How to Manage Working from Home Downtime

Have you joined the millions of Americans who have found a new lease of life working from home in the last year? Perhaps your part of a growing trend of reluctant remote workers who are finding it hard to mix all of that ‘freedom’ with all of the constant on-the-go work happenings that seem to be 24/7 now?

While working from home has its perks, and no one can deny that extra time in bed in the morning or the ability to go to your own fridge to forage for lunch is a perk, there are some major drawbacks to living in your office.

Time Away

One of the biggest drawbacks that remote workers find is the inability to switch off and have time away from their work.

Most of us now work from laptops and have our emails pinging through on phones and even watches, and this can make it hard to switch off, especially when that spotty new kid in the marketing team is happy to work at 3 am and doesn’t see a problem with dropping you an FYI email at all hours.

Investing in great Email signature software for Office 365 is a must and being clear about your working times.

Many companies have gone flexible with their hours in a bid to support parents who are now homeschooling as well as homeworking. Be sure to put your working hours in your email signature, and don’t be afraid to set an out-of-office autoresponder that states them again.

FlexiTime or All the Time?

Speaking of flexible working, it’s great that a lot of companies are moving away from the traditionally 9-5 working time and adopting core hours with the rest of the working hours spread over the week, but this isn’t so great if you and your team’s hours don’t fit together.

If you find it hard to switch off, it could be that you have underlying worries about your team not feeling like you’re pulling your weight as it were.

Be sure to set yourself strict hours of work and communicate this with your colleague. If you have a family, this is even more important as you don’t want to have your time with your family interrupted because you promised to jump on a Zoom call at 9 pm.

The Mental Health Benefits of Downtime

Working from home has been great for many of us; the freedom to not have to worry about office politics or the stress of the commute has done wonders for the mental state of many.

However, there are a few that are finding this always-on culture much more difficult to deal with and Zoom meetings just not quite a replacement for the real thing.

If you’re one of these people, you must share your fears and worries with your team. See if you can set up some social activities (even if it is a Zoom quiz), and be sure to turn your laptop off and put it out of sight on your days off!