Are you struggling to disconnect from work and ‘switch off’ at the end of the day? It’s a common problem for people of all walks of life, but it can be particularly potent when you’re working from home in the middle of a global pandemic. Yikes.
In this article, we’re going to give you some practical strategies for disconnecting from work at home and recovering throughout the day so that you can make ‘work from home’ truly work for you.
How to disconnect from work when you work from home
Kickstart your day.
We recently explored what a pragmatic work from home routine looks like (at least for this pragmatic crew) and one of the key points was winning the morning.
Sure, you could very easily pick up your phone the second you wake up, scroll through your emails and roll out of bed 15 minutes before your first Zoom call of the day, but will that set you up for long-term success? Heck no.
In fact, having a structured work from home routine is one of the best things you can do for your mental health right now.
Commit to a morning ritual that prepares you for work – it could be getting dressed as if you’re going to the office and making a morning cuppa. It could even be writing out your to-do list while you play some soft music in the background.
It doesn’t have to be laborious or complicated; just find a morning routine that puts you in the right frame of mind to get stuck into work when you sit down and crack open your laptop for the day.
Take recovery breaks.
As we keep banging on about in the Science of Recovery program, to achieve peak performance you’ve got to engineer recovery into your workday. No-one can crank out the best work product of all time for 6+ hours straight, it just isn’t how humans work.
We need regular recovery breaks in order to reset our focus and give our minds a break so that we can come back to our work with a clean slate. It’s all about creating a routine that supports work-life balance.
Science has actually shown that there’s a correlation between regular breaks and increased creativity, productivity and mental wellbeing. You may even find that after coming back to your work from a break you’ll come up with a new idea or innovative solution to a problem you’ve been faced with.
Here are some ideas for recovery breaks you could engineer into your work from home day:
- Grab a coffee or a tea – either by yourself or virtually catch-up with a friend or colleague.
- Stand up and stretch.
- Go for a walk – around your house, to the backyard or your balcony.
- Play your favourite song and dance around the house – get the kids involved if they’re at home with you.
- Phone a good friend or a family member for a chinwag.
- Watch a funny YouTube video.
- Read a chapter of a book.
- Schedule a virtual catch up with a friend or family member at the end of the day.
Found some strategies that could work for you? Write them down on a post it note and commit to doing them for the next week.
Let us know how you go over on LinkedIn.
Switch off and unplug.
The sun is setting and it’s time for you to clock off from your work from home day. The pull to finish that last niggling task before you close your laptop can be strong, but if that niggling task is going to take you more than 20 minutes to complete and it isn’t urgent, save it for tomorrow. There’ll be another day.
When you stick to your work from home ‘office hours’ you’re much more likely to maintain high performance and avoid slipping into unhelpful behaviours that over time can lead to a much bigger problem, like chronic burnout.
So, how do you switch your mind from ‘work mode’ to ‘home mode’ when you work from home?
Here are a couple of end of day rituals that you could try to help you unplug from work physically and mentally:
- Go for a walk around the block with your spouse, kids, pet or a good podcast.
- Get active and follow along with a YouTube workout video.
- Do something creative like writing, drawing or painting.
- Read a chapter of a book you’ve been meaning to finish.
- Have a shower and get changed into your comfy clothes – maybe even your PJs!
Which one of these will you be trying over the next week? My go-to is getting active with a roller skating session or Pilates video.
As you can see, there’s lots of small activities you can take part in throughout the course of your workday that’ll help you develop a work from home rhythm that works for you.
We’re incredibly passionate about this topic, not only because of the mental health benefits of a structured routine, but also because of the quality of work your team will be able to create when they’re prioritising recovery. If you’re keen to build resilience within your organisation and support the wellbeing of your people, take a look at our Science of Recovery program.