As we settle into working from home being a new way of doing things, perhaps for the longer term, we need to ensure that we support our mental health.
There are many positives to working from home. A shorter commute reduces our workday, by hours in some cases. Being home allows us to schedule things that we don’t have to manage, but need to be present for: the cable guy, the landscapers, etc. Some of us can get that load of laundry through the washer and dryer during the day; folding it to help us unwind from the workday. The work/life balance that we’ve been talking about for the last two decades can be enhanced by working from home. The flip side of these positives are several matters that negatively impact our job, our homelife, and our mental health.
Not being in the office is a big shift for many of us. We struggle maintaining visibility into projects we’re working on, being seen working by the boss, and managing those who report to us. Technology to the rescue with texting, email, phone calls/messages, Zoom meetings, and more. All are applications designed to help us stay available and reach out to people we need. But how do you turn it all off when the clock says it’s quitting time? When you work from home, how do you ever leave work?
Set aside a dedicated space for work. This means you have a place to “go” at the beginning of your day, and somewhere to leave at the end. Even if you simply set your laptop up on the kitchen table, you can log out at the end of the day, loosen your tie, and “be” at home.
Take breaks during the day. Even a sort time looking out a window at something green will help your brain reset.
Take your lunchtime to step away, take a short walk around the block, or even just take your sandwich out into your yard or patio. This allows you to step away from work and have a little “you" time.
Studies have shown that people who take breaks during the workday tend to be more productive. You’ve got to give your brain a break. It benefits your job, your work/life balance, and your sanity.