For many people, working from home is a dream they aspire to. Whether it’s because it simplifies child care (or the increasingly important issue of elder care), helps you to manage to an illness or you simply want to avoid a commute and sit down at the computer without crushing into a crowded train, working from home can help to improve your quality of life.
That said, you shouldn’t mistake it for the solution to all your problems – working from home comes with it’s own challenges, from maintaining concentration and motivation at one of the scale, to making sure you stop working from home at the end of the day at the other. It’s this issue we’re looking at today, to help make sure working from home doesn’t lead you down a path of stress, overwork and burnout.
The issue that can cause workers from home to push themselves into overwork is two-fold. Firstly, there is no clear division between your working time and your personal time. If you work in an office, whatever the drawbacks are, your working day is clearly delineated by your commute home. Without a firm line drawn between work and relaxation, stopping can be problematic.
There’s also the issue of insecurity. If you feel at all insecure in your position, perhaps if you’re not fully backed by your manager or at odds with some colleagues, then you might feel being physically absent from the office puts you at a disadvantage, you’re driven to work visibly harder to prove yourself and your worth. This can tip you over the edge into unhealthy habits.
One way to address the first problem is to draw a clear line between your working day and your personal time. Designate an end to your working day (not one that will shock your employer) and log off at that time, taking action to physically change your circumstances: walk away from your computer, put on slippers or Slydes for comfort, to ensure that the time you’re not working actually feels different.
Addressing the second problem is harder, as it rests as much on your own perceptions as you’re actual performance. You can help to reassure yourself, as well as your manager by arranging regular catchups from home, showing how much you’ve achieved, and ensuring your output is regularly ‘noticed’ by someone in authority. As long you as do get as much done as you need to, you needn’t feel that you are perceived as not working, simply because you aren’t present physically.