How To Disconnect When Working Remotely
Many people have found that it is becoming increasingly difficult to disconnect when working remotely. Separating our work and home lives has never been more difficult than over the past year, with so many of us working from home. It’s too easy to pick up bad habits and keep working way past the end of our working day, or to skip our lunch break.
Not taking time for ourselves to disconnect can lead to increased stress, and even burnout. You may start to feel like your mind is overloaded, or like you can’t focus anymore and your motivation is low. You might even have trouble sleeping!
We’ve put together a guide of easy things you can do to make sure you can disconnect when working remotely, and you’re truly allowing yourself time to rest and relax.
Set yourself a ‘Work Day’
Decide what your working hours are, and stick to them best you can. It’s all too tempting to just reply to that one Slack message, or to quickly check your emails at 10pm when you’re sitting on the sofa, but doing this means you’re never truly disconnected. These hours don’t necessarily need to be a strict 9-5 – and you can even set ‘Non work’ hours instead, for example between 8pm and 8am you’re totally unavailable for work. Either way, make sure you’re getting into a set work routine.
Work from a dedicated space
The ideal situation is of course to have your own home office, but this obviously isn’t a possibility for everyone! Even if you don’t have a designated room to work in, try to at least carve out a dedicated workspace. Perhaps a certain spot in the house that you can walk away from at the end of the working day. If this isn’t possible either, at least try to put away all your work equipment at the end of each day – out of sight, out of mind!
Take your breaks
When we’re at the office, we’re much more likely to take our lunch breaks, perhaps go to the canteen or have lunch with colleagues. When working remotely, it’s much easier to just ‘forget’ and keep working, or to grab a sandwich from the kitchen. However, it’s important to try to take a break from your work at lunch most days, maybe sit in a different room and relax. As well as giving you a break, it can also help hugely improve your focus for the afternoon.
Create an ‘End of day’ routine
It can be something as simple as closing your laptop and making yourself a cup of tea (or pouring a glass of wine on a Friday!), but try to have a little ritual that you do at the end of each day to mark the end of work and the beginning of your evening. You could even go for a walk, clear your head and get ready to relax for the evening!
Take Microbreaks during the day
Breaks are essential to help you keep focus or get rid of a mental block. We naturally take short breaks in an office environment, for example heading over to chat to a colleague or making a coffee, but when working from home we have to make a conscious choice to move. Whether it’s grabbing a cup of coffee from the kitchen or going for a quick walk, try to get away from your desk several times a day.
Make it difficult to restart work
There’s always a temptation to just check our emails quickly, or send a message to a colleague outside of work hours, but making it difficult to do those tasks outside of the ‘Work Day’ we mentioned in point one can reduce the temptation. Turn your work phone and laptop off, set Slack notifications to ‘Do not disturb’, whatever it takes to help you get out of the habit of being available 24/7!
Working remotely has plenty of advantages, and can give us more time at home, this time is useless if all we’re doing is working.
So, whatever tactics you choose, making sure to disconnect when working remotely is essential to reducing stress levels and protecting your mental health.