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Top tips on switching off from work

Posted on 6/10/2020 by Jo Hodge

Switch off from work

One of the main benefits of working remotely is you are able to work more flexibly, whether that is set hours that you logon each day, when you have that lightbulb moment or when you feel most energised and productive. I am an early bird and am more productive first thing (often, whilst the rest of the house is still asleep!) however, I have also noticed as a result, that I find it difficult to switch off from work.


Like many organisations, we are dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and as a result, like others have commonly reported,  I too have felt the pressure of needing to deliver in my role and go the extra mile whilst we face the challenges of working through such an acute crisis. Work is on my mind a lot more and I am sure this resonates with our candidates and clients, especially as services are more in demand than ever but traditional fundraising is struggling.  


My commute used to be my time to wind down and switch off and now that work and home spaces have become blurred, this is much harder, so I have been practicing ‘shutting the door on work.’


Here are some of the small changes that I feel have helped and can hopefully help you to remember to switch off.


Physically put your laptop/phone away.


I predominately work in the dining room. If I leave everything out, I am more likely to check it. So, I have begun locking my laptop away in another room out of sight and turning my work phone off. The extra steps required to check are small, but it is enough effort to prevent me from going to check my emails regularly after signing off for the day or at some other random time. If you do work in a study, shut everything down and physically close the door and if your work messages are on your personal phone, turn notifications off, again a small action can really help.


Jot down ideas as you have them

I do on occasion have lightbulb moments or remember something I need to do in the evening hours or whilst trying to sleep, it doesn’t mean it has to be done then. I now have a (very pretty) planner to jot these down in and I have it next to me in bed for those late-night moments. I find if it is clear from my head, I can relax knowing I will not forget it.  Try not to use your phone for these late night reminders as you will invariably see other messages or notifications that get your mind racing.


Unwind

It may not be possible to unwind in the same way you could commuting to and from work, however, it is important to do something for you. That might be something physical, such as a walk, exercise, or something relaxing, maybe reading or taking a bath or a yoga session. Ensure this is not just once a week, but regularly when you finish work or before you start the day. Getting out of the house taking my children for a long walk really helps me, they have fun, burn off some energy and I feel like my work day has properly finished.  


Keep work chat at home to a minimum

Normally you chat with your colleagues throughout the day about work, now you might be having those conversations with people you live with. Having these conversations in your normal home environment can make it harder to turn off from work especially if they are about frustrations or work problems. Try not to talk about work in the evening and if you do, keep these chats to a minimum. Schedule calls with work colleagues whilst working and have your normal water cooler/ tea break chats too.


What have you found works for you? Do you prefer being able to work whenever you feel like it, or does the blurred physical lines from work and home make you feel more stressed?