Keeping the balance: Tips for separating work and home life during lockdown
Now almost a year into mass remote working, we explore how we can better take care of ourselves during lockdown
With many of us now having worked remotely since March 2020, a third of us are already working more hours than our usual working day as a result of the pandemic. In a winter lockdown we now have less options for other activities at our disposal due to dark nights and restrictions, meaning that it may feel even harder to stick to a healthy number of hours and switch off from work. So, how can we keep the balance when it feels like our living and work environments are now blended into one?
Here are tips from Grayce Analyst, Sian Manfield to help keep your work and home life separate when working from home during lockdown.
Set boundaries and stick to them
Decide on your working hours and be clear on them with others. It’s very easy to make a habit of continuously starting earlier, finishing later, or joining onto calls during your lunch break. It can feel like we are joining a lot more meetings to make up for the lack of in-person interaction near the break areas in the office, so challenge back if you think that a call isn’t 100% necessary for you to be attending.
If you usually had time in your day for commuting to and from the office, then set that time aside to do something else such as making and enjoying a substantial breakfast.
Although it's easier said than done, make sure you don't skip your lunch break. Take at least half an hour and take it away from your workstation, even better if you can get outside for a small walk and a change of scenery to allow you to mentally recharge before coming back to afternoon meetings.
If we aren't careful, it's easy to still continue thinking about work long after the working day has ended. So, make a conscious effort to disconnect from work. A good tip is to stop syncing your work emails to your personal phone, removing the temptation to check them at night.
Dress for success
Most of us know that we're not going back into the office anytime soon, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't get dressed for success. Wearing something you feel confident in that you don't wear during your down time helps to mentally shift into a working headspace and prepares you for a productive day.
‘Busy’ doesn’t equal ‘productive’
In an office environment, you have more opportunity to take a break by walking somewhere to go and grab a coffee when someone invites you, whereas in your home it needs to be more of a conscious effort.
Working from home does bring much more of a challenge to keep yourself motivated to work through that to-do list of yours. So, if you find that you have been trying to write the start line of an email about 5 times, then go and have a guilt-free brew or glass of water for 10 minutes on the sofa to recharge.
Stay socially connected to your co-workers
We mentioned setting your own boundaries, but you also need to respect those of your colleagues. If you’re trying to have a call where your cat decides to roam across your laptop, or their little one wants to scream and throw lego pieces at them, take a step back and laugh about it. Life happens!
74% of workers aged 18-38 are said to be struggling with the isolation that comes with remote working, so make a conscious effort to stay connected with your colleagues outside of a work capacity too by organising virtual socials, for example.
Create a workstation
Finally, try your best to create a designated space for working from home, and the more separate from your relaxation spaces the better. It's worth investing in a desk and chair to protect your posture and equipment such as a mouse and second desktop screen to combat repetitive strain.
The transition to long-term remote working has been tough for many of us. So, we hope these tips help you to take better care of yourself and your colleagues whilst working from home during lockdown.