Remote work is not a new trend, but many employees are forced to adapt as companies face new challenges and crises.
Working a remote schedule for lengthy periods is significantly different from taking an occasional WFH-day. Our capacity to mentally disconnect deteriorates as we try to adjust, but it is far more essential.
The ability to tune out the noise of work, social media, and the 24-hour cycle is a skill that employees need to master. Trying to recenter yourself is not a simple walk-in-the-park. The whole world is still trying to learn and figuring out how to make this setup work. And one of the challenges highlighted by remote workers is to unplug after work effectively.
Why is disconnecting from work essential in remote workers?
The ability to disconnect from your job at home allows your brain time to recharge and perform at its best. Unplugging helps counteract the effects of stress, which can be harmful to your health and productivity if left unchecked.
So, here are seven effective ways to disconnect when you are working from home.
1. Redefine your workspace
It is easy to lose track of time when you are working from home. Your office no longer has four walls that define it as a distinct space, which means boundaries can become blurred. The exchange of work and personal life becomes more natural if you do not create new spaces to separate them apart.
Take time to define your space. Make sure you have an office with a door that closes. Designate this as your workspace, and do not allow yourself to engage in activities other than what is necessary.
Leave your “office” and engage in your personal space at the end of the working day. Make it distinct from your work area, and do not allow yourself to engage in office-related activities there.
2. Take mental breaks
It is easy to think of the relationship between work and home as a black-and-white one where you are either working or on break. But taking a moment to catch up on social media and work email is enough to deplete your energy.
The key here is taking breaks, not working through them. Take a walk outside or do something that you enjoy away from the computer for five to fifteen minutes during your working day. This will help to eliminate feelings of being overwhelmed if you are working on a challenging task.
3. Eliminate distractions
When you work from home, it is easy to think that you can multitask or engage in multiple activities at once. But this makes the time slip by without you even realizing it, which means that very little gets done.
Even if you are not working, you should avoid distractions. Make sure that your mobile device is out of reach, and do not allow yourself to engage in other activities simultaneously as working.
To keep your attention focused and ensure that you prioritize your work, make a schedule and stick to it. Set aside a specific area in your house for working hours.
By doing this, you’ve established a physical and psychological barrier between yourself and the rest of your house. It will allow you to physically distance yourself from the hundreds of other distractions that may come into your home throughout the day.
4. Maximize productive hours
Remote work affords us greater freedom over when we work, but this also means that there is no set working schedule. As a result, we try to do everything at once, but this makes us feel overwhelmed and runs the risk of lowering efficiency.
Remote workers must maximize their productive hours to get their work done within a set timeframe without distractions or interruptions.
Try to only accept work during your most productive times of the day. To choose when you work, assess your energy levels throughout the day and pick an optimal time for working.
Also, by doing this, you will learn to recognize the times when you are most productive and allocate them to tasks that require more attention during their completion.
5. Embrace emotional well-being
When we work from home, it can be easy to feel disconnected from the outside world and lonely. It is not until we step outside of the house that we realize just how much two degrees can affect our mood. Studies show that time spent in nature is healthy for the mind and body because it reduces stress and boosts energy levels.
To increase your emotional well-being, engage in activities that make you happy. Give yourself time to do something that you enjoy doing outside of work. It can be anything from reading to playing video games or even baking.
Adding some form of activity—whether it’s a 20-minute walk, yoga postures, or kettlebell exercises—will help you maintain your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
6. Have a non-screen hobby
When we are surrounded by screens all day, it can be hard to find a moment of peace. As a result, many people invest in hobbies that involve no screens whatsoever—even if they don’t enjoy them.
Exercising is perhaps the best example here because it allows you to unwind while still being productive. Other hobbies include journaling, drawing, painting, or any other activity that does not require a screen.
Not only will these hobbies give you a mental break, but they can also provide you with physical and emotional well-being.
7. Don’t neglect your social life
Being part of both online and offline social circles is essential for maintaining your relationships. Being in the same physical space for social activities is often the best way to strengthen the ties with your friends.
When it comes to maintaining these relationships, there is no substitution for face-to-face meetings at least once a month.
However, after finishing work for the day, you are probably too tired to engage in any social activity. But you are still expected to show up for these gatherings because your friends want to spend time with you.
This dilemma can be solved by simply going out during your lunch break to socialize or after work when you have a little bit more energy. By taking the time to go out and meet with them, you’ll feel less drained at the end of the day.
When working from home, it can be easy to forget that you need time away from work. By taking these small steps, however, you can minimize stress and experience higher levels of well-being by removing distractions and embracing your free time. Next time you feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks you have to do, try one of these solutions and see how it changes your life.