When hybrid working blurs the boundaries between work and life realms

It is well understood that we exhibit different personas for different life roles. Each role we occupy requires differing personalities to manage, different expectations, different demands and different puzzles to solve.

The traditional transition time between home and work (and back again) gave us the time and mental space to subconsciously shift ourselves between these two life realms & personas. It was also used to think through the obstacles, tasks and responsibilities that needed dealing with, giving time and space to think through possible solutions. 

Working from home limits that ability. A number of workers are also using that commute time to start work earlier and finish later. Rather than the perception that working longer hours makes a person more productive, research shows that doing so makes no to little difference from a daily productivity perspective.

Working longer hours, just makes us more tired and less productive. It therefore just means we take longer to get things done and reduce our overall work-life balance.

Additionally, the removal of the reflection and thinking time in the day reduces the ability for problem-solving and perspective taking.

Hints and Tips:

If you are not commuting to work, rather than sit down at your desk and start working around the same time you would otherwise have left for the office. Use the time to do a ‘mock transition’ between your home and work responsibilities.

Try doing the same activity you would have done if you were driving, bussing, walking or cycling to work. e.g.

  • go for a walk around the block
  • sit in a comfy chair and read a book or listen to music
  • engage in a hobby

Your brain and subconscious requires time to transition between one life realm and another. It also needs down-time and creative/divergent thinking time. Creative thinking can only happen when you stop thinking analytically. That is why we have the best ideas when we are not thinking about the problem at hand and doing something else less mentally taxing like going for a walk, taking a shower, cooking dinner etc. 

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