If you are not used to working from home, it can be difficult to get into a routine. For many of us, that means finding the ideal balance between home and working life. So, if you are finding it difficult to switch off from work when working remotely, you’re not alone.
In this guide, we’ll take you through some of the reasons why you might be finding it hard to disconnect and some tips to help you do so. Whether you are getting distracted with other sites on your computer, like finding it hard to stop checking your work emails for the night, you’ll find everything you need to know here.
1. You Are Distracted By Other, Non-Work Tasks
It’s not easy to focus on work when you can see housework mounting up around you. But, just think – if you were away at the office, you wouldn’t be able to stop to go and empty the dishwasher or put another load of laundry on.
These distractions can, in turn, make it more difficult to switch off from work at the end of the day. You might find you have been less productive throughout your working hours as you have been getting up more often to see to household tasks.
Similarly, you might find other members of the household to be distracting when you are trying to concentrate on work. This can be harmful to your relationships, as you might not be able to give your partner or children the attention they deserve at the end of your working hours if you have tasks to catch up on in the evening as a result of distractions throughout the day.
2. You Don’t Have Boundaries and Downtime
It can be difficult to separate work and leisure time when working remotely, and this is a big reason why disconnecting in the evenings and at the weekend can be difficult. Make it clear to your boss and co-workers that you won’t be available outside of your usual working hours.
To help with this, set up scheduled downtime on your work laptop and phone. Switch off notifications when you are finished working for the day and don’t be tempted to check your work email or Slack after hours. Having ‘one last check’ is an easy way to get caught up in more work – you need to set aside time to relax away from work, just as you would if working in the office.
3. You Don’t Have a Dedicated Working Space
This is another big factor in making it difficult for remote workers to switch off for the night. If you work at the dining table where you also eat dinner or play games with your family, there’s no boundary between work and leisure time. That’s why setting aside a dedicated home working space is so important.
If you are lucky enough to have a home office, this is the perfect place to work, free from distractions. However, many of us have suddenly had to work remotely and don’t have the luxury of a spare room or home office to work in. If this is the case, you can take some simple steps to ensure your space feels more like work and less like the place you relax at night.
It can help if you have an ergonomic chair and a suitable desk, rather than sitting on your bed or sofa. Also, make sure you have access to suitable lighting to avoid straining your eyes – natural light is great for boosting your emotional well-being, too. If you don’t have your own room to work in, you might find noises from other members of the family to be distracting. It can help to invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones so you can focus on your work or talk to co-workers free from distraction.
4. Your Downtime Involves Screens
If you have to look at a screen all day during working hours, it can help you switch off if you find leisure activities that don’t involve screen time. While we all enjoy watching TV or scrolling through social media at the end of the day, it’s not always the best way to unwind.
To really detach from work after a busy day, it’s a better idea to get some fresh air – even just a short walk around the block will help. If you use your phone for your leisure time instead, it can be all too tempting to keep checking on work-related messages, making it impossible to wind down.
It is also a lot easier to switch off from work if you do something relaxing in the evening – that doesn’t mean watching TV or checking your work emails again! Instead, try meditating, reading, or simply spending some time alone at the end of the day to recharge your batteries.