Coming in to a new year, long term home working will remain the norm for many. While in 2020, the novelty of staying in your pyjamas may have sustained you, the reality confronting most is the difficulty of maintaining a proper balance between home and working life. At CareerWise, we are well aware of the importance of a nurturing home life in making your career goals possible. So here are our top tips on how to switch off when working from home, and how to get that work – life balance just right.
No-one can work to their full potential all the time. Any employer would prefer high quality contributions during agreed working hours, than substandard work being constantly churned out. Neglecting important areas of your life outside work, such as sleep and nutrition will only negatively impact your work in the long run.
Quality family time is important. If you are always in work mode, they will feel shut out of your life.
Work is just one area of your life. If it comes to dominate, other key parts of your life, such as your sense of health and wellbeing, will be suffering.
If you live with other working people, try and make sure that your rest and leisure time corresponds. That way, they won’t be competing for your attention; and when they stop to relax, it will be easier for you to do the same.
Just because you are working from home, doesn’t mean you are available 24/7. Keep regular hours, making sure you are at your desk promptly in the morning – but also clock off when you usually would in the evening. Clear, regular habits will build a schedule that will make it much easier to define if you are in work mode or if it’s time to relax.
Boundaries also apply to which spaces you use for working in. Even if you don’t have a lot of room to spare, try and delineate your working area clearly from your living spaces. Don’t allow yourself to work from your bed, even if it feels tempting. Psychologically, this will significantly blur the boundary between working and relaxing, and could end up impacting your sleep. A home office is a fantastic asset, but if you don’t have the space, try and carve out a distinct working area, such as a small table in the corner of your living room, that will not be used for any other purpose. When you stop work, clear away working papers and job related paraphernalia so that you are not distracted by worries about work while you are relaxing.
For many, working from home involves a level of guilt surrounding the many small perks of the situation. But you will be far more productive, and useful to your employer, if you still take breaks. Enjoy your lunch hour – being able to eat a proper meal in your own kitchen will set you up for a truly efficient afternoon at your desk. Likewise, using the time to exercise, do yoga or meditate will improve the quality of your work, as well as your mood.
Smart phones have brought us 24 hour access to the working world. But endless scrolling often leads to lack of focus and a sense of constant distraction that is not useful either in your home or work life. Consciously scheduling time periods when phones and laptops will be turned off can be hugely beneficial. Try and coordinate these with the other people in your household. Then you can relax together – returning to work feeling genuinely recharged.
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