At the heart of any company is its people. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the world as we know it. Companies face genuine challenges of widespread serious illness, social and community disruption and economic fallout and financial problems. In the face of the crisis, remote work has been a way forward to continue to perform job responsibilities and contribute to companies.
The 2019 State Of Remote Work report from Buffer highlights that the number one most common challenge remote workers experience is unplugging after work. Loneliness, collaboration, distractions at home, and staying motivated followed.
In a time of ambiguity, uncertainty, and rapid changes in the workplace, the ability to disconnect from work while at home allows your brain time to re-energize and ultimately do your best work. Unplugging combats the effects of stress, which can be detrimental to your health and productivity if left unchecked.
Here are 9 steps you can take to unplug from your work, especially when you’re working from home at the boundaries between your personal life and your work life feel blurred:
1. Eliminate Distraction
It is so easy to become distracted with household chores like washing clothes, emptying the dishwasher or online shopping. Create a routine and schedule to ensure that you stay focused and prioritize your work. Identify a space in your house specifically for working hours. This way, your body and mind have entered the “office” for the day. Having a dedicated workspace will help you to physically separate yourself from the hundreds of possible distractions in other areas of your home.
2. Redefine Your Space
Once you’ve identified a room or space that supports how you best work, take into consideration how much light comes into space, the type of ergonomic furniture that you use, the type of lighting you can access when the sun sets, and the type of access you have to hi-speed internet. The more you can replicate your office set up at home, the easier the transition. If this is a new remote experience, it is the perfect time to establish new habits, new daily routines, and rituals.
3. Implement Boundaries
Remote work has been renowned for blurring boundaries between work and personal life. Develop specific rules about when you work and when you are done for the day. Boundaries might look like turning our laptop off, disabling notifications, and establishing working hours on your calendar.
In addition to individual boundaries, talk to your team or manager about work and personal boundaries. Be clear about how you start and finish your day, how you’d like to communicate, and what you can expect from each other.
4. Embrace Emotional Well-Being
Never underestimate emotional and mental wellness. When working remotely, invest in taking regularly scheduled breaks every hour. Take a walk outside, drink plenty of water, and fold exercising into your day, if you prefer. Invest time in rehydrating, breathing in the fresh air and immerse yourself in a little vitamin D where possible. Adding some form of movement—whether it be a 20-minute walk, some yoga poses or some kettlebell moves—will help nurture your physical, mental, and emotional wellness. Headspace app offers a 10-minute guided meditation that can assist you to recharge and be more focused and productive.
5.Connect With Coworkers
Human beings are wired to connect and in these isolated times are missing coworker interaction, casual conversations in the kitchen, and happy hours. Allow yourself time in the day to share fun articles, exchange gifs, or casually chat with your coworkers. Time spent talking to your team about anything non-work related isn’t a problem with productivity—it’s a way to connect and allow each other to feel less alone.
6. Invest Time In Something You Love
Engage in something you love that you are passionate about as a way to restore and unplug from your daily routine. Given the reality of restricted movements, lockdowns, and physical distancing, identifying how to tap an interest or hobby may be challenging. Sometimes, little things can make all the difference. Occupy your mind with a free online course to learn a new skill, explore free cooking classes, or try a mindfulness 28-day challenge., Personal and professional development leads to a better sense of direction and greater resilience.
7. Cultivate A Habit Of Gratitude
When you take time for gratitude and appreciation, you are placing yourself in a position to feel better, despite the chaos in the external world. Start a daily list of five things you are thankful for in a journal or set an intention for the day upon waking up and look for what is working in life to focus on going forward.
8. Maximize Productivity
Productivity tools can make a significant impact on how much your team can get done no matter how large, diverse or remote it may be. They can provide significant gains in streamlining your routine, keeping track of progress, automating tasks, identifying gaps and strengthening collaboration. Being productive means focusing on the right things. To help you cut through the noise, Entrepreneur Magazine identified 111 free productivity tools to transform the ways work gets done through a pandemic. When you select tools, define the purpose and explore the unique needs of your team to transform the ways things get done.
9. Embrace Your Creative Side
Practice joy by taking up new, creative hobbies. Listen to an audiobook or podcast, take an online dance class or pick up baking. Start a journal and free-write whatever comes to the surface for you. By expressing your emotions, thoughts, and feelings in an uncensored way, you invite an opportunity to release emotions.
Create A Healthy Work-Life Balance When Working Remotely
Successful remote working looks and feels different for everyone. Many people are figuring out how to work remotely through trial and error and doing their very best to remain engaged, happy, and productive. Unplug from work by setting boundaries for where and when you work, stay physically active, find joy in a hobby or mindfulness practice, and proactively reach out to your team and coworkers.