How to: Clock off when you work from home
With the recent rise in popularity of ‘un-tethered’ workplaces, more Australians than ever are working from home. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates around 1 in 12 employed Australians work from the comfort of their own home.
Whilst the benefits of a home office are vast – relaxed dress code, no commute, and freedom of schedule – there are also a few drawbacks to this kind of working arrangement.
Many people working from home find that it’s harder to ‘clock off’ at the end of the day when they haven’t left their home like a worker with an off-site office does.
If you work from home, we’ve put together a few tips to help you separate your work day from your evening.
Have a strict knock off time
Although working from home affords an employee a certain amount of freedom in their schedule this can be detrimental to less disciplined at-home workers. It’s essential to have a strict time that you finish work for the day, otherwise you run the risk of working into the evening and cutting into your personal time.
Put a physical barrier between your home office and your living space
If your home office is a separate room in your home, make sure you close the door when you aren’t working. By placing a physical barrier between yourself and your work area, you’re signalling to your brain that the day is over.
If you don’t have a door you could try a room divider or even gently placing a sheet over your desk until the next day. Physical cues that the day is over will help you to stay away from work through the evenings and weekends.
Pack your lunch
Working from home can be incredibly distracting. Minimise these distractions as much as possible by staying away from the non-office areas of your home, including the kitchen. Pack your lunch in the morning to avoid spending time making yourself a meal in the kitchen and unnecessarily crossing the physical and mental line between work and home. Tip: Never do housework during the work day. If you couldn’t do it at the office (i.e laundry) it shouldn’t be done in your home office.
Never do housework during the work day.
Weigh it up: Home office or traditional office
Shut down your computer
Properly shut down your computer at the end of the day so you can’t just quickly run into your office to check your emails. If you properly shut down your computer, when you go to use it in your personal time, the fact that it is turned off will be a reminder that you aren’t supposed to be using it.
Create a fake commute
If you’re new to working from home, you might like to try faking a commute. If you’re used to a 20-minute journey to work, your brain might still be reliant on that period of time to prepare itself for a work day. Try going for a walk at the beginning of the day and the end of the day to create an imaginary barrier between the time when work starts and when it finishes.
Try going for a walk at the beginning of the day & the end of the day.
Get an online accountability buddy
Isolation is one of the biggest issues with working from home but this is easily fixed. Find an online accountability buddy and have a ten minute 5.30 clock off meeting with them every day. Have a chat about your goals and what you can do to improve tomorrow.
It’s a great way to stay motivated, get your work done, finish the day on time and have someone to answer to at the end of the day.
Never give yourself flex time
When you work from home, it can seem like the days are endless and you have plenty of time to go to the shops or do a quick tidy up of your cupboard. The truth is, if you wouldn’t have time in a 9 to 5 job to go shopping or clean your cupboard, you won’t have time when you work from home. Every half hour you spend doing something other than your work will have to be made up later and if you’re working until 8pm every night because you didn’t get your work done during the day, you need to make some changes to your time management and start honouring your work hours.
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