Work-Home-Play Balance

Tips to keep work and home separated when remote working

Research shows that we don’t automatically develop good strategies to separate our work and home-based digital technology use. We tend to just take on new technology without considering what the impact of using it will be. Only a third of us will put a strategy in place to separate our work and home life – often when we realise we can’t keep going at the pace we were. 

It is especially important for those who work from home, to develop strategies to physically, mentally and emotionally detach from work – to help reduce anxiety, stress and overall mental wellness.

These strategies can include: 

  • Carving out a specific work space, including work stationery and equipment that is dedicated to work alone.
  • Closing all work-related notepads and laptops at the end of the workday and workweek, ensuring they remain closed until ‘officially’ starting work the following day again.
  • Creating a ‘transition zone’ where you spend a few minutes reconfiguring headspace and expectations between work and home life. You can use this time to write down a work-based To-Do list for the next day or develop a particular ritual that helps signal to your brain that work is done and now it’s time to focus on and enjoy home life.
  • If possible, have a separate work phone that gets left on silent or switched off within the dedicated workspace after official working hours are over for the day, or week.
  • If a separate work phone isn’t possible, have a conversation with supervisors or work colleagues about expected response times to emails and work requests – especially when these are sent outside of official work times. This may require switching off email notification settings to reduce the temptation to check emails after hours.
  • Make every effort to remain ‘fully present’ in home life outside of working hours. Jotting down any random work thoughts or things you need to add to your To-Do list, so you can park them until working hours.

Everyone has their own strategies for separating their work and home life, but making every effort to keep them separated gives the mind, body and emotions time to rebuild lost energy, catch up on lost sleep and build better relationships with family and friends.