5 practical and easy ways to switch off when working from home

Covid dramatically changed the way we approach work, with nearly half of all people switching from the office to home working in 2020.

Now, with many employers seeing home working as a viable option moving forward, it’s likely that home workers will continue as they are, away from the office.

However, it’s still important to keep some distance between home and work life. Otherwise, you may end up feeling like you’re living at work, rather than working from home.

These five tips can help you switch off when working from home.

1. Define your workspace

One of the most difficult parts of creating a positive work-life balance is having a defined workspace.

Ideally, you’d have a specific room or desk to work at that you only associate with work. If this isn’t possible and you have to work at your dining table, try to pack away your laptop when you’re finished working.

It may seem like a pain to put everything away each evening, but it’s important to have that separation.

Make sure you don’t work in bed either, as that could lead to you picking up your laptop and working at any hour of the day.

2. Create a routine – and stick to it!

A routine can transform your home working, giving you a set start and finish time that demarcates work from play.

Having a set period for work boosts productivity: if you know you have to get something done in a certain amount of time, you’re far more likely to do it.

Think of finishing home working as you would leaving the office – you wouldn’t pop back to send a few more emails or finish a few more tasks once you’re home.

3. Switch off your computer and work phone

As part of stopping yourself from continuing work in your free time at home, make sure you turn off your computer and work phone at the end of the day.

This prevents colleagues and clients from contacting you in the evenings, which they wouldn’t be able to do if you were in the office. 

Checking emails is a constant temptation, so turn off notifications and don’t open the app. If you can’t help looking just to know what’s in them, try just reading emails, marking them as “unread”, and then replying first thing in the morning.

4. Have a warm shower or bath

It may sound simple but washing the day off and changing your clothes is a great way to separate home life from your workday.

A soothing bath or shower is a well-known way to destress and put the day behind you. Once it’s part of your regular routine, you’ll start to associate the feeling with unwinding and forgetting about work.

5. Have an activity lined up for after work

Whether it’s to go for a walk or a run, head to the pub with a friend for a socially distanced pint, or just watch something on Netflix while slumped on the sofa, having an activity for after work ensures your mind is occupied with something else.

By having something else to look forward to, you can take your mind off the work you’ve done and have something else to focus your thoughts on.

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