daily routine.
Try starting and finishing your day at the same time everyday. This will help you understand when it’s time to stop in the evening. Similarly, schedule time for lunch everyday and make sure you stick to it. You may need to be flexible on timings depending on your calendar that day but ensuring you’ve scheduled lunch into your daily routine is the best way to ensure you’re taking a break during the day.
One of the benefits of working from home is no longer having a commute, meaning we get much more time in the morning before work. It’s so tempting to use this extra time to lie in and jump online literally 5 minutes before we’re due to start work. However, getting up, having a shower, getting dressed for the day and having breakfast before starting work will make you feel a lot more energised and ready to get stuck into work. Working great habits like this into your routine will make you more likely to stick to it, helping you to feel more productive everyday.
Plan your evening
With no commute, we’re now finding that we have more time in the evenings. Although in theory this is great, if you don’t have anything planned for after work, this long evening ahead of you can seem a bit daunting and actually can incentivise you to carry on working for longer. By creating plans in the evening, you’re giving yourself a reason to switch off at the end of the day, not to mention something to look forward to after work.
With lockdown measures back in place until December it’s more difficult to do this, but why not arrange a zoom call with a friend or go out for a walk before dinner? Even something as mundane as planning the household chores that need doing can help you switch off at the end of the day.
Get fresh air
Our last tip is to get some fresh air during the day. Being cooped up inside all day can drain our energy and make us feel less productive. Now we’re in November it’s completely dark outside by the time most of us finish work, so why not take 15 minutes at lunch time to stretch your legs. Having a change of scenery can help you reset so when you get back to your desk you have a fresh perspective and more energy to focus on completing your afternoon to-do list.
If you have any suggestions for how to switch off when working from home then please get in touch on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter to share your ideas with us.