As things stand, many of us will be working remotely for the foreseeable future.
This new way of working has shaken up the old routines that some of us have taken for granted. These routines include those that bookended the start and finish of the working day – the daily commute, a quick coffee on the way, or drinks with colleagues after work.
Remote working comes with a whole new set of challenges with separating your work life from your home life. It can be really difficult to switch off. Moving forward, it is important to create meaningful barriers between work and home.
Stress levels can quickly rise at home
Remote working overall remains a net positive. According to Slack, only 11.6% of employees say they want to return to full-time office work, while 72.2% want a hybrid remote-office model. That said, stress levels can spiral at home.
e-Presenteeism is a rising tide for home workers. Laptops and smartphones are always on, which means work is never more than an arm’s reach away. Remote workers lose the personal bonds that keep the team together and feelings of isolation can set in. Regular support from peers and management to brainstorm and solve problems is more difficult to sustain in a distanced world.
All of these factors, and more, add to the stresses of our new working lives. With this in mind, here are a few ideas to help you set your boundaries to manage home working in a healthy and balanced way.
Create personal rituals and routines
- Continue your daily bike commute – if you usually cycle into work (or walk), set aside a similar time each day to keep the routine going. You will still experience the same health benefits you did when you were commuting. (Avoid spending any commuting time you have saved with more work).
- Pack your work stuff away – make an effort to pack your work gear away each evening. The most important thing is you are drawing a firm boundary then you know at the end of the working day your home life begins.
- Take regular breaks – remember to take breaks as if you were in the office (we hope you did then too). No need to have lunch al-desko at home.
- Digital detoxes – set aside time each day for a digital detox. Take a break from screens; read a book, meditate, do some mindfulness exercises. Listen to some music.
- Get creative – Grayson Perry’s Art Club was one of the biggest (and probably unexpected) successes of the first national lockdown. A nation opened its paintbox. There are endless online art courses you can join if you are stuck for inspiration.
- Pamper yourself – destressing can be as simple as putting time aside to pamper yourself, like having a relaxing bath and changing your clothes when you’ve finished work.
Finally… take the pressure off yourself
You might want to learn Mandarin, but it doesn’t have to be now. You might just want to switch off and watch your favourite boxsets. That’s fine too. The important thing is to use a holistic approach to looking after your well-being, being alert to increasing stress levels, and not being overly present when you’re working from home. We hope you find these tips helpful.