For a few weeks now, your routine has been the same: you get up every morning, walk out of your room, walk over to the kitchen to get coffee… and boom, you’re at the “office”.
It was all pretty and nice in the beginning: no traffic, no need to pick what to wear, no shaving or makeup necessary… The dream! Your pantry’s only a leap away and your improvised office is oh so comfortable (although you might miss your ergonomic desk chair).
But after a few weeks (or days) an issue pops up: how can you truly log off from work when your office is in the same field of view as your bedroom?
Here are our 4 tips to help you create a separation between your personal and professional life - even if those two aspects of your daily routine are intimately connected right now.
Create a physical separation
Take a few minutes every day to physically separate yourself from your work environment. When you wake up, make sure to eat breakfast in a room completely separate from your work area. It’s summer - if you can, drink your coffee outside!
In the evening, a quick walk outside right at the end of your work day can help you create a separation between work time and relaxation time. Even if you’re not a fan of walks, just do a quick round around the block! Maybe just get in your car and drive up and down the street. The important thing is to physically distance yourself from your work space to create the feeling of going to and from work.
Establish clear boundaries
Make sure you establish good communication with your colleagues in order to establish your boundaries when it comes to acceptable behaviour when working from home. If you finish work at 5, you finish work at 5. Being home doesn’t justify constantly being “on” at work. Put your phone on silent, and make you sure you can’t be contacted unless it’s an emergency.
In order to keep a somewhat normal life, it’s important to make sure your boundaries are respected, and that you’re able to properly relax when your work day is over, even if your office is in your house. Close your inbox and don’t peek at it until the next day. Treat your personal space with the same respect as you did when you worked in a “real” office.
To avoid going crazy, make sure to stay active throughout your work day. Normally, in the office, you visit a colleague, get some coffee, stretch out your legs. Don’t forget to do the same at home.
Taking numerous short breaks throughout the day will allow you to relax more easily when evening comes. It doesn’t have to be complicated - a few stretches, a dozen jumping jacks, and a squat or two ought to keep your muscles awake!
Create a workspace adapted to your needs
After working from home for a few weeks, you should know yourself pretty well and know what you need in terms of workspace. Make sure to put a little extra effort in that space in order to create a home office that is optimal for you.
If you’re having a hard time logging off, setting up your office in an isolated room might be the solution that could help you establish a better separation between your personal and professional life. If that’s not possible for you, move some furniture or set up some cereal boxes to isolate your office (yes, seriously! Cereal boxes!).
If, on the other hand, you feel stressed at the thought of working in isolation, set up your space in an open area to be more comfortable. If necessary, hide your equipment with a sheet or towel at the end of the day to help you disconnect. It might sound ridiculous, I know, but creating that separation is crucial to help you maintain a somewhat normal routine in your daily life.