How to avoid overworking when working remotely

Posted 03 July 2020

Before the pandemic, most of us were experiencing a generally positive working life; we were motivated, had good relationships with colleagues and were able to manage our physical and mental wellbeing.

In research conducted by The Adecco Group, they have found that work / life balance has clearly improved. And while many elements of work have actually gotten better, there are some watch-outs for employers.

Areas such as collaboration, relationships with colleagues, and mental wellbeing have faced significant challenges which need to be addressed as businesses transition towards new working practices and ‘reset normal'.

However, many of us feel the need to be seen to be productive while working remotely. As a result, people are putting in more hours than normal to ensure they appear to be making constructive use of their time. Together with our workspace only metres away from us always, the boundaries between our work life and personal life are blurring.

Some useful tips to prevent yourself from working longer hours when working from home

Set boundaries

Find a dedicated space that you can use solely for work and communicate your start and finish times to the people you live with. Also block out your calendar in the evening so no late meetings can occur out of hours unexpectedly. It is important to create a clear distinction between work and life now that the two are so closely linked in terms of location.

Remain focussed on key priorities

Be clear on what your key priorities are. At the start of each working day, write down the key tasks you need to get done and tackle them first. You will get a great sense of achievement at the end of the day, making it easier for you to log off and enjoy your evening.

Say no more often

As with any work situation you need to be confident enough to say no to tasks that are not key priorities or those that may distract you from your key objectives. Over-workers are often notorious ‘people pleasers’, so you need to learn the art of graciously saying no if certain tasks would threaten to overwhelm you.

Communicate with your family/flatmates

If you’re living with people who work different hours to you, or who aren’t working at all now, it’s easy for misunderstandings to arise. Working from home doesn’t mean you can go out and about and run errands all day long. It’s important to let the people you live with know what you are working on so they can respect your needs to keep the work wheels turning.

Take a break

Ensure you take regular breaks through the day. Grab a coffee, stretch your legs and always take a lunch break.  This will keep you focused and motivated to keep going throughout the day. Taking a regular break will also help you to look after your wellbeing.

Leave your workspace at the end of the working day

Be disciplined in leaving your home workspace at the end of the working day and don’t go back until the next morning. Try not to blend your home and work life and remain in the boundaries you have set.

Switch off

Once you finish work for the day, do something totally different. Go for a walk, cook dinner or call a friend.  Do an activity that will help you switch off from the day. It will help to break out your two lives.

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It’s easy to feel guilty if you aren’t working more hours than usual during the coronavirus pandemic.

You may have seen increased business since the outbreak started so you may feel that you need to put in more hours. However, a feeling that you need to work more right now can cause bad habits, such as overworking, which can imperil your health and wellness and lead to burnout.

Take the time to incorporate our tips above and look after your physical and mental wellbeing.  If you are looking for a new role or would like further insights, please visit our job search page or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.

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