According to a seven-year study, the inability to switch out of work mode and into personal mode was in the top ten list of most stressful factors people were bad at handling. And that was before the pandemic. One might expect the rise of remote work to reduce the amount of work and work-related stress people endure. But it did the opposite. Now, it’s more difficult than ever to switch off from work.
The World Health Organization suggests that overworking is creating a global health crisis, putting a level of stress on people that manifests as heart disease. Sleep disruption, reduced sleep, lack of exercise and poor dietary habits are all by-products of overworking that result in long-term health consequences.
Whether you’re managing a department or doing data entry, a good work life balance is crucial to your long-term health. You’re fighting an uphill battle, especially if you work from home.
Here are five ways you can help successfully transition in and out of the work day, even if you work from home:
1. Create Rituals
Rituals help signal your mind to transition to something. For example, many of us start the day with a cup of coffee. It’s not just the caffeine that wakes us up, it’s the ritual. If you’re going to work, especially at home, create and stick to a routine to get you started. Maybe that’s tidying up your desk or watering your desk plant. Maybe you scan over today’s task list or answer emails.
The same goes for ending the workday. Create a routine. If you’re on a laptop, close it. Put your phone on a charging station. Stretch, do some deep breathing, and mentally visualise closing the door of the office.
2. Schedule your Deep Work
There’s usually one part of the day where you have the most focused energy and can concentrate best. During this part of the day, you want to deep-dive into any work that requires your full attention. It’s not great to disrupt this part of the day with meetings, emails or phone calls.
So make a plan for your workday. Include blocking out your deep work time so that you can feel and be more productive. That feeling of having accomplished something is an important factor in being able to close out your workday.
3. End with a Small Task
Try to end your workday by completing a quick, small task. This will allow you to end on a positive note and transition easier into your non-working hours. You’ll walk away with that immediate feeling of accomplishment.
And that small task may be creating tomorrow’s task list so you don’t have to carry it with you in your mind. By putting it on paper, you can let it go until tomorrow with no fear that it will be lost.
Keep your deep work time sacred, but remember to prioritise your communications outside of that. Keeping your superiors informed of your progress on projects, renegotiating deadlines for activities that didn’t get finished and following up with any other messages all remove tension and the possibility of misunderstanding.
By communicating often and directly you’ll reduce stress and improve your quality of life at work.
5. Close the Door
If you’re at home in an office, leave the office, turn off the lights and shut the door. Maybe you don’t have an office, but you’re on a laptop. Close the laptop and put it away. The act of shutting off, shutting down and shutting out work will signal to your mind that it’s okay to let go.
Enjoy your time with your family by remembering that this is what you’re doing it all for. Even when you love your work, it’s ultimately there for the purpose of empowering your life. Don’t miss out on the reward at the end of the workday.
As a leader in your workplace, you can help your employees stay accountable to these healthy work practices. Share how you transition from work to non-working hours. And don’t forget to lead by example.
Contact us and see how we can support you building high-performing hybrid teams where trusting leaders and highly engaged employees are laser focused on achieving common goals.