Working remotely has its fair share of challenges for both teams and employees. Some common challenges employees face are:
- Lack of team collaboration
- Distractions at home
- Lack of face-to-face communication
- Not having a designated place at home for work
- Inability to unplug
The challenge we are going to focus on in this blog is the inability to unplug from work. Traditional eight-hour workdays are gone as the lines between work and home continue to blur. Human beings are designed to socialize, and very few people can mentally handle the isolation caused by working from home. This is especially true for the Gen Z workforce who rely heavily on social circles and friendships.
No more transition time
“When I used to commute to work, my driving time was my transition period. I could mentally detach from my home environment and start focusing on how my day at work would be. Similarly when I drive back from work, I mentally shift my focus to my home. I definitely miss my commute now. When I started to work from home, I thought I could save all the time I spent driving by focusing on work. But now without the commute, it is practically impossible to do that transition. ” – A CMO of a software firm, who wanted to remain anonymous.
Sara Blakely, the CEO of Spanx, lives very close to her office building. But instead of walking the few steps to work, she actually drives around her neighbourhood for an hour before heading into her workplace. She believes that the car is where her best thinking happens. This is in fact true for many people who mentally transition to work during their commute. Working from home has literally taken this transition out of our lives.
The work life imbalance
When the pandemic sent us all indoors, work life balance took a big hit. Employees who do not have a work-life balance tend to burn out more quickly than those with a balanced schedule. Overworking can not only be stressful, but can hamper relationships at home. Having a healthy work-life balance will also give you more time to spend with your family.
“I start working as early as 7 am in the morning and I log out as late as 2 am. I do not get enough sleep. My eating pattern has gone for a toss and as I am always on my computer, my family members have started complaining and my physical and mental health has also taken a beating. I wish I can go back to the office and work in peace”. – The anonymous CMO
The inability to unplug from work has a direct impact on work productivity. Besides contributing to a dip in work productivity, overworking also results in depression and mental health issues. Here are seven practical steps that you can adopt to unplug from work when you work from home.
1. Set up your workspace
Dedicate a work space in your house and create a physical boundary. Use a desk and an ergonomic chair. Do not work from your couch or from your bed as they will negatively affect your body. Having a dedicated workspace helps you distance yourself from distractions at home and will help you physically move out of that space once your work is over.
2. Adopt a time management technique
The Eisenhower Matrix, Pomodoro technique, Pareto principle, Parkinson’s law, and Pickle jar theory are few productivity enhancement techniques. Choose one of these techniques and apply it to your work style. They will help you to unplug from work easily.
3. Sleep well
Make sure that you are prioritising sleep.. Sleeping habits have gone haywire for many who work from home. Understand the difference between rapid eye movement sleep and non rapid eye movement sleep. Your electronic gadgets affect your sleep by disrupting your circadian rhythm and suppressing melatonin secretion, and making it harder to fall asleep. Keep your workspace away from the bed and try to keep all electronic gadgets away from your bed.
4. Eat well
Eat meals at designated times.. We need this simple reminder in our lives when we work remotely. Make time to cook with your family members and also to eat alongside them. Eating meals with the family enhances our mental wellbeing. Make the most of mealtimes by setting aside at least one day a week to eat with family and friends.
5. Shut down your computer
How many of us leave our laptops on at the end of the day? Make sure to switch off the computer once your work is over. Some time management experts even suggest to fold the extension cords neatly and pack the laptop in the bag so it isn’t easy to unwrap them and restart work immediately.
6. Have an unwinding mechanism
If you are passionate about singing or reading you may look forward to listening to your favourite album or reading a new book when you are done with work. Practice the habit of unwinding properly everyday.
7. Use a remote work tool
If you use a remote work collaboration tool, you can easily unplug from work. Zoho Cliq’s Remote work tool brings your office into the tool. From logging into work and greeting your co-workers, to being able to easily check if someone is available for a discussion and taking a quick coffee break together, Cliq’s Remote Work makes sure you don’t miss out on the little things. Get a demo of Cliq to know how it can help you work better and maintain work life balance.