Working from home has been a blessing for many thanks to the increased flexibility and slower pace of life it offers. However, working in the same place you cook your dinner and binge your favourite Netflix series can blur the line between work and home life, making it difficult to switch off when the clock hits 5pm. So here are my favourite tips to help you wind down
Create a Separate Work Environment
Whilst it’s not always possible, you’ll manage to separate home and work life better if you can allocate a specific place in your home as your workstation. If you’re creating monthly reports at the kitchen table, it’s likely that you’ll be easily distracted.
To create the most productive work environment, find an area that’s out of the way, and isn’t within reach of the TV remote or the biscuit jar. If you can find somewhere with a good amount of natural sunlight, that will help too, because natural light improves our mood and helps us to focus.
If you’re happier and less distracted, you’re on track to be productive during the day, making you more likely to clock off on time. If you can shut your workspace down, it’s easier to leave work behind as you head into your evening.
Dress for Your Tasks
You wouldn’t wear your pyjamas to a meeting in the office, so it’s probably best to avoid adopting those habits when you’re working from home. When we’re in our PJs, our brain tells our body that it’s time to chill out and relax. This isn’t the attitude you need during the working day.
So, make sure you’re getting changed out of your comfy pyjamas ready for your start time in the morning. You probably don’t need to go full pinsuit, but dressing in clothes that you wouldn’t typically relax in will help to focus your mind during the day.
The benefits of this come later in the day, when you’re trying to switch off from work. When the end of your workday arrives, you can swap the jeans for loungewear, and pull on your favourite fluffy socks. By creating a physical change with your outfit, you’ll experience a mental shift too. This shift in attire will inform the brain to switch from work mode to relaxation mode, allowing you to enjoy your free time in the evening.
Make Social Plans
Whilst working at home can be extremely beneficial for our work/life balance, it does remove some of the natural social interactions that we get from the office environment. As a result, it’s critical that we’re being active about our social plans, whether they’re group trips to the cinema or a quick Zoom chat after work.
Socialising is a great way to switch off after work, as you’ll engage your brain in different conversations and alternative communication strategies than you would in the office. Plus, if you have plans with your friends at 5:30pm, you can’t really work past 5pm.
Socialising has been sadly lacking over the last few months, make sure that as soon as it is safe where you are, you get back into the habit of it, as it is so important for wellbeing. A someone who has worked full time at home for the last 18 years, this is probably the point that I would stress the most.
So there you have it – three simple strategies that you can easily implement into your weekly routine to ensure your work life doesn’t start to dominate your home environment.
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